The Solution

Drupal was the clear choice for CMS, as it provides the flexibility and scalability required for the project — and it’s also already used by much of UCSF.

The sheer number of key decision-makers — including  physicians with challenging schedules — required a long discovery and research phase. We conducted seven interview sessions to collect the comprehensive feedback needed before proceeding. We uncovered all the pain points, and defined priorities for four personas: Patients, Researchers, Potential Residents and Faculty. This research drove decisions for the content, visuals and back-end structure.

Imagery and videos were specifically created to reflect UCSF’s more hands-on and humanized approach to the patient experience. We also introduced microinteractions, transition animations, and softer shapes to increase visual interest throughout.

We created a template for site maps that would fit the bulk of the 80+ domains, making them flexible enough to allow swapping out items for each specific lab. Content was retitled and reorganized, so it would appear on the site in the right place at the right time for the right audience.

The Process

Deep discovery and research work

Seven rounds of  interviews with key decision makers, heat mapping, surveys, analytics research, and more informed every phase of the project, helping set clear goals for a successful outcome.

Examples of discovery work for UCSF Department of Surgery, including personas and statistics

High-fidelity prototypes

Prototypes were created to show how users would interact with the site, and to demonstrate how animations would draw attention to key content on the page.

UCSF Department of Surgery high-fidelity prototypes

Key Features

Domain Access

Due to having 80+ sites to manage, using Domain Access allows content to be shared across domains, saving time and preserving consistency.

Human-led imagery

Authentic photos of UCSF physicians as well as new videos reflect the patient experience.

A mobile-first approach

As patients increasingly access information from their phones, we ensured that a mobile-first approach would keep everything easily accessible.

The Result

UCSF Department of Surgery now has a site with an intuitive user experience that reassures patients and inspires future residents. Patients, residents, faculty, and clinical researchers can now explore and find the vital information they need, whether that means connecting with the surgeon or locating a research opportunity. The new site also follows accessibility standards, with video controls in addition to font size, alt text, and contrast needs. The site was planned and built sustainably to grow with UCSF, with a streamlined administration experience making it easy for editors to maintain.

The site was acknowledged with a 2024 Web Excellence Award for the categories of Health Care Community and Health Care Services.

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