What would you do if you had a website software you loved but it wasn’t mobile friendly and didn’t seem like it was going to become so anytime soon?
The Brunswick Downtown Association was faced with this very dilemma. They loved the Wild Apricot system for the reports it generated and the time it saved tracking members but the design was limiting and cumbersome.
The BDA wanted to appeal to an increasing population of mobile users… and this system they were paying $100/month to use was beginning to seem outdated. Deborah, Patti, and Alexis were ready to make a move to open source software and we were ready to help.
First off, we wanted to keep what they loved so we took WordPress and made a Wild Apricot style dashboard in the backend. Sure it was some custom programming but it performs the needed functions so the switch was less painful. Alexis can now easily generate reports and track membership with numbers that match up from previous years’ data generated by Wild Apricot.
Patti wanted a way for members to submit events and all she’d have to do was click ‘approve’. We ‘hid’ the event submission under a login (members only!) and now, Patti gets an email when a member wants to post an event, saving her hours of data entry.
For the website visitors, we made a responsive layout using a modern color scheme; showcasing photos; and using buttons to get visitors to highly trafficked areas on the site. Visitors can find content by clicking on anything in the menu, slideshow items, buttons, hot links, or by typing what they are looking for in the ‘search’ box, which appears on every page.
For the members, we have a responsive business directory with customizable listings. Refreshing the page puts different members on top, making sure everyone has an equal shot of being seen. Instead of the business name clicking on a detailed listing, the BDA wanted the click to take website visitors directly to member websites (or in some cases, Facebook pages or other online properties). This makes sure members get the most bang for their buck, getting users to websites sooner rather than later. We also made easy to see/use buttons to get users to ‘Contact’ (to email the business owner) and ‘Website’ (in case they don’t know to click on the business name to get to the business website).
As a member upsell, we also have custom ad space on the sidebar of the desktop and tablet version of the business directory pages, allowing members who want more visibility to purchase advertising and further support the BDA.
Special thanks to Alice, Matt, and Ashley who made very significant contributions to this project, pleasure to have you on the team!
And congratulations to Brunswick Downtown Association who has been using their website the past two months and helped us work out the bugs post launch. You’ve got a great organization and we’re excited to come visit this summer and see some of the fun events you have planned.