The Rest of the Story: Oregon Bioscience Association’s 2016-’17 Annual Report

Exactly how many marketing people does it take to redesign and enhance a bioscience association’s website?

Well, if that association’s marketing manager has a Ph.D. in engineering from Cal-Berkeley, the answer may only need to be one.

Ashley Fritz, marketing manager for Oregon Bio, spent a large part of the previous year positioning her design eye and her engineering brain to give the association’s website a new look and feel. As a self-described “visual” person with coding experience and her technical background, Fritz set out to create a website redesign that would be pleasing to users in terms of aesthetics, relevance and usability.

“When I was brought on to do the project, I knew I had to marry what’s available technically with our new design,” says Fritz. “Sometimes you’re limited, so while I was designing, I was simultaneously building the site. I think that approach worked out pretty well.”

Fritz says a major priority was adding useful features where Oregon Bio members and other site visitors could more easily see what is happening in the Oregon Bio world and quickly learn what’s going on.

Among the redesigned website’s new highlights…

  • A homepage look and feel that make relevant items much easier to see and navigate
  • A more visual homepage calendar that makes upcoming event information a breeze to find
  • A more prominently displayed tie-in with social media (e.g. relevant scrolling tweets, etc.)
  • A weekly newsletter sign-up feature that is seen on the footer of each site page
  • An enhanced section for the site’s BioPro training programs

“From our career section to our upcoming classes and events areas, it’s all there for people to explore,” says Fritz.

To improve content relevancy for the site’s redesign, Fritz said she and the organization started using Google Analytics to research what various site users were viewing the most. She says the site’s users are not only Oregon Bio members but visitors from across the U.S. and the globe.

“They seemingly all have different reasons to come to our website,” says Fritz. “We see a lot of visitor traffic from bio hotspots such as California and the Northeast – a lot of them looking to see all that’s going on here in Oregon.”

Also related to Oregon Bio’s evolution of its information technology, Fritz added that a soft launch of the organization’s new CRM is currently allowing Oregon Bio’s staff to analyze how the system can be most effective for engaging with the association’s members. Among the CRM’s use capabilities and improvements Oregon Bio members can soon review account information and pay invoices online.