One of our recent clients was the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). As the oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research, the AACR is a national advocacy group constantly working to increase awareness and educate the public about the fight against cancer.
When the AACR contacted us, their leadership saw problems on the horizon that needed to be addressed as soon as possible. They depended heavily on their website to draw people in with pertinent information about upcoming events and the educational resources they provide to the public. Basically, it was AACR’s “mothership” for all the crucial communications, and it needed saving.
The core of the problem: the website was behind the times on multiple fronts. From the public’s view, the AACR website was not designed to view on different devices, tablet or mobile. More importantly, the AACR website was logistically inadequate. Adding new resources to the website was difficult,and finding documents was nearly impossible. In summary, the website was hindering the organization’s success and growth. The AACR asked us to partner up with their internal team to create a site that would meet their needs, be visually appealing, and have a clear, easily maintained site architecture. It needed to relay the crucial work that the organization does and be able to clearly deliver their message to their audience on any device.
The project’s design phase focused on addressing and updating the AACR’s online image. The AACR needed a website that was visually engaging while remaining easy to use. To accomplish this goal, we went through what we call our ‘PDX’ process. This includes experience design and visual design, and is intended to produce a complete design and identity for our clients. We relied heavily on card sorting exercises, an experience design mainstay, to help build out a navigational structure that would draw people to the most important parts of the site.
This is something we believe in at Premier Logic: you have to begin with the user experience first to make sure the site is functional and in line with best practices before you start diving in and getting distracted by the visual factors. Of course, we want it to look incredible, but if it doesn’t provide an excellent user experience? It’s no good. The end result of our experience design process was a clickable prototype that let the user interact with the new website. After (and only after!) we tested the prototype, we moved into the visual design stage and created high-fidelity mockups of the future home of the AACR.
Once we got a round of thumbs-up from the client on the visual design, we dove into the development process, which we knew would be a huge challenge. Due to the AACR website’s dual nature as a marketing tool and an internal resource, we had to create a site that could handle a variety of processes. The AACR site needed social media integration, donation and payment processing services, mobile access, media hosting and streaming support, as well as built-in web analytics. Along with all of this, the AACR team needed a content management system that supported a wide range of content types. We chose to use Microsoft SharePoint 2013 as the backbone of the AACR site because of its powerful administrative tools, scalability, and the stability of the overall platform. We customized the AACR share point build to provide easy content updates and an intuitive admin interface.
The AACR site, now with a shiny, new home on the internet, is able to communicate effectively and let the organization focus their time and visionary energy on the difference they are making in the world. And while they fight the good fight against cancer, we’re proud to support alongside. After all, visionaries can’t do it all alone; they can’t change the world without the right tools in their arsenal and some help along the way. And here at Premier Logic,we’re more than happy to play that sidekick role.