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A Modern Site for the Largest Student Medical Community on the Internet

FPCS worked with Student Doctor Network to integrate their many web properties under a modern, responsive UI

Student Doctor Network

Student Doctor Network is a nonprofit organization serving medical students and professionals across the US and Canada. Their online community is the largest student medical community on the Internet.

Location
Huntington Beach, CA

  • Services
  • Research
  • Ideation & Product Design
  • Prototyping
  • Brand Identity
  • Visual Design
  • UI Development
  • Back-End Development

The Challenge

Student Doctor Network (SDN) is a nonprofit organization of thousands of pre-health, health professional students and practicing doctors from across the United States and Canada. With over 570,000 members, they represent the largest medical student community on the Internet with over 16-million page views per month.

In 2014, SDN was in a difficult place. Their site had grown organically over the past several years and had nine independent platforms including Wordpress, XenForo, ZenDesk, Shopify and custom third-party software integrations. The site was desktop-only with different interface elements and navigation on each platform. SDN needed to improve usability and make the site mobile-friendly to meet the demands of their growing membership base.

Key Insights

SDN engaged Flower Press Creative Studio to conduct a website audit, and unify the platforms. We started by mapping out the existing system and conducting a heuristic analysis. We used years of Google Analytics data to determine which parts of the website were getting the most use.

Next, we conducted a series of stakeholder interviews to learn major goals for the project. SDN wanted to modernize their UI, unify the user experience, and make popular tools easily accessible. The SDN site offered many custom tools such as a MCAT Study Tool, a School & Interview Feedback tool, and Medical Specialty Selector utility. All were popular once found but were somewhat hidden within the complex information architecture. We talked with existing members to further learn about major areas we should focus on. We came away with this key Product Insight:

Users wanted to be able to access popular SDN forums on their phones since discussions were often happening throughout the day. And, members wanted to have a unified experience across all tools, with the same menu, log in and user credentials working across all properties.

The Solution

This Product Insight heavily impacted our design direction. We organized information architecture to simplify offerings and make the same navigation accessible across platforms. We moved to single sign on, so users could access everything with their Xenforo credentials.

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The result is a clean, visually compelling site that is easy to use.

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Since the launch of their responsive site in late 2014, SDN’s user base on mobile has grown to 40% of total users. The membership base has grown from 444,000 in 2014 to 570,000 in 2016. The growth has been phenomenal.