Atlanta Family Therapy Website Redesign

Overview: I was contracted on with Atlanta Family Therapy which is a therapy practice in Atlanta, GA. 

Impact: I reorganized the site to feature content that users look for most often (I.e. services, location, contact information), while eliminating broken or useless pages. 

My Role: User Research including surveys, interviews, market research, affinity mapping, sketches, and design. I also rebuilt the live site

Summary: The owner is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Atlanta. He has hopes to one day expand his practice to include other therapists; at the moment he is the sole therapist; He originally built the site to scale to have more therapists. As that has not happened yet, some of the site felt a bit incomplete. 

Original website screenshots

Here’s a quick gallery to give you an idea of what the original site looked like when I started with my client. 

Surveys

I really wanted to understand the problem space for users before trying to address anything with the website. Initially, I had done a heuristic evaluation of the website and came up with very little that was wrong with it from a usability standpoint. So I decided to send out some surveys to get some feedback from users. Initially, I wanted to know “when people are looking for a therapist, what do they look for? How do they search? What is most important to them?”

I had 24 responses, three of which had never seen a therapist before, so I pulled data from the remaining 21 participants. Here are some of the findings. 

Interviews

After looking through all the survey responses, I gathered a list of respondents that would be willing to speak with me further about their experiences looking for a therapist. I interviewed 7 respondents and here are a few key quotes. 

That [insurance website] was my primary way of finding someone. If they didn't take it, I probably would have gone to find someone else. I'd be open to going if it was affordable, but I didn't know what it would cost.

Lisa

I want to make sure I'm not paying too much, so why not see if it's covered. If they didn't take it I would have thought 'this sucks' but if they had offered sliding scale that would have been fine.

Natasha

Cost and [their] techniques were important, but really the most important thing was price and affordability. I also wanted someone that was licensed.

Peter

I got to a point where my lows were too low. My GP had asked if I had found a therapist yet, so I looked through my insurance portal and I wondered, 'How often do they update this?' But I wanted to do it through insurance because otherwise it's too expensive.

Beth

Affinity Mapping

After speaking with users directly, I was able to start making sense of the observations that I had noticed with the users. Here are a few key findings: 

First, most of the users searching were women. Users typically talked with friends or family to get trusted recommendations, and then they would look up therapists by their insurance provider’s website. Once users had looked at therapists, they noted that the most important things to them: 

  • Do they take the right insurance (or if they did not, were they affordable)?
  • Were they close to home?
  • What skills do they have?

If you look at the third graph and the fifth graph (shown again below), you should notice a pretty large discrepancy. When asked about what they found important for a therapist, 81% of users said they wanted the therapist to take his or her insurance. However, when you look at what users searched for on the therapist’s website, only 6% of users looked for the insurance information. 

 

This is likely due to the fact that many of the users reported searching their insurance provider’s website first to see which therapists take their insurance, and then they were looking at each therapist’s website for other information (I.e. his or her biography, their location, types of therapy provided, etc.).  

Market Research

Early in the research phase I had asked my client who he considered to be his competitors. He gave me a list of several and as we looked through them together, I asked him to tell me what aspects he liked and which he did not. Given what the research said was important to users, we decided to focus on making changes to the following items:

  • Make Insurance/pricing more visible
  • Make Location and contact information more visible
  • Adding additional details about the types of services offered, instead of hiding them in the biography section
Here are some images of examples of these points that my client liked from competitor websites:

Sketches and Wireframes

I elected to not spend a lot of time creating sketches and wireframes when it was so easy to make proper mock-ups in WordPress. 

Design

My client had always managed his site using WordPress. At the start of the redesign I had to familiarize myself with the software before saying I would be able to implement all of the recommended changes. As a way to learn it, I recreated my entire portfolio site, including this case study in WordPress. It gave me an overview of how to make sure the pages would look exactly the way I wanted them to. After feeling comfortable with the software, I designed several mock-ups in WordPress on an alternate site so that my client could look at them and determine how comfortable he felt with them. Here are three images of the proposed home page, services page, and contact page. 

Adjusting the Live website

After showing my client a few of the mock-ups of the potential changes, we discussed how he’d like to proceed with making the live adjustments. He told me he really liked his current WordPress theme which was Septera. I had used Astra, so I needed to work within his parameters. Secondly, he wanted to keep his typography and color scheme the same. He also wanted to keep the location and contact pages separate despite users wanting it in the same place. 

So I started to go in and make changes. His Septera theme liked to pull blocks of information on the home page specifically from other pages as opposed to being able to put whatever information he wanted there. As a result, I had to use Elementor to completely recreate his home page without the need to pull information from other pages. This allowed me to delete some of these pages as they were repetitive and not necessary. 

Here are some images of the changes to his home page, services page, contact page, and locations pages. Here are links to the full size images of the home page, services page, location page, and contact page

I also made adjustments to the navigation menu to eliminate pages with little to no information on them. These pages are still live on the site, but unlinked on the menu so that if my client decides to fill them with information later, he can simply relink them in the menu and they’d be “live”. 

Challenges

One unique experience in this project was it served to transition us from colleagues in one industry to client/provider in another. We navigated that relational transition successfully while collaborating well on a project very meaningful to him. One obstacle that presented some additional challenge was that Dan had already spent considerable time on building the website and making design decisions.

Dan had some difficulty accepting some of my recommended changes. But I recognize that is a result of his already deep investment in the website, his long-established vision for his website and his practice, and the need for time to change his mind from deeply ingrained design perspectives and motivations. 

However, in the end, I was able to work with him through this process and guided him in making design changes that both he was happy with and largely followed my research and recommendations. Of the recommendations he did not follow, I was able to effectively describe the reasoning behind them, and as a result, he was able to understand the need for them, even though he may have opted to take a different direction.

Next Steps

I have recommended that my client decide what kinds of information that he would like on the pages I removed. Once he has, he can fully build them out and re-add them to the menu as he sees fit.