CHaD Website Redesigned with Parents in Mind
When the Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) Web Services team partnered with the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) Community Relations team to redesign the CHaD website, the first step was to ask parents, physicians, nurses and administrators “What can we do better?”
Both teams understood that health care can be confusing, frustrating and time consuming. They listened carefully to feedback and experience from key audience members to lead significant improvement to the CHaD website. Internal stakeholders identified parents as the primary audience for the site, as well as health care professionals, job seekers, pediatric residents and the community as other potential audience members.
Based on discussions with each audience groups, the project team prioritized the information to form goals and guide the project to:
- Make it easy, and more useful
Stakeholders asked the team to make the website easier to use. The project team understood that content centered on upcoming visits, available services and community events should be easy to access, and the visual design should guide visitors to key content without distraction.
With parents in mind, the team analyzed every page on the CHaD website. Redundant or confusing content was removed and places to simplify the content identified.
- Build a mobile-friendly website
Knowing that nearly 50 percent of website users visited the CHaD website on a mobile device in 2016, creating a site that worked well on phones and tablets was a top priority.
- Share the heart of CHaD
Stakeholders asked for a website that boldly expressed CHaD’s personality and a clear sense of place. CHaD’s “heart” — the compassionate care offered not only in the hospital or clinic, but in schools, at community events and fundraisers throughout New Hampshire — is displayed throughout the new website in photos of CHaD kids, events and physical spaces. Even the green color used on the homepage and specific supporting pages connects visitors to the real world: it is the same color painted on clinic walls in Lebanon.
With the project plan, page analysis and stakeholder requests in hand, the team ran a series of user tests to determine the most helpful and effective content organization for the new site. Understanding that parents and others wanted the site to be easier to use, and following industry practices for the tone and organization of content, the team focused less on the old websites’ use of defined “audience” areas — Parents & Caregivers, Donors & Volunteers, and others —and more on an overall parent-centered approach.
For example, important visit information and department websites that once were difficult to find from the homepage were given greater visibility and prominence. Button labels and page titles were evaluated, revised and tested with audiences. The improvements were done to help users make, in usability consultant Steve Krug’s words, “mindless, unambiguous choice” in decisions to locate important information.
Over more than six months, the CHaD website project team conducted interviews, tested visual layout and organization, and evaluated peer websites to ensure a successful outcome. But the improvement of the CHaD website will not end with its launch. As in other departments and disciplines at D-H, the Web Services Team has embraced principles of continuous improvement to facilitate and accelerate future innovation.
“The improved CHaD website is an illustration of our overall approach to creating interactions which reflect the needs of our core audiences. We believe that in order to improve overall patient experience, we must meet our audience where they are and not where we expect them to be. To do this effectively, we must constantly listen to our audience while considering content, organization and design choices cohesively in all of our efforts. Further, we must work to make iterative improvements in rapid succession to meet the changing needs of our audience. The work of the website project team has embodied all of these principles and reflects just the beginning of our efforts to improve the experience of patients, families and caregivers moving forward.” - Kimberly A. Accorsi, Director Web Services, Communications & Marketing