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Case Studies

Federal Bar Association

The Challenge

Replatform a decade-old website to consolidate 135 subsites under a single website experience to serve an 18,000 person membership.

The Solutions

Site structure devised by Knucklepuck’s SEO experts to integrate 100 chapters and 24 practice area sections with AMS integration to automatically populate member roles and data in the CMS.

The Results

WordPress multisite with NetForum Enterprise integration, single sign-on, and member-only content.

Federal Bar Association Website: All Screens

How we re-engineered the website for America’s premier legal advocacy group.

Summary

With over 100 chapters across all federal circuits, 24 practice area sections, and 6 career divisions, the Federal Bar Association (FBA) is the recognized leader in promoting the interests and professional development of attorneys involved in federal law through advocacy, networking, leadership, and learning.

The FBA’s existing website, however, was unable to keep up with the demands of a powerful association with a highly involved membership. The FBA turned to Knucklepuck to help modernize fedbar.org to support the membership and streamline internal site management.

Our Roles

  • Web Development Discovery
  • Information Architecture
  • Custom Website Design
  • Custom Website Development
  • Content Migration
  • AMS Integrations
  • Technical SEO

Challenge

With a 10-year-old website, the FBA found themselves with a platform that was unable to deliver on member expectations and was not covered by developer support. With an outdated CMS, the site was difficult to maintain and update by the FBA. Other challenges included:

  • The site was not appropriately user friendly to membership.
  • The site was non-responsive, meaning that it was not easy to access or read from mobile devices and tablets.
  • The site’s content needed to be reorganized.
  • The site needed better structure for their 135 subsites (chapters, sections, divisions)

Insights

The Federal Bar Association commands a unique credibility as a trusted source to a large dynamic membership of over 18,000 members (including 1,500 federal judges). As a communications center with a huge repository of important information, fedbar.org needs to be up-to-date and easily accessible.

Solution

A new site on a new platform.

The site was totally reworked to meet the FBA’s needs and goals. Following a detailed review of the current site and assessment of the needs of both the association and the membership, the new site build followed a comprehensive step-by-step plan focused on developing a responsive platform and design that supports current needs and allows for growth in areas including:

  1. AMS integration (NetForum Enterprise)
  2. Easy access and use for membership
  3. Internal management and support of 134 restructured microsites
  4. User friendly content management system (CMS)
  5. Ability to assign multi-level user roles and access

Key components of the solution included Information Architecture, AMS Integration, and Design.

Information Architecture

To address the site’s content organization and accessibility issues, Knucklepuck’s Web Development team and SEO team joined forces to tackle the challenge that “not only can our members not find stuff, we can’t.”

The Knucklepuck SEO team and Information Architecture specialists conducted a full discovery:

  • Reviewing existing site sections and content
  • Interviewing key FBA staff
  • Producing a new and improved sitemap, focusing on both increased findability, user experience, and SEO best practices for organic growth.

The Knucklepuck Web Development team used the new sitemap to develop robust templates and effective tools around the content.

AMS (Association Management System) Integration

With technical expertise and deep experience in the association space, the Knucklepuck Web Development Team seamlessly integrated the FBA’s AMS (NetForum Enterprise) with their new site, including:

  • Single sign on – integration between the CMS, AMS and additional third party tools.
  • Member-only content – FBA can apply Member-Only access rules to any page on the site, with the ability to make the content accessible to All Members, or members with a specific role (i.e. a specific chapter, section, or Board of Directors). These roles are managed in the AMS and dynamically pulled into the CMS and presented as options in controlling access to desired content.
  • Calendar – all event data is dynamically retrieved from the AMS to populate calendar pages on the website, including segmentation and filtering rules for the 135 calendars running on the FBA’s new site network.
  • Bio blocks – if a member’s information (including photo) is updated in the AMS, that information is automatically updated on the website everywhere else it appears on the site.

Knucklepuck’s technical proficiency with API integrations drove the AMS and CMS integrations to ensure information on the FBA website is kept up-to-date automatically.

Design

Although the heavy lifting took place behind the scenes, the difference of the “look and feel” of the site before and after is striking with modern web design elements and styling, and a complete reorganization of the existing site content for superior usability.

Unlike the old site, Knucklepuck followed the FBA’s style guide to ensure consistent branding across all membership-facing materials. And the site is now responsive, rendering perfectly on tablets and smartphones.

Before

Federal Bar Association Website: Before Redesign

After

Federal Bar Association Website: After Redesign

Results

Knucklepuck met and exceeded expectations by delivering a completely redesigned, responsive site that matches the FBA’s style guide and includes:

  • A 135 site (multi-site) network
  • Full ADA compliance and responsive layouts
  • NetForum Enterprise integration
  • Single Sign On (SSO)
  • Member bio integration
  • Member only content
  • Events calendars
  • Content reorganized to meet SEO best practices
  • Simple and intuitive tools for content management, allowing the FBA to maintain the site in real-time without the need to engage a developer

According to the FBA Executive Director Stacy King, “We are receiving positive feedback from our membership about how good the site looks and how easy it is to find things.”

View the Site

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