October 7, 2012 Back to All Blogs

American Pharmacists Association

Beyond Design: New American Pharmacists Association Website Offers Customized User Experience

When the American Pharmacists Association partnered with Pantheon to redesign APhA’s pharmacist.com website, their considerations went far beyond the site’s appearance.

“At the time, our website had been up for about five years,” said Chris Baker, APhA’s director of Internet services. “When we created it, it was more or less just redesigning the site but not diving deeply into the brand or who the audience should be. This time, we started from the ground up.”

The APhA team tasked with the Web redesign felt that Pantheon’s trademark inquisitive approach to assess APhA’s strategic as well as technological needs set the tone for the project and helped maintain the focus on outcome. The process began with complete rethinking of the site and how it fit into the organization’s brand and mission. “There was a long thought process at the beginning,” said Tiffany Bridge, APhA web content manager. “How did we want people to describe us? Who is our audience? What is important to them? What is our strategic plan? Pantheon really talked us through all of it.” Pantheon staff created three designs and allowed APhA to choose the design they felt best reflected the organization’s brand.

While APhA represents pharmacists, members have different interests depending on their professional focus. The new website offers “audience selector buttons” that direct visitors – whether they are practitioners, scientists or students – toward the content most likely to be of the greatest interest. Previously, student members had been served by a separate website. “These audience selector buttons are a way of engaging and bringing the rest of the organization in,” Baker said. “They’re all pharmacists at the end of the day.” In keeping with the site’s renewed focus on serving and informing members, educational offerings and industry news are featured prominently.

The close collaboration between APhA and Pantheon was critical when it became clear to APhA that a launch six weeks before the initial deadline would allow the site’s launch to coincide with the launch of APhA’s new learning management system. “When we asked them what it would take to move the deadline up, the response was that it could be done within certain parameters,” said Karen Tracy, APhA senior vice president of communications. “What was impressive was that they said ‘Let’s see how we can make it happen.’”

APhA and Pantheon worked together to meet the new deadline, and the association’s members responded enthusiastically to the new site. “The feedback has been great,” Bridge said. “The students have been very enthusiastic. Reaction has been very good across the board.” Since the launch, page reads are up by 50 percent, and the organization has seen an increase in online advertising impressions. Internally, APhA staff members have embraced the site’s content management system, which will allow the organization to adapt to meet the needs of the rapidly growing and evolving pharmacy industry.

The APhA team praised Pantheon’s process, industry knowledge and ability to explain technical concepts in simple terms.

“Pantheon was a cooperative, collaborative partner on this rollercoaster journey,” Tracy said. “They’re very good at articulating and explaining technology. They were very respectful to everybody, from the highest level down to the person writing a piece of copy for the website.”