Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children has always been a magical place. Colorful corridors sport crayon signage, and the smell of fresh popcorn fills the air. But what makes this hospital truly special is the organization’s caring culture and 97-year history of child-centered treatment.
Scottish Rite Hospital’s experts have an unparalleled depth of experience and talent to take on any orthopedic condition, from the simplest to the most severe cases that few, if any, other hospitals are able to handle. The hospital serves as the training ground for new generations of specialists and has an extraordinary track record of innovation in technology, genetics, and molecular science. So we were thrilled when our clients approached us with a new opportunity: Bring this storied institution into the digital age with a redesign of its website.
The functionality hurdles and the busy design of Scottish Rite Hospital’s old website made it difficult for users to navigate. Oftentimes, these issues led to confusion among patients and even referring physicians about what the hospital treats, its admission processes, and its payment policies. In addition, we needed the website to better tell the story of the hospital’s world-renowned expertise through patient care, education, and research. While the hospital’s website had a lot of content, we needed to present information more efficiently, so it would be easier for families seeking treatment to learn how to become a patient.
Finally, there was a need to streamline the website management process behind the scenes, so the hospital could keep up with industry trends and competitive pressure. The old website was built on multiple platforms and was not mobile-responsive. The technology was outdated, leading to performance and technology issues, while making it difficult for users to interact with the client.
Building the website was a long process that involved a close partnership between the hospital and a fully integrated agency team at The Richards Group. Both parties were involved at every stage, ensuring that the hospital’s best interest was guided by the expertise and experience of the agency in making the website into a tool that would help accomplish our client’s most important organizational goals.
Phase 1: Discovery
We conducted interviews with key stakeholders to align on goals and expectations, and we facilitated workshops with personnel from 20 different departments. No subject was left untouched, from the most granular technical detail to the overall creative feel of the website. We combined these learnings with digital best practices and our understanding of the hospital’s needs to create a vision for the new site. Our entire strategy was rooted in one guiding principle that was agreed upon by all parties: The purpose of the new website was to kindle hope and accelerate the path to care.
This single sentence gave us a filter by which we could measure creative, functionality, and content decisions. For any and all visitors, the site must instill hope – hope for their child’s future, hope for progress against a terrible disease, hope that their contributions are making a difference. And the site must make it easy for those seeking help – and those seeking to help – to connect with Scottish Rite Hospital. Each interaction should accelerate this path to care.
Phase 2: Functionality and Design
From there, our user experience team developed information architecture to drive potential patients further down the funnel and created wireframes to simulate site engagement. This was paired with a fully developed set of business, functional, and technical requirements to keep the entire team on the same page. Our designers worked in concert with those teams within those guidelines to create a brand-centric visual approach to the new site.
Phase 3: Digital Development and Production
Finally, our development team transformed the requirements, wireframes, and approved designs into an accessible, fully functioning responsive website. This was achieved by customizing an enterprise-level content management system (Kentico) and tailoring it to the specific requirements of the Scottish Rite Hospital team. This system simplified the management of website content by making updates more dynamic and bringing the bulk of the work under a single umbrella. This will also allow the website to scale and grow in the future while maintaining a solid foundation to support the website’s needs.
In August 2017, we launched a new website reintroducing Scottish Rite Hospital with a fresh look with a responsive site, new branding, and an improved user experience. Broadly, site engagement has improved in the year since launch: Bounce rates are lower, sessions are longer, users are going deeper into the site, which all shows that the experience is more interesting. Even more – bounce rates on a per-device basis have gone down as well, meaning that our mobile and desktop experiences have become stronger.
Our clients and the agency team were so thrilled with the site that it became the inspiration for a new advertising campaign.