Childhood Disability LINK is a non-profit research group within Montreal Children’s Hospital, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The group’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of children with disabilities as well as their families. They aim to do so through providing information for caregivers, practitioners, and families of children with disabilities.
We were thrilled to have this opportunity to modernize their website’s visual design, make the site more engaging to its visitors, and improve the information architecture all the while combining and condensing the content from two other micro-sites.
- improve site’s engagement metrics
- create visually compelling design for text-heavy content
- combine content from three websites and organize it in an easy-to-navigate way
- ensure that site features align with audience and organizational goals
- 20% reduction in bounce rate
- 87.20% increase in session duration
- 36.80% increase in pageviews per session
Whenever faced with the challenge of making a website more engaging it makes the most sense to base our work on data gathered directly from real users in the site’s target audience. In the case of this project, we were able to not only conduct preliminary user research but also user testing on the new design’s prototype. This project’s results speak to the impressive power of these activities.
Audience-driven features & content optimization
First and foremost, we conducted an ethnography study with the site’s audience of clinicians and parents of children with disabilities. Our newfound understanding of the obstacles they face, the technology they’re using, as well as their mental models and their goals allowed us to optimize how information is categorized on the new Childhood Disability LINK website while combining content from two other micro-sites; determine the essential site features to develop and the most pertinent information to include for the audience to achieve their goals and have a positive experience using the site; as well as to develop a number of guiding principles to keep in mind through the design and development process.
Easy-to-digest clinical information
To optimize the content for busy parents of children with disabilities, we focused on succinct summaries for all content displayed on the website with a link for further, more in-depth information for those visitors to want to, or are able to, delve deeper. We also included engaging video content that allows parents to quickly grasp more complex therapeutic practices and concepts.
To give clinicians the ability to print or send simple PDF documents when sharing information with parents of children with disabilities we included a summary PDF document for each article that’s shared through the Childhood Disability LINK website.
Focused filtering for improved content discoverability
In the interest of quickly serving up relevant information, we offered two basic methods for locating information: by diagnosis and through a prominent search feature. We’d found in our research that the site’s audience prefers to search for content based on a specific diagnosis so, we developed a filtering system that allows them to do just that. Content type archives, as well as search results, offer site visitors a way to filter by diagnosis and/or another pertinent taxonomy.
Connecting users to what matters most
We leveraged MailChimp’s RSS-based campaign feature to offer diagnosis-specific newsletters. A valuable tool that keeps site users informed with minimal effort required from the Childhood Disability LINK team to continue engaging with their audience directly in their mailboxes.
We also created a section for connecting parents to online communities where they can find support and feel connected to a community of folks with similar experiences.
Crowdsourcing information upkeep
We created a convenient way for visitors to suggest interesting content for inclusion in this directory of links, a feature that essentially crowdsources the content of the website. We also included a simple way to report any broken links which will save the organization time on upkeep and maintenance.
Optimizing usability through user testing
We conducted user testing sessions throughout the design of this website to confirm that we properly applied our findings from the ethnography study and continually improve the site’s usability. We testing both the actual design as well as information architecture of the site.
The final website was rated 4.33/5 by our usability testing participants (5 being extremely easy to use and 0 being extremely difficult to use). We were also able to decrease the average task completion time by 64% when compared with the first round of usability testing.
Modern web development
We used industry best practices to develop our designs into a fully functional, bilingual, and responsive website that’s a pleasure to use on a wide range of devices.
As with all of our website, we build the new Childhood Disability LINK website to use WordPress as it Content Management System (CMS). We applied our user-focused design process to the creation of a simple to use content organization for ease of maintenance and update.
Training for easy maintenance
With the final website fully tested to ensure the site performs consistently well across a wide range of representative devices and browsers, we conducted a CMS training session for current site authors. As is our regular experience, they were able to start using the CMS system to craft content after just the one training session that took about an hour.
- Sasha Endoh: User Research, Content Strategy, Usability Testing, Web Design, Front-end & WordPress Development
- Information architecture
- Content Strategy
- User research
- Usability testing
- User Interface Design
- Front-end web development
- Wordpress web development