As the largest branch of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the BSA has multiple constituencies with a wide range of needs. Recognizing the need to serve its overall member community better, the BSA sought out Miller Systems to overhaul its entire online presence including:
• Construction of a more interactive, audience directed website with consistent navigation.
• Integration of online and offline member directories.
• Implementation of a reliable, outbound communication mechanism.
• Deployment of e-commerce functionality throughout their site.
• Implementation of a powerful content management solution.
In short, Miller Systems was challenged to create an online presence with an information architecture that would be both easy to navigate for visitors and easy to manage for the BSA staff.
With finite budget limitations, the BSA and Miller Systems were confronted with two major hurdles to the successful development and completion of the project. First, they needed to define an information architecture that would showcase audience-specific content and direct appropriate actions to those constituents. Second, they needed to define the technical solution architecture for integrating the BSA’s online and offline membership directories with content management and e-commerce applications.
Miller Systems conducted an intense series of interviews and work sessions, to develop an excellent overall understanding of who the BSA’s constituents were - students, architects, building professionals, etc., - and how they interact with each other. The result was a “one click access” information architecture model that was highly targeted. Miller Systems segmented the site by constituents’ needs, using clear audience controls, action-oriented site navigation. Moreover, thanks to complete integration with the BSA’s membership management system, JL Systems’ eNOAH, BSA constituents were able to perform key self-service membership actions, purchase and renew membership, and update their directory listings with ease.
Miller Systems also developed the BSA’s first e-commerce application, enabling members to search, sort, purchase and respond to classified advertising online. Custom applications including an audience-specific event calendar, resume bank, and committee database were also developed, integrated, and deployed.
Finally, linking it all together to deliver and manage outbound communications, Miller Systems integrated its award-winning dataDriver ePush marketing communications engine with the site. The BSA leveraged ePush to distribute event announcements, drive and conduct registrations for its annual BuildBoston conference and to broadcast weekly member newsletters.
The BSA’s comprehensive, online presence provided specific audiences with streamlined access to content and applications including, “live” membership information. Furthermore, keeping site content up to date, from events to e-commerce classifieds, was greatly simplified for all BSA staff members, who were empowered to contribute and update content regularly. What’s more, capturing revenue electronically for the first time, the BSA enabled its members to search, sort, purchase, and respond to classified advertising online.
By leveraging dataDriver ePush, the BSA also implemented regular, media rich outbound communication to its constituents, helping to generate interest in resources, materials and events, and to drive attendee registration and participation at its annual BuildBoston conference, now Architecture Boston Expo (abx). Recognized for its elegant architecture, straightforward navigation and overall improved service to the BSA’s members, the BSA website received numerous awards, including a finalist nomination at the 2002 MIMC Awards in the non-profit category from the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council.