According to the Urban Dictionary and to many of us here at FirstTracks, “Gare Bear” is a term of endearment — for a really nice guy named Gary. “A Gare Bear is always pleasant to be around and enjoys light-hearted conversation,” UD says. Well, we... Keep Reading: Gare Bear Gets Married
About Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital
Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network (Northeast Rehab) opened its flagship location in Salem, NH, in 1984. The hospital has now grown to include three additional acute rehabilitation hospitals located in Nashua, Portsmouth, and Manchester, NH. The network also includes more than 20 outpatient centers, a home care division, a sports medicine division, an outpatient pediatric division, and many other services for patients in need of rehabilitation in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The previous Northeast Rehab website was one dimensional. The site was difficult to use and lacked organization for accessing all the services the hospital provided. The old website was not much more than a glorified online brochure. FirstTracks worked closely with Northeast Rehab to better define its core services, database needs, and functionality requirements for the new website. Together we created a detailed roadmap for a successful new online space.
Taking a Fresh Mobile-First Approach
Simply adding responsive functionality to an existing website is different (and less desirable) than starting from scratch and designing the experience from there. We believe in starting from scratch and creating a brand new design approach with the mobile presentation. For Northeast Rehab, it was essential. Our evaluation of Northeast Rehab’s analytics showed continuous growth through mobile access of the website. Our new design also gives careful placement to important key access areas such as location, phone number, search, and menu options. These were placed front and center to make the usability quick and easy for everyone accessing the new site, whatever the platform.
The Power of Custom Post Types
The new Northeast Rehab website features a host of new content management tools that the previous site lacked. The majority of this information is being handled by custom post types in WordPress, which are powerful tools for organizing and relating information across a web application. For Northeast Rehab that meant developing an information architecture that connected and related all of its content types together. This relationship setup created dynamic associations between services, staff, events, resources, news, and locations. This setup allows Northeast Rehab to focus on updating just the individual parts of the site and the templates and content relationships take care of displaying the updates in the proper places throughout the site. For an example, check out the location details page. Here you can see how all the different content types come together to form a very dynamic page layout with plenty of relevant related pieces of information for the user.
Taking Control of EVERYTHING
Creating the custom post types to drive all of the information management on the new website was an important step in providing Northeast Rehab control over everything that makes up the site. The new website features easy to manage custom post types to make information management and relationships a breeze to control and setup. Part of what makes WordPress so powerful is that it makes it easy to work with an organization such as Northeast Rehab and help it define what content best represents the organization. This approach allows us to define distinct entry points to handle specific types of content appropriately. For example, adding a service to the website is very different than adding a location or a staff member or an event. Custom post types in WordPress make it easy for us to customize how these different site elements are added and managed as well as how they relate to one another.
Connecting with Passion
Aside from all the technical improvements for managing the information, it was essential that the new website better represent Northeast Rehab’s unique story. The staff at Northeast Rehab is one of the most passionate we have ever had the pleasure of working with. We spent quite a bit of time in the beginning of this project interviewing key staff members from all levels of the organization to better understand who these people were and what drives them to do what they do. We kept coming back to one thing: their passion. No matter who we talked to they all shared the same passion for helping people in need. This philosophy became the theme of the new website design—to show as much of this passion in all areas of the new site.
Since the new Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network website launched in February 2017, it has experienced the following improvements (so far)
24%Increase in Sessions
12%Increase in Session Duration
22%Increase in Users