EMIS Health are a FTSE250 specialising in clinical systems used by healthcare organisations across the UK. Crossing boundaries from B2B into e-commerce, their products are sold across the various sectors and types of organisations within private and public healthcare, including GP surgeries, pharmacies, community care units, hospitals and specialist services. Using these systems, healthcare providers can access the same information about their patients – no matter where they are treated – making integrated care a reality.
As Egton Medical Information Systems was repositioning to EMIS Group PLC, their brand presence had to be reflected online, and so a complete online update was to be carried out, to coincide with the new brand launch.
The existing site structure did not provide a seamless user experience. Products which EMIS have developed in conjunction with partner companies sat within a different area of the site to their flagship ‘EMIS owned’ products. EMIS are a listed company – with diverse audience groups (such as investors, job seekers, employees and customers) with different information requirements.
We worked with EMIS to create a strategic solution that would best balance user and business objectives: namely to architect, design and build two separate websites – one for EMIS Health (the product site) and one for EMIS Corporate (the PLC website). This involved merging five separate websites into a new experience. The go-live also needed to coincide with the new brand launch.
During the discovery phase, I helped conduct a content audit (along with the Senior Content Strategist, Sally Creasy).
This was to give us insight into the quality of the content, as well as to to identify which pages were most popular etc (via analytics data).
One of the main findings was that EMIS have great copywriting, but their ‘valuable’ content was currently not being leveraged and surfaced enough to reach their various audiences effectively. The previous website was not responsive, which meant the very worthwhile content was often hidden a few layers deep, and not promoted visibly.
Priority Audience report
The purpose of the report was to define and agree with the client on the priority audiences to know the people we are designing the experience for, and whom we could be testing with. This report was also used to understand broad behaviours of each audience group, to know the frequency of brand interactions and to get a snapshot of audience personality.
By documenting audience needs, we identified broad functional and content requirements that are central to priority audiences achieving their goals and completing tasks.
User Story Mapping and Client Workshop
From the findings of the audit, and supported with analytics information from our Digital Maturity Workshop (run by Andy Lockett), we carried out a workshop with the client to define their content needs, ambitions and opportunities. We explored their current online ecosystem, and did a joint User Story writing session to try understand their business and user needs (based on their four priority content user groups.
During the workshop we also explored potential EMIS editorial themes, formats and assets as well as the editorial calendar, to introduce a structured approach to creating and publishing new online content. Special focus was given to ambition, capacity and internal governance to explore and manage client expectations.
DISCOVER PHASE: findings
Based on the findings from the workshop, a two-site approach was suggested to cater to the two sides of the business:
- The Customer/Product support side: https://www.emishealth.com
- The Business side – including Careers: https://www.emisgroupplc.com/
This was partly due to the differentiation in content, as the four audience groups were seeking information which did not need to be grouped together on one site: customers need product information and support, while Investors were more likely to look at Annual financial data, Company information and thought leadership.
The information gathered from the Discovery phase was used to form the basic structure of the content hierarchies for the websites in the “Explore” and “Define” phases.
I was the Content and Experience Design lead during the Define phase of the project, and worked closely with the team to create the assets required for Design and Development.
Along with Andrew Webster (Senior Designer, I created the content hierarchies, which formed the basis of the wireframes for the entire site (after the Homepage concept was approved by the client). Our approach was to tackle the .com first, and then create any additional pages for the Group site (as we would share templates across the two sites where possible to ensure cost and time efficiency due to strict deadlines).
The next step was to combine the thinking from the design concepts, and to clearly define the functionality and structure for the rest of the website, before we began designing in-browser.
I began by creating a module list of all possible functionality we may need on the website to fulfil the User requirements. I then matched the modules to the relevant Templates, depending on the requirements and user needs, as well as page hierarchy within the sitemap.
Three levels were identified to ensure users would have a sense of location within the site, for:
- landing pages
- secondary level pages
- tertiary/content level pages
The deadline was extremely tight on the project (with just over two months for design and development of the two websites). The decision was made to design only three of the chosen Templates in Photoshop (Product, Generic Content and Landing page), and then design the rest in-browser. This step was essential in ensuring the client understood all functionality of the website before we started this process.
This was then recorded within JIRA to keep track of the development – so that each member of the team knew which piece of functionality was being worked on, which enabled us to feedback quickly to each other and streamlined the process. Each module had it’s own JIRA number, and these were then plotted against the template sketches.
From wireframe to .psd to HTML
I ‘cut up’ a PSD template to visually demonstrate how the landing page templates could be constructed from the modules we designed within the Umbraco framework. This helped the client see how the site would come together in-build, without using further design resource, thus saving us some valuable project time (which could then be better spent designing-in-browser).
…this also helped the FED and BED understand how the different modules would function together, across the site, so there were a few sessions during which (using this document as a basis) we worked to name the various modules and templates and to define their specific functionality in more technical detail.
Ironing out the ‘creases’
From a content perspective – EGTON systems own EMIS Online, Ascribe, Rx Systems, Digital Healthcare & Indigo4 – and all of their products were to be bought into a common structure on their new site. However, the site audit was only carried out on EMIS Online… so there were gaps in the research due to the scope of the project.
After getting to the products section we realised content on the sites was vastly different depending on the site (organised around the needs vs the product, for example). We needed to adapt the Product page and create a “one-size-fits-all” design.
The product pages would need to contain differing levels of information – but even though the user would have used a filter on the Product Landing to decide which sector they were interested in, there was a business need to communicate that the product was also interoperable with other sectors.
An agile solution
This was something that was not considered fully from the beginning in the user-journey, and could have been solved more elegantly by introducing Sector landing pages. However, as the time and resource was limited, we had to come up with another solution – which resulted in the introduction of sector tabs within product pages (where relevant, according to content needs):
During the Implementation phase of the project, we carried out internal and external QA testing as well as carried on having daily stand-up sessions with the team to tweak and finesse the site. During this stage, we used the basis of the EMIS Health site to create the EMIS Group plc site – so essentially, we created two sites by adapting the templates slightly to accommodate slightly different user-needs.