Our team is proposing changes to the IMA Website based on both user feedback and our own extensive inspections of the site structure and content. The changes we are proposing chiefly involve new approaches to the way content is grouped and categorized. They would occur primarily on a global scale, affecting top-level organization across the site, but in some instances, would also occur at deeper site levels. First, we propose regrouping content into categories that are more intuitive and logical and accurately reflect their contents. This would necessitate defining more precisely what content each of the categories should contain as well as some consolidation of highly similar or closely related content into larger, more inclusive categories.
For example, the three categories "HealthSmart", "Patient Education", and "My Health Zone" could all be grouped under a single category entitled "Health Education". In addition, category re-labeling is also reflected in our suggested redesigns. Examples of this include renaming the category "HealthSmart" to 'Health-related Articles' and combining "Physician Directory" and "Nurse Practitioners" into a larger category entitled 'Medical Staff Profiles'.
Secondly, there should be a separation of categories so that topical items are separated from task-oriented items. All categories can reside in the same space, but we recommend that they be separated from each other. For example, topical items such as "Office Locations", "Healthcare Specialties", and "Health Education" would be grouped together on the left side of the page, and task-oriented items such as "Billing Inquiry", "Email Your Doctor", and "Request an Appointment" are grouped separately at the top.
We also recommend some changes to the current navigation methods. These would involve redesigning the global navigation scheme so that links to top-level categories are separated into three navigation schemes: high-level organizational information (Site Map, Contact Us, About IMA), more specific topical items (e.g. Healthcare Articles, Medical Staff Profiles) and task-oriented links (e.g. Billing Inquiry). Another change to navigation would involve improvement of the navigational consistency by standardizing the navigation across the site and always using textual links rather than image-text links. Finally, the use of navigational devices such as highlighted links and pointers will more explicitly indicate the user's location within the site. As well, presentation of navigation menus in outline form will more concretely represent the structure of the site. To this end, we recommend that the left-hand navigation options expand downward rather than "popping out" to the right in a manner which obscures content.
Lastly, we recommend that layout changes be implemented to improve the overall consistency of the site and maintain a professional look and feel. This would mainly involve the application of page templates so that the basic layout of pages may be standardized and minor adjustments made to areas of the site as necessary. In addition, use of consistent fonts, IMA organizational colors and logos throughout the site would further enhance the site's look and feel, whether through the templates or a global style sheet.
The changes we propose will improve the structure and functionality of the site on a number of different levels. First, by consolidating highly similar or closely related content into more inclusive categories, users are presented with fewer choices. In turn, they are less likely to become overwhelmed by the options presented to them and can find information much faster. As well, it will probably be easier for site designers to maintain fewer higher-level categories of information. Secondly, by separating items that are purely topical from those that are task-oriented, the user will be able to form a clearer mental model of what information the site contains and what tasks they can accomplish there.
By standardizing navigation, the user will be able to more quickly move around the site. By explicitly indicating their location in the site (e.g. through the use of highlighted links and pointers) as well as more precisely representing site structure via navigation menus, the user is less likely to become frustrated because from each page they will always know where they are and where they can go.
Finally, improvements in overall page layout such as the standardization of fonts and the arrangement of items on the page, and the use of IMA colors and logos, will present a cleaner, more consistent and look as well as more closely aligning the site with the professional goals of the organization it represents.
This homepage uses graphics to draw users into the site and emphasize a medical-themed site metaphor. The picture of the main lobby (or outside faŤade) of the IMA building gives users a sense of presence by connecting them to the physical location. This page also presents the user with all of the possible areas/links they may need/want to visit without forcing them to fish though multiple vague links and information that may not be important to them or their task. By showing all of the options, users can quickly determine where they need to go. In addition, using pictures of doctors, nurses, and staff at IMA throughout the site will continue to make users feel connected.
This homepage is an alternative to homepage Version 1. If IMA feels that news content is the most important information for users to see when they come to this site, we have placed the current information here on the front page.
The About Us page was created to combine information related to IMA as a company. This page includes links to patient information relative to IMA, notices of privacy practices, news within the company, and job opportunities currently available.
The sitemap is fairly similar to the current IMA sitemap, but reflects the recommended categorizational changes to content.
This version of the Office Locations page contains a directory that has the location information for all of the IMA affiliated offices. The text in the table is linked to individual pages for each office location and/or maps and floor plans.
This version of the Office Locations page is a brief listing of links to the individual office location pages.
This page is a specific example of what each of the individual office location pages would look like. These pages would contain the office's address, contact information, map of the area and floor plan (if applicable.)
This page was created to support the combination of Physicians and Nurse Practitioners into the "Medical Staff Profiles" category. It presents a high-level description of IMA's medical staff and provides access to both directory pages.
This content remained the same as that on IMA's current site, although it was condensed in terms of page whitespace, and the image background was eliminated to make text easier to read.
This content remained the same as well, although the list of NP's was organized as a list to look similar to the Physicians Directory listings. As well, the link and image to the Coalition of Advanced Practice Nurses of Indiana was moved to the top of the page to eliminate whitespace and draw more attention to it.
This page serves as a template for making all physician and NP profile pages consistent. Currently, these pages are terribly disjointed in terms of both content and presentation. Equalizing medical staff profile pages will allow patients access to equivalent information and allow more just comparisons of physician's and NP's credentials and specializations.
The Healthcare Specialties page was renamed to better reflect the category. The page lists the specialties offered at IMA and links to specific information about each specialty. The addition of a small graphic brings the metaphor, life and color to the page.
The individual specialty pages were not changed. Their content layout was helpful in assisting users in finding information about that specialty.
The major change to this area of the site involved the conception of more descriptive and inclusive labels for its contents. "Health Education" has become the umbrella label which subsumes all healthcare education content currently contained in the categories "HealthSmart", "Patient Education", and "My Health Zone". Additionally, two of these categories were re-labeled: "HealthSmart" became "Health Care Articles" and "Patient Education" was renamed "Health-related Web Sites". These changes help to group content more logically and present category labels that are less ambiguous and more easily interpreted.
Another change recommended for this area of the site is the inclusion of more complete descriptions of the content contained in each area within "Health Education". Notes below the links to the various parts of this area allow the user to discern what information they will find there. This detail saves time as it allows the user to quickly assimilate page content without having to first navigate to each area.
Finally, the image used to identify this area of the site on the home page is again placed on this page. This acts as a visual cue, reinforcing the location and helping users maintain an accurate mental model of where they are within the site's structure.
The biggest change to this area of the site has to do with how links to individual articles are grouped and arranged on the page. The current page on the site groups articles and arranges them chronologically. However, since the primary audience that will be visiting this area of the site consists of patients, it is unlikely that they will be searching for articles by date. This might be the case for physicians, but most patients will be searching for information by topic - topics related to symptoms they may be experiencing or just general medical questions. Thus, articles have been grouped according to the topics they cover and fall into six primary categories: Understanding Medical Insurance, Illnesses and other Medical Conditions, Risk Assessment and Preventive Medicine, Understanding Treatments and Therapies, Medical Terminology Explained, and Technology in Medicine.
The outreach clinics are events that occur once a week or about twice a month (depending on the clinic) at offices and hospitals in the outlaying areas around Bloomington. This page presents a concise table which lists the area in which the clinic occurs, what specialty is offered and when the clinic will occur. As well, the unnecessary graphic is eliminated, but can easily be reinstated.
Financial, Technical and Personnel Requirements
Our team recommends that additional staff (temporary or permanent) be added to implement the redesign. The financial requirements needed to carry out this redesign will encompass only compensation for new employee(s). Since Lori Teach alone runs the entire IT department for over 200 employees, we predict she will not have time to implement the site changes. Les Teach also works full time at another job (UITS) and we also doubt that he will have the time to implement the changes. Before leaving IMA, Jennifer Forney recommended that Jeff Rosenplott at the Herald Times be involved in the redesign due to his previous involvement with the IMA site and their current marketing scheme. To this end, perhaps a designer could be found via current contacts at the Herald Times.
Though rebuilding the website will take time, our proposed plan requires no advanced technical skills. The designer(s) can use the current software IMA has installed as well as current in-house hardware configurations and technical support supplied by Kiva Networking. It should be noted that we chose to recommend this "minimal requirements" plan in accordance with the sociotechnical information we gleaned from our initial conversations with IMA. In accordance with their capabilities and stated wishes, our redesign plan necessitates minimal technical expertise, maintains much of the current content, and has also incorporated user feedback to drive several changes, including category reorganization.
The redesign will require updates in the way of content, particularly to the patient education pages, navigational reorganization and layout consistency measures. However, there will not be much organizational change stemming from the proposed redesign with the exception of a new permanent or temporary employee hired to implement the changes and maintain the site in the future.
Ultimately, we believe that our redesign recommendations may be the first step toward helping IMA's Web-based audiences understand and appreciate IMA's professional and community-based goals. Indeed, a more integrated and consistent Website will provide IMA with an accessible way to accurately communicate to patients their professional goals of providing high-quality, comprehensive and accessible healthcare.