A new responsive website designed by Fig Leaf Software launched today for the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. IADR is a nonprofit organization with nearly 11,000 members worldwide. Its mission is to:
- advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide;
- support and represent the oral health research community; and
- facilitate the communication and application of research findings.
Through surveys and other feedback, IADR was aware that many members found their site to be hard to use. Members reported difficulty finding content, frustration with unexpected login prompts, and dislike of the text-heavy design. IADR selected Fig Leaf to design a new user experience for the association, applying best practices to address these issues and to assess the site for other opportunities for improvement.
Fig Leaf worked closely with IADR to understand more about the organization, its members and its broader audience, and the role of the website for IADR and AADR. During discovery with IADR, we learned that all members of IADR are assigned to a local division or section, based on their country of residence. The largest of these is the American division, AADR. For this reason, there is a good amount of content overlap between IADR and AADR — and some members were confused about where to find information, as a result. Through both visual cues and a clearer navigational structure, we set out to make a clear, but distinct, relationship between IADR and AADR.
Since navigation was such a struggle for current visitors to the website, as reported in surveys and verified by an analytics assessment, we reworked the site navigation to better reflect user expectations and needs. The updated sitemap reduces the number of items at the top level in each topic area, by elevating important items from each topic, grouping related items (like mission and history, or meeting abstracts and recordings with past meetings), and moving less related & less critical items to the footer. The result is simpler navigation for each menu — easy to read and understand — that focuses on the items that visitors want and use.
In addition, instead of mixing items unique to AADR in with the menus that IADR “shares” at the top level, we worked to find the relationships and points of departure between content for the two sites. In the resulting navigation, both IADR and AADR share identical menus for the content that they share:
- Join/Renew and Awards offer identical navigation items and content
- About Us
- Meetings and Publications offer some unique items, but with appropriate supporting links between the two sites
- AADR offers two unique-to-them tabs for Government Affairs and Students.
To reduce user frustration with the frequent login prompts throughout the site, Fig Leaf advised removing several links that require member authentication from the top navigation. The IADR web team worked with their current content management vendor to implement the new design within their exisiting CMS framework.