It’s been nearly 8 years since the current design of the AAOS website—www.aaos.org—was adopted. In web technology time, that places the website somewhere in the Middle Ages. Although the website has had some minor facelifts over the years (most recently in 2012) (Fig. 1), the basic design has remained unchanged—fairly static and text heavy, functional but not intuitive, useable but not necessarily user- or mobile device-friendly.
All that is about to change. A series of focus groups with members during the 2013 AAOS Annual Meeting and usability studies conducted by an outside firm have resulted in a series of more than 60 key recommendations to improve the website. These recommendations ranged from small, page-level features that would add value to casual browsers to sweeping improvements to the site’s navigation and search functionality. During the coming year, they’ll provide a framework for reimaging the entire site.
The Academy’s strategic partner in this effort is Syscom Services, a web design and technology firm with extensive experience in association websites. They have the expertise and inspiration that will be needed in building a more valuable website for members.
The new website will not only be more dynamic and responsive, it will also more accurately reflect the member experience. For example, role-based landing pages mean that orthopaedic residents and medical students will readily find information geared specifically to them, as will fellows and other audiences (such as the public and the media). Sometimes the information may overlap; other times it may be unique and distinct to the audience.
New information architecture and navigation—as well as an improved search function—will make it easier for members to find exactly what they need. The website will also include social and professional networking features, and the distinction between orthoportal.org and aaos.org will disappear.
Member input has shaped the goals for the new aaos.org website, going back to the Board of Directors’ Technology Project Team, headed by Mininder S. Kocher, MD, and the Communications Cabinet’s Social and Professional Networking Project Team, under the direction of James W. Barber, MD.
Member input will continue to be important as the site is redesigned. I invite you to share your thoughts on what you would like to see on the website. Simply email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Bruce is the AAOS chief technology officer. He can be reached at email@example.com