When a public health issue the scale of the Zika virus emerges, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swings into action on a number of levels. Providing accurate and authoritative information and advice to the public is a key activity. The website created by the CDC to keep the public informed and safe has won first place in the “Website” category of Ragan’s 2017 Health Care PR & Marketing Awards.
The site, launched in 2016, drew 32 million visits, more than half coming from mobile devices. Because of the rapid flow of new information, the site was updated constantly, leading to increased navigation difficulty and an inability for visitors to find key health messages, especially on mobile screens.
The CDC Digital Media Branch launched a site redesign and evaluation strategy based on a usability study. The initial results: More than half of the usability test subjects failed on nine or more of the 13 tasks assigned to them. That led to a redesign process that enabled the CDC to focus more squarely on mobile users.
The redesign was subjected to a second evaluation, which showed that test subjects had a far easier time navigating and consuming the site’s contents. The second evaluation also included health care providers, and it revealed that those subjects rarely visited the “provider” section of the site to find clinical information. A number of improvements were implemented, and a third study showed an improved ability of both consumers and providers to take advantage of the site.
The CDC’s commitment to making the latest and best information available and accessible across devices to multiple audiences is reflected in the size of the team committed to the Zika site effort. Congratulations go to Lisa Richman, Cari Wolfson, Carol Crawford, Dianna Knight, Alex Casanova, Aaron Jones, Sarah Greer, Laura Smith, Heather Green, Cathy Young, Julio Castro, Anthony Murrell, Julio Castro-Perdomo, Heather Johnson, Carol Kilpatrick and Jay Wood.