Improving the online experience for the Dental Technologists Association
With over 3500 members, the Dental Technologists Association wanted a new website that better reflected their high professional standards and that made it easier to manage memberships and renewals, as well as continuing professional development.
With some complex requirements and a desire to put a new website live quickly, we delivered a phased project which allowed them to dramatically improve their public image, while taking the time to plan and execute a membership and professional development system that meets current and future needs.
This project includes bespoke integration with Stripe payments via their API.
Background to the DTA website project
The Dental Technologists Association (DTA) represents around 3500 dental technologists. Their activities include publishing technical updates and managing the continuing professional development of their members.
They had an old website and a membership database, neither of which were easy to use and did little to help them engage with members or reflect their high professional standards.
In 2020 they appointed a new business manager to run their processes and admin more smoothly and professionally as well as bringing their website and branding up to date. After discussing their requirements with several web companies, she decided that Bluelinemedia was best placed to deliver on their immediate requirements and support them for the long-term.
Fast results with a phased approach
The directors and business manager wanted a new website as quickly as possible. However they recognised that their requirements for a membership system and in particular managing continuing professional development (CPD) were not yet well defined.
To give us time to work together and establish their requirements in detail, we proposed a phased project delivery. This allowed us to design and deliver the new website while the other system requirements were being properly worked out.
A fresh new web design
Our designers worked with the DTA team to understand their brand values and what they liked about their current visual identity. We presented design concepts and proposed new website layouts with sketches and wireframes.
We reused a framework of website code which allowed us to deliver all the web content management capabilities that they require, while avoiding the clutter and confusion of a large and unwieldy off-the-shelf system.
The new website went live just a few weeks after our first meeting and received enthusiastic feedback from the directors and members.
Simplifying membership management and renewals
The DTA has a wide spectrum of members, from students and newly qualified dental technologists through to highly experienced professionals. They have defined pathways to upgrade members between levels, which need to be reflected in the membership status and renewal fee. They also offer trial memberships which run for a part year.
They were keen to reduce the manual workload involved in administering memberships and processing renewals. In particular they wanted members to move to automated payments and be able to manage their own membership and payment details online.
We used our existing framework plus bespoke functionality to deliver exactly what they needed to serve their members. This included automatic upgrade of memberships when certain conditions were met and a comprehensive member self-service area.
Communicating with members, their way
The DTA were keen to retain some of the traditional ways in which they worked with their members, including sending certain letters and certificates in the post.
As part of a simple, regular process, their new system generates all the letters and documents that are needed, ready to print and post. They can easily edit the texts for each type of letter and merge data from the membership records.
They can also send emails to members very easily, either manually or as part of their automated processes.
A bespoke system to manage CPD
Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of the DTA's membership offer, including a system of CPD points allocated on completion of online learning and tests.
Building on the flexibility of the original membership system, we added the functionality to do all that they need for CPD, including delivering modules of content, providing multiple-choice tests and generating certificates for qualifying members to download and print.
We also worked through the complexity of their old database to carefully extract many years of CPD records. This was processed and updated and is now available to each member through their online account.
An ongoing partnership for success
Since delivering the initial website in 2020 we have continued working with the DTA to help them innovate and extend the capabilities of the website. Members can do ever more online and the DTA team continually benefit from requested tweaks and additions to the website that make it easier to deliver a valuable, professional service to their members.
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