The multiple-user aspect also flagged up challenges as to how we structured the site. We had an initial User Stories stage where we mapped user journeys, establishing exactly who would be using the site and what they would want/need to see.
We had to ensure the site was simple to navigate with clear signposts so users could access the information they required easily. We also needed a step change in language to make it appropriate —from a less-formal tone of voice on patient-facing areas to a more academic, technical style for healthcare professionals.
The next stage in the site development was to build a wireframe. A wireframe is a visual guide that represents the framework/ architecture of the website. Using a wireframe allows us to easily test the navigation and define the information hierarchy of the design, making it easier for us to plan the layout according to how we want the user to process the information. It is then easy to make changes before committing to the more expensive design and build stages.
The Website Design
Most medical website designs focus on factual content and often steer away from creative graphics. On this site we wanted to include some emotive imagery to give the site personality and depth. The final page layout combines engaging hero imagery and text with bold navigation, to engage the user and allow them move around the site easily.
The Website Build
The site was built in WordPress where, as with all our websites, we created a custom theme and CMS (Content Management System). We always tailor our websites to the client’s specific needs, adding only the features that are required, rather than allowing excess features on a template to bloat and slow the site. Often developers use a one-size-fits-all approach resulting in a site that has plug-ins, code and features that are unnecessary, un-used and cause the site to load slowly.
Our unique approach also allows us to use code more cleverly and efficiently, for example, on this website we had global call-to-action section, where a single change filters throughout the site — saving the user valuable time when editing content on the site.
There are also several FAQ sections within the site aimed at different users, but that share some of the same questions. We therefore created a central FAQ database where we could tag questions so they appear on multiple sections.