British Association of Paediatric Surgeons

How we designed a new website and created a bespoke member database application for the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons

Creative design

With the initial planning and scoping completed, we produced a range of static visuals to illustrate how the website could look and feel. We also created a set of mood boards and styles tiles to help define the overall style for the design before progressing to a more detailed browser-based prototype. Through an iterative process, we made all the big decisions to arrive at a design that everyone was happy with.

Member database

As part of the project, we were also asked to develop a Member Database web application that could be fully integrated with the new website. Our key objectives were ease of use and speed so we chose to use one of the fastest web development frameworks around, Ruby on Rails.

We needed to minimise the management time needed by the organisation and allow members to manage their own data directly from the website. To develop the application, we worked directly with the Membership team from the outset, gaining feedback on paper wireframes to establish the key areas of focus.

We used a modern, lightweight process that gets results quickly and gave the client the flexibility to evolve the application as we went along. We delivered working, tested software each week so the client could watch our progress and test as we went along.

The application was integrated with Gocardless (a leading online Direct Debit payments processor) to enabled membership payments to be taken automatically. We also integrated with SagePage to allow credit and debit card payments to be taken as an alternative method to Direct Debits.

Mere months after receiving the brief, the software was launched. It has since proved to be highly successful with members and the organisation’s administrative team.

Recruitment drive

We saw that the new site needed to give potential members of BAPS the sense that joining would benefit them. Websites can be a major selling point for membership if they effectively communicate to users how the functions and content support their needs. We developed a mechanism for personalised content based on members’ specialist interests which sat alongside a comprehensive resource library, event listings and networking opportunities. Each surgeon’s profile was tagged with the conditions they are most interested in with contact details and the name of the hospital where they were based.We also developed a member directory to cater for a Parents user group (those who may be looking for a surgeon) creating a further reason why a potential member should join the association.

Providing information for parents also significantly enhanced the search engine optimisation for the site, as content can be tailored to the way people are searching for information online.

Responsive design

Our primary target market were very active mobile users, so we expected a large amount of the site usage to come from those devices. Developing responsive websites (those which work well on different devices) doesn’t mean designing for phones, tablets, and desktop computers separately – it means catering for every possible outcome as a single experience. Not only does this ensure every user sees a website that’s optimised for them, it also helps to future-proof the site to work for the devices of tomorrow. This approach brings many benefits to the end user and is recommended by the Official Google Webmaster Blog.

Shaping strategy

Our starting point was to understand the site’s users so we could motivate them into action. After extensive client discussions identifying types of user, and the nature of their interaction with the existing site, we created a clear, prioritised list of user groups. Every decision made when designing and developing the website used this list as a touchstone.

We moved on to create user journeys based on user profiles which gave us valuable insights into their motivations and the types of task they would be wanting to perform on the website.

Sharing content

One of the biggest challenges we were presented with was how to allow members to share presentations and large files online securely whilst still making them accessible to all. Having thoroughly researched the field, we recommended SlideShare because its simple design and functionality provided a great tool for uploading and sharing PowerPoint presentations.

The front-end website had to appear very straightforward and simple to use, but the back-end needed to handle a series of complicated functions, integrating directly with a membership database that we had been commissioned to develop.

Throughout the process, Mixd were efficient, proactive and supportive as well as being professional and up-front about costs and timings

Kate Billington The British Association of Paediatric Surgeons