7 Rules to Create a Great User Experience on Your Membership Site


This will help your team reflect on whether your membership communication and membership site is offering the best user experience.

The UX & Member Engagement Connection
When it comes to member-based associations, the user experience of your members is the North Star that sets all other priorities. User Experience (or UX for short) and your membership site’s user interface (what members see) are the tools that connect your members to your content, your member benefits, and the member communications that your association is providing

User interface and user experience impact everything from design, tone, online forms — you name it! It speaks of the quality of the experience you want your members to have while they connect with your association on your membership site. 

Here are seven key pointers to follow to help improve the user experience on your association’s membership site. 

1. Create a User-Friendly Interface
Your association’s website and membership site are the storefronts that connect you to your members and prospective members. You want your website and membership site to be easy to use. When a website is clunky, confusing, or overwhelming, users bounce right out of there. The user should not have to take a pause to guess what is on the screen. The information and visuals presented on your association’s website must all be easy to understand, and their meaning clearly defined. The meaning of the words, icons, images, and buttons should be intuitive to your users.

Any part of your site that is confusing is detracting from your credibility rather than adding value to your membership. A good rule of thumb to avoid confusion is to be consistent throughout your site. For example, buttons and links should look the same throughout, and the register of the vocabulary should be uniform and easy to understand. Navigation should function logically with an obvious hierarchy of content.

2. Craft The Perfect User Journey
Your website and membership site users will be more relaxed and comfortable when your web design choices lead them where we want them to go. While some people are adventurous, most want a predictable, uneventful ride. The preferred action we want them to take (eg. book a meeting, register for an event, purchase a membership, volunteer, donate, etc.) should be obvious. The design and navigation should support your priorities. When your users report that they are confused about what to do next, this is your signal to revisit this part of their user journey to add clarity to the process.

Get a copy of our User Journey Mapping Instructions & Worksheet to help you get started to create user journeys that will impress your members.

3. Automate Your Website
We are asking our website and membership site users to interact with us on our websites, and we have to meet them halfway. When a prospect or a member fills out a form, registers for an event, or buys a membership, we need to respond in kind (ideally) right away. Confirmation messages, feedback, and information about the next steps and what to expect is part of both good customer care and building out a user journey for your users.

When your prospects and members inquire about the next steps, it’s your cue to set up automation. This completes the feedback loop by sending them confirmations and additional information. Send confirmation or status information promptly to avoid any guesswork and frustration resulting from delays.

4. Design A Easy To Navigate Website
Our eyes love to see familiar things. Familiarity is comforting and gives us confidence. When it comes to the design of your website and membership site, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. When you use a common design, including graphics and the flow of content, the user will feel much more comfortable using your interface. The user will be pleased to see familiar elements and color combinations in the still-unknown world of your application.

5. Simplify The User Experience
When you create a membership site, the goal is always to create a great user experience. It is vital that your membership site is easy to use and the users can simply find what they are searching for. In Member Lounge, we’ll look at how you can make it as user-friendly as possible. We’ll also look at how you can ensure it has all of the features your members require.

Furthermore, Users dislike the feeling that they have made a mistake. It is important to remove anything that is confusing to eliminate error-prone conditions. Offer instructions and help text on-demand on screen. The design of your website and membership site should prevent users from making serious errors.

As an example, let’s pick filling out a form. The form should be seamless with easy and clear next steps. And if a user makes a mistake, they should be given the opportunity to solve the error in a quick and painless way. 
Get a copy of our 10 User Acceptance Strategies for Your Membership Site Project & Worksheet to make sure you are creating a membership site that your members want and will use.

6. The Key To Member Engagement
Users are more likely to disengage from an involved process on your site. To get your prospects and members to engage on your site, we want to avoid a “big ask” and replace it with a series of “small asks.” Users are more likely to accomplish a complex action when it is divided into several smaller steps. Long, complex forms can be unappealing as they seem like a time-consuming and mentally taxing commitment. Dividing the form into several steps and displaying a progress bar helps users move through the process with less resistance. This is the law of simplification: people, are more likely to perform 10 small steps than one giant step.

7. Accessible Web Design
Your members want to read the text on your website very clearly. Otherwise, they won’t engage with it. Good typography is more than just a pretty typeface it is the language of communication with the user. If your text is not highly readable – and scannable – it’s nearly impossible to provide a solid visual connection to the content. The most readable typefaces are scannable and don’t draw a lot of attention to themselves. These almost “invisible” typefaces are highly readable. Users won’t think much about the lettering because it works seamlessly.

These pointers are an investment in your member satisfaction. They are helpful to increase your member engagement, and in the long run, will also increase your member retention. Watch our podcast, Accessible Web Design Without Tradeoffs: Leaving No Member Behind Online. It teaches learn inclusivity in web design can benefit your members and help you increase membership.

Ready To Learn More About User Experience
Read our blog to learn more: UX vs UI: How to Build an Effective User Experience Strategy for Your Website.

Learn More About Member Engagement
Join an upcoming webinar or live podcast to learn more about member engagement, member retention, and creating user journeys for your membership site!


Farhad Khan, CEO

A tech entrepreneur specialized in creating membership websites for professional associations to increase member engagement. My background is as an engineer for Nortel and Ericsson. I started my own tech company in 2009 to help associations and nonprofits solve their challenges with my digital technology skills.