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The University Club of Boston Sharpens Club Website with a Design & Usability Focus

Posted by Trevor Kluke on Aug 28, 2020 9:00:00 AM

A new club website, mobile app and membership reservations platform has helped improved efficiency at this premier social and athletic club.

The University Club of Boston reestablished its partnership with MembersFirst in 2019 to design and develop a new club website, mobile app, and improve the reservation process for member events. The club was also looking for a more user-friendly website content management system to make website changes easier and more efficient.

Project Highlights

  • New website design and development
  • Two-day photography shoot
  • New club mobile app
  • New reservations system for club events and club dining

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About The University Club of Boston

A premier social and athletic club in the heart of the city, the University Club of Boston is located in Copley Square and is home to a thriving membership of over 1100 members. The club has multiple athletic amenities including squash courts, a fitness center, and an aquatic center featuring a saline pool. Contemporary and traditional dishes make up a seasonally evolving menu in the club’s dining room.

Location:  Boston, MA

Case Study Contacts:

  • Jillian Furchak, Communications Manager
  • Neal Vohr General Manager

Website: uclub.org

Members: 1100 Primary Members

uclub-boston-website

 

Goals

When Communications Manager Jillian Furchak joined the team in 2018 she was determined to improve the design of the website and make it easier to update. When she edited a page in the content management system she wanted it to look like she expected it to, without having to be a coding expert.

The club also had concerns about changing systems and the confusion it might cause members when they accessed the new booking applications. The new event registration platform would need to be user friendly, intuitive and not cause backlash from membership.

The club was intent on using a website and mobile app system that could integrate with their back-office software solution from Jonas Club Software in order to keep accurate membership information across platforms and to make billing efficient.

Results

General Manager Neal Vohr had already established a strong relationship with MembersFirst and Client Development Executive Sean Bleyl while at a previous club. When Jillian went to him explaining the challenges she faced with the current website and the ways she wanted it to improve, he recommended MembersFirst, and told her to get in touch with Sean.

Professional Design

From the start of the project Jillian knew that MembersFirst was going to make the new website a design success. “Membersfirst does the heavy lifting. We provided the information and they do all the work to get it live and on the site,” she explained. A style guide was also provided to the club, setting guidelines for fonts and colors to be used online. This has really helped Jillian create a cohesive look and feel across the club’s marketing materials. “I took the website style guide and have started to extend it to club marketing materials like the newsletter, event promotions and social media,” she said.

Photography

The club worked with a MembersFirst partner to produce all of the photography on the new website, featuring members and staff using the club facilities. The team also brought in professional models and actors for scenes that might be too much of an ask for members. “I now use these pictures for all marketing materials, website and print. I love the pictures,” exclaimed Jillian.

Better Usability

With the style guide at her disposal and a new content management system Jillian now has confidence when making changes and edits to pages. “The site is specifically built to look good. You know how edits to pages are going to look,” she explained. Without the need for in-depth coding skills the MembersFirst CMS has made updating the site more efficient. Jillian also benefited from the fully web-based platform, being able to update the site and member reservations from anywhere with a web browser.

Usability for members has also improved. By changing to the MembersFirst member reservation platform the club had some concerns about members learning a new system. But Jillian has seen the contrary. “It is so easy to use the event registration application for members that we haven’t had any members contact the club for help in the entire year it’s been live,” she explained.

An Integrated Solution

By partnering with MembersFirst the club was able to integrate their new website with their back-office software system, Jonas Club Management. Having all membership data flow across both systems was essential, avoiding the time-consuming manual effort of keeping records in both, and continuously having to import and export information.

Working with MembersFirst

"You can call them for literally anything. Bigger issues I can’t solve. Or little things that I know should work but can’t figure out. If it wasn’t obvious, I love MembersFirst. When I go to conferences and people ask who we use for our website I tell them MembersFirst and they should too."

- Jillian Furchak, Communications Manager

 

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