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May 31st, 2011
Posted By: Mel Campbell, Jr.
“Without question, this website advances the development and use of future hospital sites,” states Mel Campbell, “as well as sites across a range of industries. It also features an information architecture that allows visitors to get to the content they need and want, quicker.”
Roughly two years ago, Holy Spirit and Campbell, Harrington & Brear embarked on a new media strategy for the hospital. One key component to the strategy was the development of a new website. Not just any new site, but a site that would be fully managed by the hospital, without having to drag in the IT people or a third-party provider for every change.
There were other important objectives, too. They wanted the site to better target the hospital’s audiences with cleaner messaging. They desired quicker, easier access to the “library” of information. They also asked us to market the hospital’s Centers of Excellence, promote the brand better, and develop greater search engine optimization (SEO).
This was a massive undertaking with massive navigational challenges, so the new site was not going to be an easy task. Though some content was eliminated from the old site, the basic objective was to keep much of the same content, but make it more accessible for the various target audiences.
The outcome is www.hsh.org – a new site that can be totally content controlled by the hospital. Not only that, but the site’s construction allows authorized Holy Spirit associates a great deal of leeway in managing the content – copy, photos, illustrations, etc. – without sacrificing the brand look or streamlined execution of the system.
“The back-end systems structure of this site is absolutely amazing, the functionality is exquisite … this site announces a new era in large website development,” says Kris Heilman, the site’s web designer. “Over time, those using the management system will recognize the full potential of this site and reap huge rewards in time and cost efficiencies.”
Plus, through this system the hospital has the power to control its own SEO. The site’s platform was built so they can add SEO to every single page.
As for the design, we removed the confusing, “carnival” clutter on the homepage – often created by departments constantly craving additional information space and front page attention. Yet, we designed it in a way that allows all departments the opportunity to place copy and photos on the home page through a News section.
No one ever really knew how much information was on the old site. “There were only a few buttons,” points out Heilman. “Users had to drill and drill to find what they needed.” Now with a new, clean design and crisp navigation system all the information is just a couple of clicks away.
The new website is more logical, more intuitive to use and much more friendly for the two key target audiences – patients and visitors – to find the information they need. We put the quick links on every page to help users easily find directions and maps, visiting hours, e-mail signup and contact points to every department in the hospital. Every page can easily be bookmarked, e-mailed or printed. There are breadcrumbs so users know where they are within the site at all times. The layout is much better organized with simple sidebar navigation that is drop down/collapsible, keeping the design clean, which is also helpful in the navigation.
The branding message comes through loud and clear with slideshow messages touting the strengths of the hospital and the Centers of Excellence dead center in the middle of the front page. This technique markets Holy Spirit Hospital much better, while differentiating it from competing hospitals.
The old site had a very cold, institutional look. We opened up the design of the site and added a lot of hospital photography. We personalized it with photos of only Holy Spirit personnel. In this way, the folks you see on the website are the same people you will experience when you go to the hospital.
“This was a masterful achievement in web building and web design,” touts Campbell, “and a strong demonstration of client-agency collaboration.”
“This opens a whole new page for hospital websites and big sites in general,” adds Heilman. “Its features and client benefits are too numerous to list.”