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Catering for IFST members with a new website

The new website for professional membership body IFST features a slicker user experience, CiviCRM integration and a fully digital, simplified application and assessment process.



This summer we've been pleased to launch a new Drupal website for the professional membership body IFST (The Institute of Food Science and Technology).

The new website came off the back of a full internal review of IFST’s digital strategy, which concluded that the website needed an across-the-board refresh. They decided to appoint an agency to rebuild the website, sticking with the existing Drupal 7 platform, which integrated with CiviCRM. IE Digital won the work – having been introduced by the AgriFood Training Partnership (AFTP) – and migrated the existing website to IE’s hosting environment.

User personas and needs

IE began the project with a detailed consultancy process to look at the user personas and needs of six key audiences:

  1. Food industry professionals - career advice, CPD, networking etc.
  2. Students on related FST courses
  3. Government officials and other bodies involved with the food safety community and public welfare etc.
  4. The general public, looking for unbiased, science-based food advice
  5. Teachers (Love Food, Love Science resources etc.)
  6. Academics

 

IFST events page shown on a tablet

 

Improving the membership application process

As the UK’s leading professional membership body for all aspects of food science and technology, the member experience was key the the success of the new website. For Phase I, our priority was to replace the existing paper-based membership application process with a digital sign-up service.

IE Digital completely revised the member journey, including a bespoke end-to-end registration process, from pre-assessment to referencing/assessment and payment. We condensed numerous pages of membership and registration information down to a quick, simple pre-qualification questionnaire. The questionnaire guides users through the process, recommends the most appropriate option for their needs and seamlessly enables registration as part of the same form.

On the administration side, we’ve also fully automated the assessment of membership applications. Competency checks and referencing processes are built in to the process and managed through CiviCRM, to drastically reduce paper-based admin for the IFST team.

Slicker user experience

To create a much slicker user experience, IE reskinned the website, with particular emphasis on the mobile user experience. We stripped out the clutter, improved the use of imagery, and made the site respond better to a wide range of screens and devices.

 

IFST website by IE Digital shown on a mobile phone

 

IE Digital migrated and simplified the website’s content and site map, and made it easier for IFST to manage their content and maintain consistency by adding more structure. Resources and events were given a greater presence on the website too, and made them much easier to filter and search.

More to come

So far, the new IFST site is shaping up to be a huge improvement on its predecessor, but there’s much more to come. In Phase II, we’re planning further improvements to the membership areas of the website, including support for membership renewals. The event booking functionality will be developed further as part of the next phase, and we’ll be integrating IFST’s new finance management system and developing the CiviCRM functionality.

Check out the new IFST website for yourself, and watch this space for further updates.