March 1, 2013
Volume 77, Number 3
Website Improvements Speak to Society’s Expanding Communications Efforts
John F. Dombrowski, M.D., Chair Website Task Force
The ASA website will be undergoing some exciting changes in 2013. Since the site’s initial redesign more than two years ago, we have consistently encouraged member feedback and have actively been putting plans in place to incorporate that feedback. In 2012, we focused on improving the site’s speed, performance and search experience. And while we realize our work here will never be completely “finished,” it has helped pave the way for even bigger and more extensive updates to the site.
A lot of the feedback we hear from members deals with the fact that there is so much great content on the site, but it seems difficult to find exactly what they are looking for. And with such limited time available to us to search for a guideline or pay our dues, this can be frustrating. In order to address this issue, we took a look at the parts of the site that immediately needed to be more accessible to users. Using anecdotal data, analytics of the site and popular search terms, we put together a new proposed menu structure to help make locating what members are looking to access less cumbersome. The new navigation menus were organized by topic (Membership, Advocacy, Education, etc.) rather than by audience as the site is currently architected.
In October 2012, the ASA web team engaged ASA members in a usability exercise in order to evaluate this new proposed menu structure. The volunteers were recruited through social media, listservs and ASAP, the Society’s e-newsletter. Volunteers were asked a set of general questions about their experience with the site – how often they visit, what types of content they access, etc. Then, we asked them to navigate through specific scenarios using the new navigation (updating their profile, finding guidelines, making a PAC donation, etc.).
Volunteers were able to navigate through this new menu structure much more easily, and they unanimously favored the topic-based navigation over the audience-based. However, there were still concerns about the homepage and internal navigation structure of the site. This in-depth exercise and the extensive feedback it yielded was really the impetus behind the decision to move forward with a much more clearly defined plan to improve the site.
The plan includes working to develop a brand new design of the site, making changes to the site’s navigation and overall information architecture, evaluating the site’s features and functionalities as well as conducting an audit of the quality and effectiveness of the information available on the site.
As Chair of the Website Task Force, I, along with task force members Christine A. Doyle, M.D., Kenneth Elmassian, D.O., Norman J. Cohen, M.D. and Peter J. Dunbar, M.D. and the ASA staff web team, will lead this important charge.
However, you don’t get off that easily. We will be looking for your continued feedback as we get deeper into the process. As usual, we will be providing updates on our progress. Stay tuned!
John F. Dombrowski, M.D. is Medical
Director, Anesthesiology Assistant
Program, Case Western Reserve,
and Director, Washington Pain Center, Washington, D.C. He is a member
of the ASA Board of Directors.
Next Article / Previous Article