• Cody Hobbs
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One of the things we tend to take advantage of in today’s market is how easy everything is.  In the span of a half hour, I can discover a new band, sample through their discography, order their latest CD (or download it on iTunes), and book tickets to their upcoming concert.  There’s an expectation that this brand of ease is something that occurs naturally, like it’s just baked into the internet.

That is until we experience a website that isn’t easy to use.  Say there’s an upcoming event we want to register for.  The first thing we might do is go to their website.  But gasp, it’s not listed in an easy to find place.  There’s no clear events calendar, and no easy way to search for just events.  Eventually, you find it, but there’s no registrar button.  Now you have to hunt down where to register for the event that you spent so long searching for!  In the worst of scenarios, you can’t even registrar online at all, you have to print out a pdf, fill it out with a pen, and mail it in.  I don’t know about you, but my handwriting is atrocious, and I always worry that the receiver won’t be able to read it!

This can be a serious deterrent.  Not just in discouraging members from signing up for and attending events, but it may even make them re-consider their membership as a whole.  We’ve talked about all of the various things associations are competing against in today’s market, and the successful ones are all selling the same primary brand: The Brand of Ease.

As we’ve discussed, 2017 is the year to make that big change to your online infrastructure that you’ve been putting off for the last three years.  As you Start to make your road map, every decision you make should be around ease of use.  That means finding a technology provider that understands how to organize your CMS.  They should also understand the importance of integration to facilitate Single Sign On, which should also be applied to your marketplace and event registration.

To close, I want you to try something: have a trusted friend or colleague do something on your website: find a specific article, register for an event (if you know that they will be going), then report back how long it took them, and how easy their experience was compared to ordering a product from Amazon.  I chose Amazon because they are the market leaders in The Brand of Ease, and if you’re going to measure against something, you should measure against the best.  Once you’ve done this, return here, and report your experience.  If you’re an association member, you can also try this yourself.  Have you had any negative experiences in the last few months?  Any particularly positive ones?  Let us know in the comments below!