THE CHALLENGE:

The Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC launched two new hybrid online-offline education programs, aimed at helping dentists learn crucial new skills without having to abandon their practices.

However, the sites for these programs had just evolved, and content had been added as it was created, without a clear plan or structure to lead users to the desired goals.

Thus, the site was disorganized, hard to navigate, slow, and a burden on staff, who found themselves on the phone, answering the same questions, over and over again. 

Teaching dental skills over the internet is tricky ...

... because it requires that students use virtual tools & replicas ...

... and are able to access lectures and research ...

... but the site was cluttered and hard to use.

INITIAL RESEARCH:

Stakeholder interviews: Before we started the redesign, we conducted in-depth interviews with potential students, as well as professors and administrators. A big part of the task was to organize and simplify a site that had grown out of control. To help bring my research to life, I videotaped a diverse cross-section of current and past students, candidly answering questions about their experience learning complex medical procedures online. 

ACTIONS:

I performed a deep content analysis and produced a content matrix, evaluating which pieces of content were good “as is,” which needed some polishing, and which really needed to go.

I then produced wireframes, which evolved into layered PSDs, and finally migrated the entire site from a Joomla back-end to a more user-friendly (and extensible) WordPress install.

After the new content was added, and the old migrated over, we launched the new site.

Start with a content matrix ...

... use it to sketch out the new content hierarchy ...

... keep refining the vision ...

... until I wind up with a layered PSD.

Key metrics are all up ...

... I've created custom images for marketing ...

... redesigned the interactive ads ...

... and have integrated the web materials into print marketing.

RESULT:

The site was launched ahead of schedule, and was populated with a series of popular testimonial videos that I shot and edited.

The average number of session are up 95%, the number of returning users has more than doubled, average time on the site has tripled, and most importantly, the site visitors are clicking through to the “Apply Now” page, rather than pestering staff with redundant & annoying calls.

Oh yeah – and I’m now redesigning the email newsletters, interactive ads, and other marketing materials. 

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