Six AIHA Website Updates That Will Make Your Day
For years, members have been sharing feedback that AIHA’s website—although deemed an important resource in survey after survey of the membership—was not user friendly. We heard that AIHA.org was terrible on mobile devices, and content on the site wasn’t easy to find. I couldn’t have agreed with you more. I should know since I run the marketing department. Over the years, we tweaked and tuned as much as we could, but we were limited by a dated web platform. It was a pain point for you and for me too, but the budget didn’t allow for a change ... until now.
In September, we rolled out our newly redesigned website. Here are six new things that will make your day just a little easier next time you visit AIHA.org.
- Meeting and Trying to Exceed Website Accessibility Standards
Website compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, published by the World Wide Web Consortium. The WCAG identify 38 criteria for measurable success, but many website owners and developers have found the WCAG difficult to understand. In June 2019, Accessible.org released new Website Accessibility Standards, which provide plain-language guidance to ensure better understanding of the factors that affect accessibility. Even though AIHA’s site had always passed Google’s measures for website compliance, we didn’t want to simply pass—we wanted to exceed our visitors’ expectations. The release of the Website Accessibility Standards was perfectly timed with our site redesign, so we went the extra yard, not only checking all the boxes in terms of ADA compliance but adding a widget called UserWay to give visitors the opportunity to customize their preferences for accessibility. You’ll find the UserWay widget in the bottom right corner of every web page on AIHA.org.
- Being Mobile-Friendly, Not Just Responsive
A responsive website is one that changes its layout to better accommodate the screen size of different devices, but a mobile-friendly site is much more—it is a site that offers equal usability whether you’re viewing it on a desktop, a tablet, or a phone. Mobile-friendly sites use simple navigation instead of long drop-down menus and avoid features like Flash animation, which is unsupported by some devices. Although AIHA’s old website was responsive, it was far from mobile-friendly. Our redesign made the new AIHA.org truly mobile-friendly: the site is equally usable on laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.
- Introducing: AIHA University
AIHA’s education was almost always aimed at IH professionals so they could access continuing education credit hours to help them attain or retain their CIH. Over the past year and a half, we have developed a whole new suite of education aimed at non-CIHs and non-IHs, such as our certificate programs, a CIH prep course, and fundamentals of IH e-learning course (in collaboration with the Occupational Hygiene Training Association). To help newcomers identify the right educational offerings for them, we reorganized all our offerings to make everyone’s purchases easier ... like a one-stop shop for all levels of OEHS education.
- New Member Center
To make our navigation even simpler for mobile-friendliness, and in response to members who have told us over the years that all member-only resources should be in one place, we moved all member-exclusive content to Catalyst, our online community. Of course, you can still look for things on AIHA.org, but when you click on member-only content, you will need to log into Catalyst, which will now show you a new dashboard of member-only information that you can access easily. To ensure easy access, remember to stay logged in all the time.
- New Public Resources Section
For years, our members have suggested we use our website as an educational portal for all consumer-friendly resources that members developed or that AIHA national and members created together, as well as links to non-AIHA trusted sources of information. This new section is replete with multimedia information broken out by topics such as mold, teen workplace health and safety, natural disaster recovery, and so much more. Feel free to tell friends and clients about this section of the website, and if you would like to suggest other non-corporate resources we should include, let me know.
- Feedback Form
You’ve always been encouraged to contact staff with any questions or concerns, but now we’ve built a specific place for your input about the website itself. If you like something, if you think we forgot something, or if you have an interesting idea on how we might make our site even more user-friendly and navigable, send us a message with your constructive criticisms. We are always open to making AIHA.org a more useful resource, so don’t hesitate to reach out.