How do you create a best-in-class membership portal?

People from all over the country visit the National September 11 Memorial Museum (NS11MM) seeking to honor the day and those whose lives were forever affected. But the story of 9/11 is bigger than a single day or place. The NS11MM was looking to engage people more broadly and continue to foster connections beyond the museum grounds.

Since it opened in 2011, the NS11MM has used digital to successfully expand its reach across the world. However, competing technologies and lack of integration made its systems increasingly difficult to maintain. NS11MM engaged Blue State Digital to restructure its member portal, reimagine its member user experience, and create a best-in-class data and tech infrastructure to streamline its digital presence.

Our solution was to bring more cohesion to their technology platform by enabling systems to communicate in real time, freeing their employees from manually exporting and importing data to and from disparate systems. In doing this, we were also able to give members of NS11MM more up-to-date information, both when they signed up for a membership and after they visited the museum.

911 Museum Website

Taking a holistic look

BSD began by reviewing NS11MM’s unique structure, value proposition, mission, audience, and story. We then took a deep dive into their technical landscape to evaluate the relationship between the various systems that currently make up the membership experience, including the website, e-commerce platform, membership portal, ticketing system, online newsletter, and other third party data sources with fragmented authentication systems.

The approach required a tight-knit relationship between BSD and NS11MM. As we began making decisions about the technical infrastructure, our client stakeholders were involved every step of the way. Updates to shared documentation, frequent in-person meetings, and a consensus building process set this project up for success.

Streamlining the membership experience

We quickly learned that the legacy platform was restricting the museum’s ability to customize copy, messaging, and the user flow—creating a suboptimal experience for new members. Disparities between online and offline member registration were also creating inconsistent records. Memberships purchased at the box office were entered into a different system and only later synchronized with a limited subset of constituent information.

Along with a cohesive set of technology recommendations, features, and backend optimizations to how the data, pages, and systems were structured, BSD redesigned the member experience including account creation, renewal, and management. From a new navigation to streamlined content pages, we focused on simplifying the experience for visitors wherever they may be in the membership funnel.

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