The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of HOA Portal Software
By definition, a portal is an entrance—and the portals that provide access to homeowners association software can create an outstanding, mediocre, or even downright awful experience for your residents. Because the services these portals make available are essential to the practical aspects of community administration, you need some type of HOA portal to ensure that you offer your residents the support they expect and give them the resources they need to fulfill their obligations to their HOA.
Before you decide how to handle that interface between your HOA and your residents, however, think about how some HOA portal software works—or doesn’t. Spend a little time considering your options, and you’ll wind up with a solution that serves everyone’s needs, from HOA administrators to your community at large.
Ideally, self-managed HOA website software does two things well. First, it provides a thoughtfully branded point of access to resident functions and community content. Second, it unifies all the functions of an HOA into one coordinated, seamless, interactive, intuitive community association management product.
When you access that branded interface, you should have no doubt that you’re in the right place. Your community identity should dominate the home page, with customized visual and verbal content that extols your neighborhood environment and experience. The interface is built with standardized tools that provide the trusted security you expect from HOA website software, but not at the expense of conveying what your community is all about.
The intuitive nature of well-designed HOA portal software makes it easy to use, regardless of whether you’re an administrative volunteer setting up invoices for dues and fees or a community resident who wants to reserve an amenity or purchase a replacement pool key. Unified dashboards summarize focal information for administrators and for members, with highlights at the ready and clickable links to further information. Menu-driven interfaces provide easy-to-navigate online capabilities. In short, every function you need is only a few clicks away.
If you decide to use HOA portal software that’s provided through a management company, you may be forced to accept a less than optimal experience. Of course, it’s more difficult for a management company’s HOA portal software to embody the customized, community-specific interface that self-managed communities can offer, simply because by definition, a management company serves multiple homeowners associations. But that doesn’t excuse the “Where am I?” navigation and sketchy identification that many of these examples of HOA portal software provide.
Should you select a management company—even in part—on the basis of the HOA portal software it provides? That depends on the other advantages an individual management company offers your community, and whether they offset any deficiencies in its HOA portal software. If an otherwise outstanding management company shows you a less than awesome example of HOA portal software, only you, your fellow administrators, and community residents can decide whether the advantages outweigh the drawbacks of this particular online experience.
Some HOA portal software is just plain aggressively hard on the eyes and difficult to use. When you consider that part of the functionality of HOA portal software derives directly from how it looks, how easily you can navigate it to find the functions you need, and how much input it gives you into the experience it creates, then the impact of its user interface takes on greater importance.
Should you settle for a less-than-optimal HOA portal software option? Not when better alternatives present themselves—and you always can find alternatives to a truly substandard package. In fact, when you sit down to research and select HOA portal software for your community, you get what you’re willing to accept. Set your standards high, and know that you’ll find what you want.
The optimal choice
Ideally, HOA portal software ties together all the functions your HOA needs to administer its daily affairs, plan aspects of its future, and implement those plans. From access to secure online payments to a full package of community association management features, the HOA portal software you select needs to match up well with your essential requirements—and offer the ability to grow along with your expectations.
At HOA Start, we’ve made HOA portal software our primary focus as we’ve designed our homeowners association management software to put our customers first, with a complete set of desirable features at an approachable price. Your HOA portal software must live up to the excellence of your community itself, and we’re honored to help you make that happen.