Don’t Redesign Your Website, Redesign Your Member Journeys

Imapping user flows on paper read a lot of Website Redesign RFPs (request for proposal). They almost always focus on the need for better navigation, a great search, a content management system (CMS) with lots of functionality, a better mobile experience, yada, yada.

Here’s the problem with these RFPs: they almost always focus exclusively on the website and CMS. What’s wrong with that?

Well, when we meet with prospects and clients and ask them about their target audiences, goals and most important member journeys, they almost always describe journeys that cross systems. They describe flows through websites, especially membership databases, CRMs, learning management systems, online communities, and other properties.

In other words, organizations want it to be easy and intuitive to join, renew, register for an event, purchase a publication, access the library, search for content across their myriad properties, etc.. But when they issue RFPs to improve just the website and make statements like, “the membership join form is part of the AMS, that’s not in scope,” they are missing the point. The flows from email to CMS to AMS, for example, are some of the most important journeys a member can make through an organization’s digital properties. Issuing an RFP then for just the website is incomplete and almost guaranteed to fail. You might end up with a beautiful website, but your join flow might still be broken and awful.

I get it. Communications is usually in charge of the website, IT is in charge of the database, education is in charge of training, marketing is in charge of promotions, yada, yada. It’s really hard to get various departments talking to one another, let alone optimizing user flows together. But they must talk and work together to craft intentional and amazing member journeys.