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Overview

Using Sitecore, Velir redesigned The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)'s website to modernize their member experiences. We streamlined the site's navigation and information architecture to offer clear pathways to tasks that are meaningful to members. We also helped IFT demonstrate the value of its content to prospective members with a thoughtful content-gating strategy, which entices visitors to purchase subscriptions by allowing them to preview articles.

URL

ift.org


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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.

IFT's challenges included:

  • Efficiently structuring resources to maximize findability
  • Connecting members with resources and education quickly
  • Empowering members to discover valuable new content

IFT's homepage
The Institute of Food Technologists home page includes several pathways for users to explore 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.

A family with young children cooks in their home

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.

Using a Sitecore accelerator

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.

Our approach included:

  • Reorganizing the website's user experience by audience type and behavior
  • Restructuring the site's information architecture by business unit
  • Creating an audience-focused navigation that offers clear pathways to desired content
  • Establishing a mindful content gating strategy to attract new member signups
  • Leveraging our Thread Sitecore accelerator to speed up back-end development

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.

 



  • Re-prioritized IA by audience type and behavior (moving away from categorizing by business unit)
  • Successfully created 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.

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