American Association of Endodontists

After key staff departed the organization, .orgSource stepped in to solve major issues with AAE’s website’s unwieldy format and poor search.

About

The American Association of Endodontists (AAE), headquartered in Chicago, represents more than 8,000 members worldwide. Endodontics is one of nine dental specialties formally recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAE, founded in 1943, is dedicated to excellence in the art and science of endodontics and to the highest standard of patient care.

The Challenge

AAE asked .orgSource to help solve two major issues with its website, AAE.org: Information that was too hard to find and an unwieldy format was discouraging to the site’s increasing number of mobile users, both dentists and patients. Key staff departures exacerbated the situation.

The Solution

As AAE and .orgSource worked together to solve those issues—and others that arose with the site—the association grew in its appreciation of .orgSource’s skills and experience in website redesign for associations, as well as the company’s versatility and flexibility. When key AAE staff departed during the 18-month project, .orgSource partners stepped in to provide project management and training.

An early phase of the website redesign included usability testing with a volunteer group of AAE members and leaders. .orgSource conducted a card-sort exercise, asking the group to organize potential subject matter for the site, and then used that feedback to help develop the site’s relationship architecture. That evolved into a deeper look at how web pages would be reorganized or eliminated, and what new content was needed. That way, patients searching for information on endodontics—and the dentists who practice it—could easily find what they need. The redesigned site has a simplified, topic-based menu for easier searching, and every page now includes the “Find an Endodontist” search engine, which allows patients to pinpoint a root canal specialist by location.

To address the mobile issue, .orgSource did a mobile traffic study for AAE using Google Analytics, identifying areas that might benefit from more mobile-friendly content or redesign. The AAE noted one-quarter of its visitors were coming onto the site through a mobile device–and that the number continued to climb.

The site was presented to AAE in working prototypes known as wireframes, which were then tested to ensure everything functioned. When the graphic design was layered onto the wireframes, the project started taking shape and generated enthusiasm among staff and members.

The Results

Though many pieces of the project posed potential challenges that could have delayed the web development timeline, it ultimately progressed according to schedule and without major setbacks. .orgSource coordinated efforts of multiple vendors, came into the AAE office to handle documentation and testing, and trained staff website administrators to ensure the site was up on time.

The AAE did not initially perform a controlled study to see if website traffic—particularly from mobile—went up specifically due to the redesign. But the most immediate sign of success is “what has stopped happening—complaints,” said Harriet Bogdanowicz, MBA, CAE, AAE’s assistant executive director, communications and membership, at the time. AAE members have been generous with compliments, as have others in the dental profession.

“Our staff has come to rely on .orgSource for leadership and guidance,” Bogdanowicz added. “They have so much experience working with associations like ours, and tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear—that’s the reason I trust them.”