How might we deliver a stellar user experience for CAMH.ca and position it as a beacon of hope for mental health and addiction treatment?
Conduct a strategic content audit that examines CAMH’s content ecosystem and ways in which CAMH.ca can be more patient-centric.
A Content Strategy report that lists actionable steps to deliver enhanced usability, patient-centric content, and content governance for (a future mobile responsive) CAMH.ca.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. As a strong force in Canadian healthcare, CAMH is on a mission to change the hospital’s image from a walled “asylum” to a community that is vibrant, talented, and compassionate.
Analytical Engine Interactive (AEI) was engaged to examine CAMH’s readiness for a content management system upgrade. They wanted to know how they could improve CAMH.ca in terms of its content offerings as well as the site’s user experience before committing to the upgrade.
“It all started with a SharePoint upgrade…”
CAMH’s Public Affairs Department learned that a SharePoint upgrade was coming their way. It would allow dynamic serving of pages as well as the ability to display their sites on desktop and mobile.
This was a chance to transition CAMH.ca from a fixed-width to a responsive site and they wanted to ensure they get this right.
We had to answer three questions:
- How can we improve CAMH.ca’s user experience in terms of content offerings and the experience of the interface?
- What features should we be eliminating or adding?
- What should we do to take our site beyond a hospital site and become a go-to place for mental health and addiction as a social issue and attract a much larger audience?
A Deep (and Siloed) Well
Through a content audit, we found that CAMH.ca had a deep information architecture (IA) with numerous level 2 and level 3 subpages in every navigation item.
CAMH Hospital’s About section, for instance, had 13 level 2 pages, and 14 level 3 pages bringing it to around 27 pages for this section alone.
These multiple level 2 and 3 pages would play out across the next six sections, making it a deep IA in just CAMH Hospital alone.
The problem is that CAMH.ca has such a deep information structure that content becomes hard to find, scattered all over the place, and frustrating to deal with (for those using the site).
This was confirmed by past usability tests, website analytics, and a high bounce rate.
Our job was to provide a Content Strategy recommendation for CAMH.ca. They wanted to know how they could adapt CAMH.ca into a responsive site and ensure that the content experience is the best it can possibly be.
I focused on interface design through the following activities:
- Quantitative Content Audit
- Content Aggregation
- Desktop and Mobile Wireframing
Quantitative Content Audit
I did a full inventory of CAMH.ca, listing every page, PDF, and learning object across the site’s three divisions. It was an extensive audit that almost felt interminable. But I finished it and listed these observations:
- There is a mismatch between the site label and the content on the page.
- Page headings conflict with navigation labels and/or the site URL.
- Content duplication was pervasive on the site.
- A lot of pages had few content to justify a page, i.e. 1-2 sentences per page, making it seem like an orphaned, underdeveloped, and abandoned page.
- The best website content (e.g. learning objects and educational materials) were found on Education, which users rarely go to as per site analytics (they really could have been served up closer to the main page, i.e. Hospital).
Next, we recommended aggregating and eliminating redundant content. This includes combining pages that could really be one, much like the following example on CAMH Hospital’s About section.
Notice the long list of items underneath the About and Care Programs and Services sections. The green dots on each sticky note represented pages that could really be aggregated into a larger page, simplifying the sitemap considerably.
Below is an initial stab of what that new Hospital section could look like (with content and sections aggregated or eliminated).
At the time of the project, CAMH Hospital’s About section had 27 level 1-3 pages. I showed how these can be winnowed down from 27 to 14 pages.
Next up were some desktop and mobile sketches that apply the IA and content recommendations we’ve made thus far.
One of our recommendations was a central About page that briefly introduces what each CAMH division does as well as a link to get there. Instead of forcing users to go to Hospital/Research/Education > About just to know what each division is, the new About page introduces those three divisions in a single page. This reduces the user’s cognitive load and time to complete tasks.
Here is an example of that central About page:
Given the increasing use (and dependence) on mobile devices these days, it felt necessary to deliver CAMH’s contact information immediately on the home page and call 911 if it is an emergency. These contact details are perpetually available to the user wherever they are on the site so they could reach the facility anytime.
Single page treatment vs. Multiple subpages
CAMH maintains a library of mental health conditions (“Conditions A-Z”) and each condition has its own dedicated page.
I recommended that each condition page have four sections – description, symptoms, treatment, and how to get help – that open (and close) like a flyout menu when tapped to display (or hide) content.
The goal was to keep the contents of the condition in one page rather than use subpages for other sections.
Wait, what about User Research?!?
The biggest challenge during this project was the lack of primary user research. Although we weren’t commissioned to do primary research for them, we strongly advised CAMH to invest in user research so they could deliver the most patient-centric experience in terms of content and site design.
In the meantime, extensive secondary user research helped ensure that our recommendations are as plausible as possible. This meant examining site analytics and case studies on website usability for healthcare institutions. We also drew on likely patient scenarios to generate empathy barring a persona or user type before us.
AEI delivered the Content Strategy report four months later. The report clocked in at around thirty (30) pages and sent in a recommendations deck too that our leadership team presented to CAMH’s Public Affairs Department.
AEI and CAMH have kept touch since that presentation. We were even invited to bid for Phase 2 of the hospital’s digital modernization plan, which looks at building a digital culture within CAMH the organization.
This is an ongoing story for both CAMH and AEI. We look forward to partnering with them again to fully realize a mobile responsive CAMH.ca
Client: Centre for Addiction and Mental health (Toronto, Canada)
Role: User Experience Specialist, Analytical Engine Interactive, Inc.