The Clinical Center is home to the National Institutes of Health intramural clinical research program. Located on the NIH Bethesda, Maryland campus, the Clinical Center complex is where clinical biomedical research occurs.
The old Clinical Center web site did not address the organization’s mission and vision. It was not a clear communications tool and caused confusion for the information-seeking user.
The overarching intent of the redesign was to deliver a contemporary, forward-thinking, compassionate online Internet presence that provides reputable and state-of-the-art information on Clinical Trials, the Clinical Center, and Clinical Research Education to potential recruitees for clinical trials, visitors to the hospital, patients already signed up as clinical trial participants, researchers looking to continue their education, and the general public and oversight groups.
The core team included the project lead/content manager from the Clinical Center, a usability engineer/information architect on contract to the Clinical Center, and Richard Barnes as the web designer/developer. Baseline usability testing identified specific weaknesses on the existing site. Due to organizational dynamics and challenges, all content, information architecture, template production, and actual page production had to be completed by the three main contributors in a tight timeframe.
A systematic, best-practices usability engineering approach was used to analyze problems and test solutions to produce a final, user-friendly, institutionally-representative product. Using specific variable parameters, the new site proves to be quantitatively superior in comparison to the old one. The new web site was awarded Best of Show from the Washington, DC, chapter of the Society for Technical Communication in its 2004 competition.