Stakeholder and User Interviews
Discovery is key to ETR’s Purpose-Driven Design process, which is reflected in our first three design principles: Real Value is Discovered, Usefulness Depends on Empathy, and Collaboration Requires Learning. With these principles at the forefront of our minds, we embarked on a month-long discovery process to gain a deep understanding of VNSNY’s stakeholders, customers, and patients, interviewing over 60 people throughout the organization. Most of the interviews we did were in small groups of 3-5 people, and we recorded every interview so that anyone who was unable to attend in person could catch up via video later. In addition to internal stakeholders, we interviewed caregivers and customers to get an understanding of their experiences with VNSNY — particularly their interactions with the website. Of course, a key part of the discovery phase is to also familiarize ourselves with the organization by thoroughly reviewing the existing websites and corresponding web analytics, any existing documentation pertinent to the project, and relevant marketing/research materials.
Through stakeholder and user interviews, we learned a whole lot about VNSNY's mission and purpose, the way it delivers on that promise, and the impact the organization's work has on the NYC community. We also learned about the gaps in the process, the missed connections, and the opportunities for improvement. Oh, and of course we learned a whole lot about home health care in general.
In keeping with our Purpose-Driven Design principle that real value is discovered, ETR performed a high-level competitive analysis of top NY home care providers to identify best practices and to surface opportunities for VNSNY to outperform their competition. In addition to the set of competitors requested by VNSNY, we included an additional “home care disruptor” in our analysis since we had noticed a trend of emerging home health care startups. By looking at a disruptor, we were able to provide new insights to VNSNY about how startups are simplifying the home health care experience. Our biggest takeaway? The disruptor’s clear focus on meeting user needs with helpful information and innovative technology.
Compared to the larger, more traditional healthcare competitors we looked at, the disruptor was far and away ahead of the pack in terms of delivering a good user experience. If VNSNY could eliminate all of the unessential information from their site, showcase their services in a clearer way, and focus on modernizing their design and technology, they had an opportunity to not only catch up to their competition, but to leapfrog them.
The comprehensive discovery process set a solid, research-driven foundation for the work ahead. Overall, we felt confident that combining these sites would help VNSNY in several ways:
- Give more visibility to the underrepresented private care offering
- Eliminate a significant amount of duplicate content across multiple domains
- Reduce the burden on the (small) digital content team of maintaining three separate sites
In addition to identifying these benefits for VNSNY as an organization, we also had amassed a list of specific actionable insights about trouble spots for the site's users. These ranged from way out-of-scope problems (future work) to the lowest of low-hanging fruits (quick wins). With a deeper understanding of the problems at hand, it was now time to move from the abstract to the concrete—to get a detailed view of where we were now and to get specific clarity on where to go next. Developing a clear content and SEO strategy was a critical next step.
Content Strategy and SEO
After presenting our discovery insights, we began developing a new content strategy for VNSNY. This effort included identifying key user types by developing personas and mapping out their complete journeys through the site. We also performed a thorough content audit of the content across all three sites, conducted a content gap analysis, and developed voice and tone writing guidelines for the web. One of the goals of this content strategy work was to identify ways to better set expectations for caregivers and patients on what to expect with homecare services, which was a key insight we learned from discovery. This video we produced for VNSNY is a direct outcome of those efforts: