Sometimes More is Better, and Sometimes It’s Not: Making Your Content More Accessible Does Not Mean Introducing More Complicated Technology
In order to get the most from its content and offerings, associations can do many things, including streamlining functions, making the content more accessible, and providing personalized support to members and visitors. Yet, doing all that manually, while still maintaining the day-to-day association duties, can prove overwhelming if not impossible.
For modern associations, technology can help make this goal possible, but it can also complicate matters more if not conceived and integrated properly. The right roll-out involves the right plan, the right strategy, and the right technology. By considering the following tips, however, associations can ensure that the technology does its job while also letting the association’s staff do theirs.
Prior to introducing a new technology, it’s important for associations to develop a focused strategy and plan. Try to ensure that every decision serves the end goal and that an organized plan is followed. In board meetings, keep the discussions focused on the overall strategy and avoid bogging up the minutes with talk of updates. The more minor details can be hashed out via email or over the phone.
Associations should also ensure that the technology helps maintain its primary focus. This is done best by letting the technology complete or streamline tasks without complicating others. A Member Management System (MMS), for example, should allow the association to spend more time and focus on other duties. The technology shouldn’t be so complex that only one person can handle it either. The more people who can manage the technology, the more useful and less intrusive it becomes.
Accessibility Over Complexity
While associations want to put forth the best technology possible that might include adding all the bells and whistles, it’s important to value accessibility over complexity. Accessibility can refer to a few different things, each of them important. First, the technology itself should be accessible for users in the sense that it should be intuitive enough that members of all ages can use it. Accomplishing this might mean limiting the number of obstacles for users. Make online registrations easier, resist hiding information, and simplify interfaces to close the technology gap between users of different experience levels.
Another form of accessibility associations should aim for is through device functionality. To best accommodate users and members, association websites need to be responsive, which means the site, text, and media adapts to fit the user’s device and screen. Finally, the human side of the association needs to remain accessible for members. That means being reachable through email, phone, social media, or in person. Accessibility and approachability add personalization and identity to an association, which can help build loyalty and participation in members.
The goal of many associations is to provide members with everything they could want. In regards to the association’s website, that might mean hosting all available resources and information online. For those organizations with complex technologies and a large number of offerings for members, the key is to keep everything streamlined and on-brand. Users should feel like everything is intentionally connected and accessible, no matter how complex and disparate the various technologies and elements truly are.
One simple way of accomplishing this is to ensure that all pages, content, and images look and act the same. Movement between online pages and elements should be seamless, allowing for easy and intuitive maneuvering. Try connecting the continuing education platform with the main webpage and ensure the ecommerce section is interconnected as well.
One of the primary benefits of modern technology is convenience. When technology is working as it should, it makes lives and jobs easier. For associations, AI technology can automate many processes that would otherwise take a great deal of time and energy to complete. Additionally, a powerful AI system can perform tasks that not every employee can perform. This can make it seem like a versatile member of the team, handling an entire section of the association with little supervision or management.
A Learning Management System (LMS), for example, may use AI to manage continuing education for an association. The LMS can help create courses and develop learning suggestions for members and learners based on their activity and membership profile and status. These platforms can also analyze complex data sets and run useful member and learner reports, helping associations improve programs and learning outcomes.
Get the Right MMS
Completing processes manually is not only time consuming, but it can be limiting, restrictive, and rather outdated. Finding the right technology to help manage the association’s many tasks without complicating matters more may require finding the right Member Management System (MMS). Like an LMS, an MMS can automate many of these processes, simplifying them and making them more accessible and manageable for the association’s staff.
The right system can advance an association’s technology and improve its offerings while also limiting the number of technologies used. These systems can simplify many jobs within the association, such as data management, statistical analysis, report generation, and member engagement. When at their best, these systems may look more complex from the outside looking in, but, internally, their processes are managed simply and intuitively. Quite simply, the right MMS follows the popular adage and works smarter not harder.