MPN Group Organises Its Patient Stories
Having too much content is a generally a nice problem for a patient group website to have, but it’s still a challenge. The gradual accumulation of compelling content generated by patients can soon fill up any section on a site – blogs, videos, news items, reviews and so on.
At the end of last year, a UK group of volunteer patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs) re-designed and re-launched their website, including using existing content.
One striking feature is how the MPN Voice team use a common format to organise patient stories and experiences.
1: Use a consistent format for titles
Under a tab labelled `Living with MPN’, there’s a section labelled `I am..’ This provides a clean, neat and consistent way to navigate a set of patient stories.
Each story has a portrait of the patient author, and a short description under a clear title in the `I am…’ format, for example:
- I am feeling confused
- I am feeling fatigued
- I am pregnant
- I am looking to talk
2: Keep the format of each patient’s contribution consistent
Although the experiences shared by the patient are diverse, typically each page is kept short. The patient introduces the challenge named in their title such as “I am…caring for someone”, and then lists a range of 8-10 tips on dealing with this challenge.
The use of headings for each practical tip, and the consistent format make it easy to browse and take in the key points at a glance.
3: Offer the most relevant content at the end of each page
Each of the patient pages ends with a `related’ posts feature collating around 6 more of the `I am…’ stories.
4: Match the format across the site
MPN Voice use headings structured around tips often around their site. For example, patient stories captured on video are introduced with a brief paragraph, and then followed by a range of tips summarising the key messages.
…And keep clear of design fads
Many sites do fail to give clear or compelling reasons to click on a specific patient story. Sometimes this is because the titling or description is inconsistent or vague, but often design `fads’ are increasingly an issue. For example, it became quite fashionable to expect users to click on a wall of patient faces to select a particular story. Although often visually impactful, this makes finding what’s behind each `face’ rather like banging your head against a wall rather than navigating it.
The `I am…’ stories format on the MPN site avoid this, and even when viewing the menu of stories on a small phone screen, you can swipe quickly through the selection, with enough information in the title and description to know which one to click.