Inforest originally designed and developed the FIRMA website in 2003, built upon Inforest’s own content management system. Over the the course of ten years, progressive enhancements were made to the site, including systems for online continuing education quizzes and managing conference materials. However, while there were some progressive iterations of the home page, most of the site’s original design and layout remained intact during a ten year period. It was time to consider an update.
Starting with feedback from FIRMA’s Student Advisory Committee and regular members, FIRMA’s Website Committee and Inforest set about evaluating every page of the site and the site’s overall organization and architecture. One key change was to replace a grid calendar and separate registration page with a simple list of upcoming events with a registration form built into each event description, greatly speeding and simplifying the event registration process. Other changes included reorganizing site navigation to better group content together and provide more emphasis to key pages, such as their annual conference and other events.
However, the biggest change to the FIRMA website was the redesign itself. Inforest utilized the Bootstrap HTML5/CSS3/jQuery framework to achieve a “responsive design” that resizes and rearranges page elements and navigation for smartphones and tablets. Inforest also rebuilt numerous application and registration forms for better usability, including updating form verification code to be more helpful. A relatively cluttered homepage was simplified to arrange key information in rows, making it easier for visitors to see and understand key information offered on the site.
Responses to the FIRMA website redesign have been favorable amongst members, speakers and partner organizations who utilize the site. The result is a happier membership and a Internet presence that better communicates the value the FIRMA offers to prospective members and the industry as a whole.