A members site enables businesses to provide payable services or services based on the creation of a community and a private area where information is available. What are the most important features that such a site should have ?

1) Self-Service

The more users a members site has, the more dramatic the admin overhead will be if you do things manually. If you have to be engaged for a user’s password change or reset, then this will not work past a few decades of users. If you have hundreds or thousands of users, then there is no question, you have to have self-service features. These are the ability of the users to change or reset their password. Also, profile pages that allow the users to put in their information such as email, phone number and also a profile image, are also part of the self-service experience.

2) Account Activation

To register a user, it is common to have the account activation feature. This requires the user to click on a link which they will receive in their email. After clicking on the link, the account becomes active.

What would happen if you did not have this feature? Well, anyone could sign you up to any kind of newsletter or members area. Then, you would be receiving information that you would not want, you would be wondering how you were signed-up and also someone could use your electronic identity (which is your email) to logon to sites for one reason or another.

3) Account Deactivation

Deactivation of accounts happens in many cases. One of them is when the account activation did not take place. If the user does not click on the activation link for a set period of hours or days, then the account should be completely deactivated. Another case is when the user wishes to remove their membership. Again, to reduce admin work, users should be able to logon to the members area and request a deactivation of their account. Usually this feature works by allowing a grace period of 10-15 days before the account is really removed. During that period, the users can change their mind and re-activate the account.

4) Attractive interface

A members area should be well-designed as an interface today. It is no longer enough just to provide a text-based area. The trend is towards the “Bootstrap look & feel”. It is easy for a programmer to integrate a Bootstrap look into a members area and this has the benefit that even a simple set of pages looks very professional, even if the design is very simple.

5) Ease of use

It seems obvious, but the users really just want to login and quickly find the information they need. User interface design is therefore important, and the flow of actions and menu options should be carefully planned to ensure that the user is comfortable and does not get frustrated when searching for content.

Dionissis Zervas