The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is an international association comprised of food-science professionals devoted to sharing scientific knowledge and creating cutting-edge solutions for the betterment of society. For over 80 years, IFT has been committed to inspiring collaboration, supporting research, enabling diversity, establishing strong networks, and providing members with several resources and services that encourage growth within the scientific and professional communities.
Associations like IFT are complex and multifaceted in the ways they serve their members, often providing a robust suite of insights, knowledge, events, research and tools for continued education, advancement, and professional development. Yet it can be difficult to efficiently structure these resources to maximize member use-cases. Understanding these nuances, IFT sought Velir’s guidance in redesigning their site to better empower members to discover valuable content.
We modernized the experience by streamlining the navigation and information architecture to echo the brand’s innovative roots. In auditing the original site, we saw an opportunity to reconstruct a cluttered IA that was categorized by business unit. Our strategy in simplifying the experience both reorganized and re-prioritized by audience type and behavior. Student resources, for example, were buried within the site, so we gave that audience and respective content more prominence. With that in mind, we thoughtfully considered IFT’s conversion goals to successfully create an audience-focused navigation structure that allows users to take various paths, complete specific tasks meaningful to them, and deliver clear pathways to key conversions, such as sign-ups and subscriptions.
Our content approach was twofold: create efficient user pathways to help members surface relevant content and then demonstrate the value of IFT’s content library to prospective members. As a membership acquisition and revenue tactic, we established a mindful content-gating strategy, allowing users to preview a fixed number of articles before purchasing a subscription. We also wove in the ability to cross-promote member benefits throughout the site, such as joining IFT’s online community, subscribing to publications, and signing up for membership. In tandem, we delivered clear roadmaps to key conversions, such as sign-ups and subscriptions, by incorporating bolder calls to action.
The project proved to be a suitable candidate for Thread, Velir’s foundational website design system consisting of a “starter kit” of components and page types regularly leveraged by associations, such as headers, footers, navigation structures, rich text, video, and login pages. Velir customized these components and tools according to IFT’s needs. By successfully implementing this infrastructure designed specifically to meet associations’ digital needs, we were able to accelerate backend development time to meet IFT’s stakeholder goals and expectations.
A successful site implementation requires a measurement and data collection plan to ensure continued and future success. In an effort to lay the groundwork for optimizing user pathways, we collected behavioral data and conducted in-person user testing to inform IA and content strategy modifications. The result of this, paired with a contemporary design refresh and a restructured navigation and IA, was a dynamic site that can evolve simultaneously with member expectations.