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Background

AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association. AOPA has achieved its prominent position through effective advocacy, enlightened leadership, technical competence and hard work. Providing member services that range from representation at the federal, state and local levels to legal services, advice, and other assistance, AOPA has built a world class service organization necessary to meet the needs of the aviation community.

The previous architecture and systems supporting the AOPA’s websites were no longer able to meet the needs of their products and services and members online. They required a full redesign as well as a content and website management system that allowed users to create and manage the site's content with ease. They also wanted to ensure the new site would allow for personalized and targeted content.

Solution

AOPA engaged with nonlinear digital to define a new website strategy and then realize that strategy by migrating to the Sitecore system. This included completing the web strategy; IA and interface design; technical planning; and implementation of the site with integration to existing systems, including the association management software (Personify), their web analytics platform and a video hosting system.

The most significant challenge was organizing the enormous volume of content on the site in a consistent and user-friendly way. AOPA is as much a media outlet as an association, producing news articles and videos on a daily basis for its membership. This is on top of the many services the association offers, including insurance services, tools and resources for pilots and aircraft owners, advocacy services and unique applications such as flight planners. Additionally, the site needs to be a revenue generator for the association, through advertising and promoting of services. nonlinear focused first on the information architecture, finding logical information clusters for its key audiences and giving prominence to strategically-important sections of the site.

The other major challenge was integrating the various services and applications that make up the online experience for its members – particularly the Personify AMS. This integration included single sign on, access to membership-related information and access to secure “subscriber-only” content throughout the site, requiring integration with Sitecore’s permissions structure.

Additionally, while not a business challenge per se, the depth of news content on the site meant that site performance had to be carefully considered. Filtered news listings exist throughout the site, sometimes linking to articles that are several years old yet still relevant to the topic at hand. In some cases, there are several such filtered listings on a single page, requiring performance tuning to ensure reasonable load times.

Outcome

AOPA has transformed their web presence from an outdated and constained system into a dynamic and expanding system. Sitecore is a key component of supporting their membership, providing higher support for their advocacy efforts and increasing awareness of thier products and services to improve the user engagement and experience.

Their infrastructure is now allowing them to transition other properties onto the same Sitecore platform with high levels of integration and re-use. Key successes of the site are:

  • A fresh, user centered site design which highlights AOPA’s rich content streams
  • Vastly improved content roll-ups, making it much easier for people to see content related to what they are currently viewing, and as a result become more engaged
  • An enterprise-grade infrastructure and Content Management System (CMS) capable of supporting the Associations multiple web properties and ancillary services
  • Simplify the content authoring process so that authors and editors can participate while still maintaining style and design standards and critical SEO integration