User-Focused Website Development
The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) is a non-profit organization focusing on advancing the roles of genetic counselors in healthcare by fostering education, research and public policy to ensure the availability of quality genetic services. Following a surge of awareness in the potential benefits of genetic screening for breast cancer (the “Angelina Jolie effect”) the organization identified a need for a consumer-facing website that would present information about genetic counseling in an approachable format, answering common questions and guiding consumers to qualified counselors.
NSGC’s professional website was better geared toward healthcare professionals than patients, who use much different terms when searching for and sharing information about genetic counseling, genetic screening and major health concerns. NSGC tasked True with all aspects of website planning, from recommending what content should be presented on the website, to determining the most consumer-friendly approach for delivering that content. While a small team of NSGC executives were responsible for delivering the finished website, a volunteer board of directors – whose members had clinical experience but not marketing experience – would sign off on the final product, sparking concerns about managing expectations and potential scope creep.
True conducted keyword research to determine the most common terms searchers use when looking for information about genetic counseling and genetic screening, and combined that data with the results of a survey of NSGC’s members to identify the initial information potential patients need to begin making informed decisions about genetic counseling. Based on that data, True developed a comprehensive sitemap, content plan and wireframes for the new consumer site. To minimize revisions after the site moved to the development stage, True engaged a local usability lab to review and test the proposed site plan and content during the planning stage, and again prior to site launch, to identify any potential navigation issues or content oversights and ensure the success of the project.
True’s comprehensive plan provided clear direction for NSGC’s public relations partner and allowed site design, site development and content development to occur concurrently, meeting the organization’s tight timeline for website implementation. Usability feedback at both stages of testing delivered valuable feedback in a very short period of time. Evaluation at both stages was overwhelmingly positive, validating True’s recommendations and approach. With minor usability issues to be addressed prior to presentation to NSGC’s board of directors, final approval for the project was obtained with no major modifications.