Durham, North Carolina-based Divers Alert Network (DAN) is the largest international association of recreational scuba divers in the world. Founded in 1980, DAN provides scuba divers with medical emergency assistance and promotes dive safety through research, education, products, and diving services.
DAN felt the web properties they owned were too disparate and did not have a consistent look and feel, so they approached DesignHammer in late 2019 to consolidate three of their websites: Divers Alert Network, Dive Lab Blog, and the online Alert Diver Magazine. Additionally, DAN communicated concerns that the depth of information and features on their websites were not easy to find by their target audiences including individual members, professional dive operators, and dive business owners including individual insurance, group diver insurance, education, risk-mitigation programs, and dive culture in general.
The existing DAN website was built on a custom content management system and maintained by DAN IT staff. DAN IT wanted to empower the Marketing team to self-sufficiently manage content on the site while reducing the maintenance required by IT. Additionally, the site’s design and content no longer matched DAN’s updated branding and services, so DAN IT and Marketing saw this as an opportunity to move to a new platform.
DAN’s three web properties needed to be blended into one contemporary, mobile-friendly website that incorporated an intuitive navigation structure and displayed a consistent brand identity and user experience throughout. To empower DAN’s Marcom and IT teams to keep the website up to date, it was vital for DAN’s new web solution to possess flexible content management.
In addition to these technical needs, DAN wanted to promote deeper and more relevant engagement with users via their new web presence. Additional business needs were also identified by DAN, including the desire for more website elements that encouraged lead-generating activities (e.g. newsletter signups), and effectively promoted the purchase of DAN’s membership and diving insurance policies, the organization’s main source of revenue.
DesignHammer began the DAN’s redesign project with a Discovery & Planning process to review goals, obstacles, and information related to their target audiences. An inventory of existing website content was conducted to identify which content would be carried over to the new website, as well as to ensure all necessary and appropriate redirects from existing DAN websites to the new website were configured to maintain a positive user experience and to perform well in search.
DAN and DesignHammer agreed to transition from the existing in-house developed custom CMS to an industry-supported platform to reduce technical debt and ongoing maintenance costs associated with custom code. WordPress was selected for the new website based upon its track record for user-friendly content creation workflow, and the large number of existing plugins offered by the WordPress community.
DesignHammer also collaborated with DAN throughout multiple interactive brainstorming sessions to create a mind map for the new site to better inform the new information architecture and website navigation. DesignHammer then performed Tree Testing of the proposed navigation on nearly 150 test subjects to determine efficacy, and fine-tune the final results.
DesignHammer designed and built a custom mobile-optimized WordPress theme for the new DAN website. Page templates were customized for the new website using WordPress’ Gutenberg blocks for easy-to-use content entry and editing; with a tailor-made design to maintain brand identity throughout the site. A selection of page templates was constructed during the Design Process for specific content areas, including the Research & Reports page, the Alert Diver magazine, and membership & insurance pages. The site layout featured multiple Calls to Action, precisely placed for DAN’s identified target audiences and their anticipated interactions on the website to increase engagement and desired conversions. Standard WordPress plugins were leveraged for events and quiz functionality, as well as WordPress’s native content import functionality to provide for automated content migration from the old sites.
DesignHammer delivered a user-friendly WordPress website to Divers Alert Network with a custom-designed, mobile-responsive theme. Comprehensive Analytics were configured to track DAN’s business metric targets for newsletter sign-ups, membership joins, renewals, and general user engagement.
Post-launch membership activity analytics revealed a 36% increase in new joins and a 13% increase in renewals from the previous year. In terms of engagement, the redesigned website and restructured content encouraged a 54% decrease in the average bounce rate, dropping significantly from 57% in the year prior to launch to a significantly improved 27% post-launch. The number of pages visited per user, per session increased by an average of 59% in the three months post-launch versus the three months prior to launch, and 22% of website visitors are scrolling down through at least 90% of each page they visit, with another 34% of users reaching halfway down each website page.
These figures indicate that DAN’s new website design is more effectively reaching their audiences, increasing overall engagement, and has had a positive influence on consumer interest; which is expected to continue to deliver increased conversions in the coming months.