BIG I ILLINOIS
An Inflexible and Increasingly Costly Website
For many associations, website redesigns are deferred maintenance—always taking a back seat to projects that are more urgent or easier or cheaper.
The trouble is, the website is the front door for members. So when that entry point no longer works for you or your members, it’s time to make a change.
That was where Big I Illinois—previously Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIA of IL)—found themselves. This professional association provides agencies and agents with industry resources, operations support, advocacy, and vital business connections.
But the Director of Communications, Rachel Romines, was frustrated by the inflexibility of the site, which made it extremely difficult for her and her team to demonstrate the powerful value of Big I Illinois membership.
Romines turned to Refactored for recommendations. She made it clear she was not looking for just another website vendor. She needed a partner and a guide who would help her make a lasting, meaningful change in how they managed their site, content, and technology.
She found the partner she needed with Refactored. Our proven process and experienced teams helped her break out of the limitations she’d been working with and empower her organization’s:
Management, giving site control back their internal teams
Members, supporting their needs for education and connection-
Mission, providing a competitive advantage for independent insurance agents
Website Discovery and Roadmap
Web and Content Strategy
UI and UX Design
Site & Content Migration
Making a Change That Makes Future Changes Easier
Big I Illinois realized their website had reached a tipping point: it was more costly to keep putting money into their old site than to replace it.
Content management in the rigid and antiquated platform was limited to exactly two page-layout templates. Any changes to the site had to go through the external vendor’s ticket system, taking significant time and expense.
As the association approached its name change, Romines and her team wanted to give the site a new look. But more important, she wanted to take back control of her story and her marketing efforts.
The new site needed to:
Enhance the user experience and improve wayfinding for high-value resources
Improve content management for everyday tasks
Enable greater flexibility in page design and content organization
Empower the internal team to handle more complex website tasks independently
Taking Back Control of the Story
Streamline content entry and updates
Expand page creation options
Enable sitewide changes
Reduce clicks to resources
Reduce IT burden
Enable future flexibility in tech tools and systems
Lower costs where possible
Focusing on Empowerment
Because Big I Illinois’ most critical need was empowering their content editors, we recommended they build their new site in Storyblok. Although many headless CMSs offer benefits for modernizing website and technology architecture, Storyblok is the only CMS we found that is truly designed with content editors in mind – and at an affordable price point.
The Visual Editor ensures that both new and experienced business users can come up to speed quickly and feel comfortable utilizing the systems’ flexible features.
In addition, Storyblok will help Big I Illinois continue to adapt their site as needed with advantages such as:
Easy, API-driven integrations with best-of-breed solutions and tools
Rules-based editing and workflows to strengthen brand and messaging consistency
Superior scalability as business and member needs change
True Content Control
Our teams leveraged our deep association experience to deliver association-specific components and features, including enhanced visibility into events, education, and resources.
Big I Illinois editors are no longer stuck with one way to present information. They can create, compose, change layouts, and re-imagine their story—all in Storyblok’s intuitive Visual Editor.
Intuitive & Personalized Navigation
The old site required numerous clicks just to find simple information. It was easy for users to get lost.
We helped the Big I Illinois team rethink their user journey and delivered changes to the site map, menus, and navigation. Now, users can see themselves in the association—and find personalized pathways to the information that’s truly relevant for them.
Simplified Search & Improved Access
For users needing to access member resources and benefits, we implemented a centralized Solution Center, adding SSO and Algolia search. Then, we pulled member content from the AMS into a user-friendly, interactive layout that reduces clicks and friction.
The new search functionality enables users to easily log in, search by topic or keyword, and filter results. And content editors can seamlessly add content and control its visibility to members and non-members.
Discovery First: Re-imagining Possibilities
Being locked into a restrictive website doesn’t just impact how members see your association. It also limits innovation, creating patterns of thinking that prevent teams from imagining fresh approaches to their work.
For Romines, breaking those patterns was key to making meaningful change in her site and her organization. Refactored’s experienced consultant team provided hands-on guidance, leading her through our defined process.
Website Discovery: Mapping the Project
For any size website project, from simple to complex, the discovery step is a time and cost saver. Through the Website Discovery and Roadmap phase of the project, Big I Illinois got a fresh understanding of the members who come to their site, what they need, and where they encounter roadblocks.
Our analyses and alignment discussions revealed insights that helped Romines and her team visualize a better user journey, brand new navigation, and significant opportunities to consolidate and simplify content.
Site UI and UX Design
Wireframing—high resolution layout prototypes—help save time and costs by enabling our UI/UX designers to develop modern page layouts before moving them into a visual design. These flexible frameworks facilitate productive discussions, helping Big I Illinois get an even clearer picture of the user journey, from top-level navigation through every interaction.
Visual Design to Smooth the Journey
Since Big I Illinois was implementing a brand uplift along with their name change, we created a visual design that leverages their professional color palette in a clean, modern page design.
Simple icons provide visual cues throughout the site to indicate links that go to external sites, video players, or downloadable resources. Details like these help visitors almost unconsciously understand where they are and how to take next steps.
Change for the Better, Empowerment for the Future
As a nonprofit, Big I Illinois doesn't have unlimited funds for endless technology changes. So when a major change—like selecting a new CMS—is necessary, making the right choice is critical.
With Refactored, they found a partner who was willing to speak plainly with them, help them get the greatest value from the solution they chose, and position them for greater autonomy and control over their website and their content for the long term.
Today, Big I Illinois has a site that empowers their content editors in ways they they’ve never experienced. They can:
Update content, change page layouts, and even add or remove pages—at will.
Add resources and control who can access them—without any fuss.
Showcase new solutions, upcoming events, and featured education opportunities—directly in the site.
And most important, the Storyblok CMS is easy for their users to learn, understand, and use.
Refactored continues to partner with Romines and her team, providing ongoing support and helping her add new features and workflows so that she’ll continue to get the greatest value that Storyblok offers.See the Modern Big I Illinois Site
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