case study

Leading the digital transformation for the nation’s largest Dental Service Organization (DSO).

Project Overview

Heartland Dental is the nation’s largest Dental Service Organization (DSO), representing over 1,500 dentists and orthodontists. I was brought on to lead their digital transformation team off of a legacy drupal based system onto a new CMS, complete with a Design System flexible enough to accommodate 2,000+ independent brands, increase patient requests, and make mobile responsive, accessible websites.

Project Goals

1. Increase Appointment requests

2. Make the websites mobile responsive – reduce mobile bounce rate

3. Improve organic SEO

Initial Performance Metrics

How do you go about fixing these numbers?

%

Approx. Visitor Conversion

%

Mobile Bounce Rate

%

Organic Traffic

Avg. Download Speed on 5g

competitive analysis

Kicked off an intensive 2-week research sprint.

Pacific Dental

Pacific Dental

Strengths:
Doctor focused
No apparent Patient Portal

Weaknesses:
Not focused on patients
No list of practices near me

 

Western Dental

Western Dental

Strengths:
Nationally Branded

Weaknesses:
Kitchen sink approach to navigation
Represents fewer than 20 sites

Aspen Dental

Aspen Dental

Strengths:
Nationally Branded
Direct Patient Scheduling
Insurance Accepted Listed
Map of local offices

Weaknesses:
Requires Location services to be on
Cluttered Individual Practice site
Not individually branded sites

 

empathize

Initial Problem Discovery

The website had no clear visual hierarchy. There were certainly some buttons that stood out from others, but are ‘Make an Appointment’ and ‘Office hours’ just as important as “New Patient Resources” OR, “Virtual Office Tour” despite being a different style button, being placed in the most important spot for a CTA?

Remembering Our Goals

1. Increase Appointment requests

2. Make the websites mobile responsive – reduce mobile bounce rate

3. Improve organic SEO

Original Heartland Practice site

empathize

User Testing Sessions

Heartland Usability Studies

5-Second Test

100 users were given 5 seconds to view the page and click on the item they thought was most important.

%

clicked “Virtual Office Tour”

First Click Test

100 users were asked to make an appointment.

%

Accomplished the task under 25 seconds

empathize

Bloated Navigation and Heavy Reliance on Dental Jargon clearly confused users

After an initial audit of the primary navigation, it was discovered that the average practice had over 65 items in their primary navigation.

The audit also uncovered multiple instances where one office used one term, while another office used another, however because the descriptions were identical, the offices were choosing to list both.

Heartland navigation detail and audit

empathize

Identify User traffic patterns through Google analytics.

Google Analytics was able to provide some solid data for the 1,500+ sites. 

Google Analytics traffic

Patients had clear goals when visiting the sites.

According to Google Analytics, four pages received 98% of all website traffic over the course of 18 months.

  • About your Doctor
  • New Patient Resources
  • Payment Options
  • Directions

personas

Heartland had previously had personas created provide more patient insight.

Aspen Dental

Fast Track Couples

Head of Household Age:
31– 35

 

Key Features:
Credit-aware
Comfortable Spender
Active Lifestyles
Tech-Savvy

est. Income:
$75,000 – $99,999

 

Aspen Dental

Aging of Aquarius

Head of Household Age:
51 – 65

 

Key Features:
Affluent
Highly Educated
Upscale housing
College Sports fans

est. Income:
$125,000 – $149,999

Aspen Dental

Aging in Place

Head of Household Age:
66 – 75

 

Key Features:
Retired
Financially Secured
AARP Members
Republican Households

est Income:
$50,000 – &74,999

 

User Journey

Prioritizing the insights and developing a strategy

Regardless of persona, our user journey was clear.

Based on our research, the users journey painted a pretty clear picture of what our users needed to see in order to make the decision to schedule an appointment.

Heartland User journey

Card Sorting

Making Sense of the old sitemap and restructuring the navigation

I conducted two sets of card sorting tests to help identify genuine navigation items that could be considered ‘Services’ vs. items that served another purpose.

Group 1: Consisted of 23 Dentists and Orthodontists from around the company.

Group 2: Consisted of 10 Market Representatives that managed another 500+ Dentists and their practices.

Card Sorting

Introducing the Sitemap

New Heartland Practice Sitemap

design

Round 1 Wireframes

Round 1 wireframe

Panel Test

Working with a Panel assembled by Usability Hub, and my two other internal panels used in the card sorting we did some quick testing of the new site navigation.

Revised Wireframes

The panelists overwhelmingly struggled with finding the ‘new patients’ paperwork section being placed off to the right past directions. To most of the panelists it made much more sense for directions to be clearly isoloated off to the right, while maintating the core practice information gathered on the left side together.

design

Prioritizing the Design System

The design system for 1,500+ sites needed to be flexible.

At this point, we have over 1,500 live, individually branded websites, each with its own color palette and branding that cannot change. Slapping one brand color onto the wireframe would begin a potential nightmare of mix-and-match color adjustments.

This would require fully embracing Atomic Design , first introduced by Brad Frost.

design

Putting the design system to work

Heartland website launch phase 1

With the design system in place and thouroughly tested for accessibility issues, we were able to launch the first round of websites, 125 in total in just under 60 days from our start date.

By the end of the following month, we had launched another 800 websites. Each site was able to maintain it’s already established brand colors and was accessibility compliant for the first time ever.

Heartland websites phase1 v4
Heartland websites phase1 v3
Heartland websites phase1 v2
Heartland websites phase1 v1

design

Special Call-out for Mobile

Mobile version

By keeping focus on our project goals, not only were we able to make the websites mobile-responsive and flip overall mobile traffic from under 5% of all visitors to nearly 80, we were also able to get 3 CTA’s to “Make an Appointmet” on the mobile homepage.

Project Goals

1. Increase Appointment requests

2. Make the websites mobile responsive – reduce mobile bounce rate

3. Improve organic SEO

Final Performance Metrics

What impact did we have on those early numbers?

Increased Conversion

%

Approx. Visitor Conversion

Decreased to

%

Mobile Bounce Rate

Increased to

%

Organic Traffic

Decreased to

Avg. Download Speed on 5g

Project Particulars

Project Timeline:
60 Days
Project Team:
Aaron B. – Front-end dev/ UX; Brain K – Back-end dev

Project Toolbox

Final Performance Metrics

One last number.

In Potential Additional Revenues*