The mission of The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) is to lead the advancement of emergency care through education and research, advocacy and professional development in academic emergency medicine.
The association leadership knew the organization’s website was neither supporting SAEM’s mission nor meeting the needs of members, but they needed to find out exactly why.
SAEM partnered with .orgSource to answer a simple but very important question: “What do our members want from our website?” Once the organization knew how to answer that, it could move ahead with a much-needed website redesign.
SAEM’s partnership with .orgSource meant a variety of inexpensive yet highly effective tools were available to research what would suit members best on the new website. Some were used at the start of the project; others were brought in later to ensure the finished website reflected the needs of the SAEM membership. They included:
- Google Analytics. This free suite of tools provided by Google lets a user drill down into the statistics of a website. For example, you can find out how people were directed to your site (a search engine, another association’s site, a blog post, etc.), what pages they visited, how long they stayed and much more. .orgSource used this tool on the previous SAEM website to find out what content was drawing the most visitors and what was languishing.
- Member feedback .orgSource has an extensive member survey process that is conducted over a period of weeks by the company’s consultants. We began with an online survey of SAEM’s members, asking them what they like about the site and what they would like to change, add or delete. We then conducted one-on-one member interviews to dig deeper into the findings and explore why members answered the way they did. Once the online and phone interviews were done, the results were analyzed and presented in a report for senior leadership, volunteer leaders and the website redesign committee.
- Card Sorting After the member interviews, .orgSource asked several SAEM members to take a long list of words related to the organization’s site and tell us how they would put them together. The patterns that emerged helped inform the design of the new site, in a way that makes sense for SAEM members.
- Usability Testing The data gathered from all of the above exercises helped the .orgSource team develop a prototype of the new site. The pages were presented to groups of members, staff and volunteer leaders for usability testing, which are sessions designed to observe how members would interact with the site if it was laid out the same way as the prototype.
Using insights gathered from the use of all of these tools, .orgSource helped to ensure the finished product was a new online presence that met the needs of all SAEM members, as well as advancing the organization’s mission.