The All-New CEDIA.net: Digital Delights

Ed Wenck | Jun 03, 2020
new CEDIA webiste on all devicesCEDIA’s new website is designed for a multitude of users

By now you’ve noticed that there’s been a major upgrade to CEDIA.net. Leading the charge on revamping that digital platform are CEDIA’s Director of Marketing Desiree Friedman and the EMEA Brand and Communications Manager James Bliss. As Friedman explains, the association’s digital presence expanded into multiple websites as CEDIA grew, and it was time to unify everything into one location. “We had a specific site for the Asia Pacific region,” she explains. “We had our U.K. site, we had our U.K. education site, we had our .org site.

"And all of these evolved over the years to speak to different audiences and serve a variety of needs. And now with really the culmination of our globalization and bringing everything together organizationally, it was a clear need that our digital presence needed to be together.”

iStock-1132403310-iphoneJames Bliss was a critical voice in ensuring the site had a global feel: “We had to ensure the needs of our members across the EMEA region and beyond are met effectively, that any local products or services that are specific to the region are included.”

And with that came the monumental task of including everything from content for the design and build community to member resources in one location that was intuitive and easily navigable. So Friedman and Bliss (with an assist from Digital Marketing Manager Brian Weiss and Senior Applications Developer Greg Mack), pulled in CEDIA’s education, certification, and IT teams to create a one-stop shop for any user. “One of the things that we've done on this website — which is different than any of our existing websites before and in line with best practices now — is that all of our content is served up in a very personalized way,” says Friedman. “We’ve structured the site so that you’ll be presented with what is relevant to you. You’ll be served the content or products (say, a white paper or an online course) that match your needs or interests, and we’ll be refining that functionality constantly.”

At the outset, the CEDIA team had to construct the site’s taxonomy: “Taxonomy is a method by which things are organized,” Friedman explains. Just like pre-wiring a new integration project built by a CEDIA pro, “There was a lot of work at the outset that you will never really see until the very finish line,” she adds.

The CEDIA Academy

There’s parallel work that’s been happening as the crew are busy rebuilding and consolidating the digital footprint. CEDIA’s Director of Curriculum Derick Abshire says, “Our Curriculum team has been working diligently to create updated, relevant, and engaging online classes.”

“From the beginning the driving directive was: How do we really highlight our members? And we’ve achieved that.” -Desiree Friedman

Those classes are all part of the new online learning platform that’s been rolled out in conjunction with the launch of the new CEDIA.net. This digital school is now part of what’s known as the “CEDIA Academy,” a way in which the association will strive to find the perfect balance of online and in-person education experiences that CEDIA offers.

Abshire explains: “The updated technical content will be used to offer some key training products in a hybrid format, which will allow for the classroom portion to be completed online. The hybrid model saves the entirety of the face-to-face classes for hands-on learning lab situations.”

iStock-1049719116 ipad editMeanwhile, James Bliss was offering input on the unique educational needs of the EMEA membership.

“Our education offerings here are delivered in a more evergreen fashion,” he explains. “We function a bit more like a school or college in terms of the repeating curriculum that we offer, so we wanted to make sure that the functionality was all nicely integrated and that the curriculum is represented in a nice, digestible manner.”

An Elegant Aesthetic

Since the revamped site is designed to speak to everyone — members, homeowners, CEDIA’s design/build partners — getting the right look and feel was critical.

Getting to a place that yielded an “Oh, wow!” vibe took time. The site draws on the work CEDIA members do best: Integrating technology beautifully and seamlessly into the modern home. Friedman says, “I think we went in with an idea that one of the things that all of our current websites were missing is really showcasing the amazing, beautiful work that all of our members do, and that our industry has to offer.”iStock-821463426-laptop

Friedman continues, “From the beginning the driving directive was: How do we get all the information that we need there, but visually, how do we showcase it on a consistent basis. How do we really highlight our members? And we’ve achieved that.” Bliss agrees: “It's incredibly aspirational and for our trade membership and prospective membership audiences, I think it's excellent for us to be able to showcase the great work that our members do.”

As the months-long project wrapped, Friedman says she was truly gratified to see the buy-in from every department around the globe. “Everyone has been on board,” she says, “and everyone has been contributing across our organization to be able to provide what they think will be best for their end user, their stakeholder, within the organization.”