Working through Development Sprints (Treatment Program Overhaul)

Once the project scope and feature-set was created, and I had established leadership sponsors, the team began working to build out elements. I maintained daily liaison with the 5 other members of the group: a content manager, a patient education specialist; a medical writer; an SEO analyst; and a contact in each clinical team for content review/approval.

Process Flow

Process Flow

Working with our internal clients presented some challenges, as leadership conceived of new development ideas, which we then needed to roll into subsequent sprints. Time-line management was also sometimes complex, given the number of different (and busy) clinical teams involved. I closely monitored and engaged with each team member, managing and revising expectations as new challenges presented themselves.

 

Planning (The Patient Experience)

This microsite was created to streamline the initial information given to new patients at the Mass General Hospital Cancer Center.

The previous version of the site had minimal information, and was positioned largely as a promotional tool for the Cancer Center. The older version was also flash based, so not mobile ready or well scored in SEO terms.

My development plan therefore called for a solution which could act as an elegant and simple working tool so that new and prospective patients could find practically useful information.

It was also important to recognize that visitors to this area of the site might be in a particularly stressed or anxious state, given a recent diagnosis. The more clarity I could add to their experience of this microsite the better, as it might help to alleviate some degree of their stress as they contemplate their first visit.

Content Development and IA (The Patient Experience)

The Patient Experience

The Patient Experience

The new Patient Experience microsite which I developed re-imagined the key elements of the needs of patients and family members.

It offers an easy-to-navigate set of elements which I developed employing a “foyer” model, with clearly accessible “doors” to each interior page.

The portal includes pre-appointment checklists and FAQs, integrative therapy services, other support like financial counseling, and patient education resources.

It’s also headed with a welcome video, which includes a tour of the cancer center’s layout, so it would be less intimidating for first time visitors.

 

Supportive Care Services (The Patient Experience)

Supportive care program listings

Supportive Care Program Listings

Online coverage of the Cancer Center’s many supportive care programs was both sporadic and siloed. Broadening the scope of the Patient Experience project’s initial goal, to improve online information about our location and new patient induction process, I devised and built out a new section of the micro-site which integrated these disparate elements of supportive care into a directory of programs in integrative therapies and support groups.

There was also a major operational challenge to keep an up-to-date calendar of these many programs. Prior to my arrival, only PDF print pieces had been available, updated on a bi-monthly basis.

The Support Services Calendar

Embedded Support Services Calendar

 

I created a new operational process to feed group listings into a shared Gcal, which I then embedded onto the Cancer Center’s main site. This allowed group leaders to record and amend their own schedule in a dynamic form, without the delays of assembling a print listing, while also adding the Gcal’s many access, sharing and printing features to the online experience.

Integration Issues (Center for Cancer Research)

As I assessed the Center for Cancer Research’s (CfCR) online needs, it became clear to me that there was a significant challenge surrounding the research arm’s online relationship to the affiliated Cancer Center. From a web standpoint the CfCR seemed siloed, and although its audience of professional researchers was certainly distinct from the more patient-facing Cancer Center site, I felt that it was still important to indicate the real-world value of its research as part of such a prestigious organization.

The problem was compounded by a technical limitation within the wider hospital’s content management system, which wouldn’t allow the full merging of the two sites’ content under one branded top nav. Still, I strongly felt that both sites would benefit from highlighting their connections and shared mission.

My solution was three fold.

New Co-Branding Insignia

New Co-Branding Insignia

First, a new insignia was developed, which underlined that the CfCR (along with a number of other previously disparate linked groups and affiliates) was “An integral part of the Mass General Cancer Center”. Co-branding the Center for Cancer Research in this way allowed visitors to remain conscious of the connections between the two centers, and to perceive the main Cancer Center site as the online (and by extension operational) “home” for all visitors.

I also applied a tactic of establishing more patient-to-physician online content linking. For example, I brought several researchers on as contributors to the “What we talk about (when we talk about cancer)” community blog site, so that as they engaged on the site there would be overt links between these different constituencies.

Cross-linking of research news and events in the main site was also made much more robust, for example with a calendar for both researcher events and physician continuing medical education, mapped to display on both the CfCR site and the education and training section of the Cancer Center’s site.

Content Overhaul (Center for Cancer Research)

It was clear from the outset that any fundamental review of the Center for Cancer Research’s (CfCR) online presence must launch from assessing the effectiveness of the 40+ core laboratory micro-sites in engaging site visitors. The audience’s academic level must be considered too — quite distinct from other sites I manage — so it targets established and often very specialized professional researchers, along with post-doctoral fellows.

As such, I developed various new formatting designs for the laboratory sites, for example with small bursts of content available both in its searchable online form and in downloadable PDFs, for those looking to annotate and collate research findings off-line.

Redesigned Research Lab Pages

Redesigned Research Lab Pages

Beyond these developments, I concluded on reflection that this concern for the different type of research audience had been overstated in the site. High-level research content should not mean impenetrable limitations of site access and an austere presentation of this work. With so many laboratories, and several hundred staff, I felt it was would be very difficult for even academically advanced site visitors to really engage with its numerous studies and publications.

This conclusion was supported by the site’s analytics, which also reflected a higher than average bounce rate, suggesting that the site had a problem with its stickiness.

Although the core of the CfCR online content is this mass of research data and publications in each of the labs, the site had actually been suffering from this overwhelming quantity of valuable information.

Since so much of the research work carried on at the CfCR is very engaging to a research audience, my solution was to develop a new central news and events portal, intended to create a truly dynamic space with which researchers could engage.

CfCR News Page

CfCR News Page

This news portal includes a newly created welcome video by the center’s director, to show the center as approachable as well as studious, and a rotating spotlighted “Featured Lab” section, giving a foothold as a site visitor explored the site. There is also a large format recent publications slideshow, accompanied by informal images of relevant researchers.

This development allowed the center to be presented as a place attracting the highest quality of research work, and also humming with professional activity.

Planning and Development (What we talk about)

Initial Wireframe

Initial Wireframe

For the development of the “What we talk about (when we talk about cancer)” community site I led a group including a design agency and a web developer through multiple phases of conceptual sketches for IA, wireframing of design and layout, and functional mock-ups and staging server builds.

I managed an aggressive development timeline, which needed to match an upcoming nationwide marketing campaign across the Cancer Center.

A few months after the initial launch we began working on a phase II release, which allowed us to respond to the analytics we were collecting from our initial traffic.

For example, traffic appeared to drop-off somewhat in the early part of each monthly discussion cycle. This indicated to me that the site was perceived as having less content to engage with when only a few perspectives were visible on the homepage. As a result, I re-conceived the site’s overall architecture to work with our developer so we could create a new multi-channel format for the homepage.

WWTA phase I page in dev

WWTA Phase I in Development

 

Phase II Home Page

Phase II Carousel Development Option

Phase II Masonry Development

Phase II Masonry Development Option

WWTA final

WWTA Phase II