A Rescue Mission

Behavioral Health Network, Inc. (BHN) is a regional provider of comprehensive behavioral health services for adults, children and families. BHN began as the Child Guidance Clinic in 1938 and has grown into the largest behavioral health service provider in Western Massachusetts. 

So What Happened?

BHN contracted Blackbaud for their Raiser's Edge donation software. They needed a website to go along with this and they had a lot of hopes and dreams for this new web presence. They spent their budget and then some on what they hoped would be a knock-out website. What they got however was far below their expectations. While the Raiser's Edge donation tools were very good they were disappointed because:

  • The new website did not obey, enhance or work well with their branding guidelines
  • It did not accurately present their mission and objectives
  • The programs were extremely difficult for users to find and had no relational connection to their locations
  • The functionality pain points were causing a flood of customer service phone calls and emails
  • They'd spent a significant sum of money and were feeling very jaded by the whole process
  • They had a contract that was about to expire and needed to act quickly

An Uphill Battle

During my pitch to the committee at BHN, I presented them with a concept they could connect with. Considering they work in Mental Health I knew they'd be familiar with Maslow's Pyramid of Needs.

I knew this would be a way for me to connect with them and I laid out a concept using the same idea as that Maslow Pyramid which showed a hierarchy of website needs. I built upon the idea that each layer was a foundation and ladder to supporting the tier above it. For example; they'd become convinced they had to just mass hire tons of Customer Service employees but I took them through conceptual path where a user could find the information they need and reduce the volume in their call centers. They were salty about their past experience and rightfully so but they could immediately appreciate my approach here which really lifted the mood and got me the buy-in I was looking for.

A Process of Unraveling

BHN has tons of programs, tied to services which are related to locations. My team got to work on the wireframes to better understand their challenges inside and out. I directed the information architecture and tied that into a general frame of page hierarchy and some early design ideas.

The wireframe discovery process here really helped me breakthrough on this client. The committee had questions and this comprehensive approach answered their questions and restored their confidence. 

Superfriends Assemble!

The team for this project consisted of a business developer, graphic designer, operations director, developer, copywriter, and public relations expert. With the approved wireframes and the client's blessing we started to explore messaging, identity and brand:

  • BHN was happy with their existing logo assets, a good foundational piece for us to work with.
  • I directed Copywriting and PR to make big improvements to the programs, descriptions and overall text using the wireframes as a guide for copy length and placement.
  • I directed and worked in concert with graphic design to prepare raster proofs in desktop, tablet and mobile formats. This work included ensuring we could use branding elements in ways to help reinforce their image. The "swoop" above their logo was picked up in a few places along with their brand colors. Overall using "round" elements as emphasis items also reflected the round swoop shape and acting as a place for eyes to be pulled to.
  • I utilized metrics data from their analytics reports and information from the customer support managers in the BHN Committee to make informed choices about navigational hiearchy.

The Heat is On!

Did I mention yet that they had a tight deadline because their contract was about to expire with Blackbaud? It was incredibly important that I nailed this reveal so they would not get stuck having to renew or worse, have no website at all with thousands of angry clients. All my homework had been done though, I was confident in the direction and foundations built. My team and I had carefully refined and honed everything into a stellar package of raster proofs for the design reveal. 

The reveal featured style tiles of important components of the modular design. It showed these collective pieces making up full pages and sections and most importantly, it hit it off big with the committee and I got an applause at the end which really knocked my socks off. I could see that they were collectively relieved that I'd listened carefully to their challenges and I had their 100% buy-in now.

One single round of proofs was all it took because I'd really listened and built the strongest possible foundations.

Time Was Running Out.

I had full buy-in on the proofs and it was time to build this out with operations and development which was good because BHN's contract was literally weeks from running out. We spec'ed Concrete5 as the CMS to build this site on. It has some amazing built in relational database tools which would make much of the functional structure of this site work as I'd planned. It also has the best front-end editing tools of any CMS I've ever used for ease of use on their own self-management efforts post-launch. All these elements would be critical to saving us a lot of time in development.

  • I directed development and supported by jumping in on the front-end development myself utilizing HTML, JS, LESS and PHP. This included a lot of attention to detail in regards to 508 ADA compliance.
  • I worked with the Operations Director and the recommendations he had for hosting. We thankfully did not have to worry about HIPAA compliance as we didn't store actual patient data but a robust hosting solution was secured through liquid web. 
  • I worked days, nights and weekends keeping a finger on the pulse of every moving part including working with the Copywriter to get the content loaded. 
  • During the build I trained BHN Staff on how the CMS works ahead of time in order to give them a running start at launch which included a full briefing on the relational database and information architecture.
  • After ample QC and proofreading, we hit the mark! The website was launched well before their contract would cut off, again earning praise and more confidence from the BHN committee.
  • Months later, BHN has reported their clients can quickly find programs from nearly every avenue of entry on the website. Call volume has reduced and more focused well-informed inquiries are driven from the website.

Head on back...