Have you heard the news? CUNA’s website has undergone a make-over! The brand new look debuted the morning of July 5, bringing improved capability. As luck would have it, I recently had a Q&A session with Kevin Knope, CUNA’s Director of Systems & Support, who oversaw the new site’s construction.
CUNAVerse: Why the design change for CUNA’s website?
Kevin Knope: We made the decision to redesign based in part on analysis of visitor surveys and internal and external feedback–but mainly because our design was really old. CUNA launched its first site in 1995. Between 1995 and 2003 we had 6 different designs. In 2003, our visitors told us they were experiencing redesign fatigue. That led us to stick with that 2003 design (with slight modifications) for more than 6 years.
What benefits do the changes hold for those browsing it?
Better access to the depth and breadth of resources that CUNA provides. We’ve made enhancements to navigation and design to try to give a more cohesive user experience. The prior design was so established that people knew where the information they needed was, but it wasn’t as intuitive to browse as it could be. We hope that the new design improves on that, offering a clearer picture of CUNA at a high level. Improvements in workflow, and automation allow us to deliver more information faster than ever, which means more of what our visitors are looking for, sooner.
How long did the design process take?
We spent about six months in actual development. Gathering data and input took longer.
How many people were involved with the redesign?
We had a small steering committee from our executive management team, an advisory group, an external design firm, and our development team. Approximately 30 people with some serving multiple functions.
What are you most excited about?
Personally, I’m most excited about the prospect of increasing access to CUNA. We have had a lot of positive reaction already, we like hearing that the design is attractive and that it’s more intuitive to navigate, but have we increased the value they find in the site, and in CUNA? I really hope that in the next 6 months or so we can look at our metrics and say, “Yes, this made a difference.”
What is a lesson learned that you’d like to pass onto our readers?
You can’t make decisions in a vacuum, but you can’t make them in a town hall either. 10 years ago, we didn’t spend a lot of time in analysis and discussion. We felt like we just knew what was best and we did it, and people thanked us for it. The Web is too integral to an organization to run it like a fiefdom, no matter how benevolent. We had an excellent cross-functional advisory team of about 15 people on this project. Big enough to get the perspective of CUNA and the various audiences we serve, small enough to get (with some work) consensus. Combine that perspective with site metrics and visitor surveys and you have enough information to decide what you need to do better and devise a strategy to do it. To execute that strategy, you need the support of senior management. Our steering committee was small enough to meet on short notice, make decisions and recommendations quickly, while still representing the broad perspective of CUNA.
As you can see, an overhaul of a website is no easy task. Time, preparation, and implementation are all key players in the success of the live site. Has your credit union remodeled your website in the past? What lessons did you learn in the process?