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American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD)

About the Project

AASLD is the leading organization of scientists and health care professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease. The organization knew that a newly designed site should not only provide the basics of good web design and development (better user experience, compelling design, engaging content, and clear actions), but it should also paint a narrative for where an organization has been and where it is going. Balance Interactive was tasked with helping AASLD define that narrative and then convey it – not only with this current project – but future projects as well.

The Balance solution

A differentiator for AASLD was the organization’s rich history – founded in 1950 by a small group of leading liver specialists. It is, at once, this rich history that can either pave the way for the future of the organization or hold AASLD back from growth. Balance Interactive suggested that AASLD’s opportunity at this moment is to bridge its past with its future in compelling, innovative ways. Balance set out to build AASLD’s online presence at the very center of this effort.

Stepping into the shoes of your conference attendee

As part of our engagement in crafting the right narrative for AASLD’s online presence, Balance performed a series of tasks designed to pull necessary data that would help us understand the organization and its members. The effort started with a usability assessment and competitive analysis. We then proceeded to perform audience and stakeholder interviews. Our goal was a new website that supports AASLD’s goal of strengthening brand awareness among all audiences while focusing primarily on optimizing engagement for members as well as non-members in the hepatology field (prospective members).

Ethnographic research proved to be one of the most informative exercises for our team in truly understanding the end-user.

Recommendations to improve the conference experience

By sending our strategy and UX team to the Liver Conference with the task of “becoming the user” we were able to help provide raw insights into better understanding barriers that may be preventing AASLD customers from fully engaging with the association.

Strategic recommendations

The Digital Roadmap and technical recommendations centered around this broad concept:

“AASLD’s opportunity at this moment is to bridge its past with its future in compelling, innovative ways. AASLD.com will stand at the very center of this effort.

Recommendations were prioritized within two “buckets”. The immediate website redesign;

Balance Interactive crafted a plan to ensure the new site would be a hub for online educational materials that foster career growth and professional development. Recommendations supported AASLD’s goal of becoming a central resource to all audiences that promotes new knowledge in liver health and innovative research. Specifically by:

  1. making the site more engaging and appealing to key audiences
  2. gaining greater control over content in terms of both site presentation and back-end management, and
  3. offering site visitors easy access to desired information resources through an enhanced search functionality that pulls from various sites and databases.
  4. A second set of recommendations centered around a larger issue; of the 10,000 people that attended the Liver Meeting – 60% were from outside of the united states and only a small percentage were actual members of AASLD. Many attendees did not know that AASLD was an organization that they could be a member of.

    We recommended integrating high touch conference experiences with valuable but lower touch experiences to create more complete connections in the minds of meeting attendees. Recommendations were not limited to digital technology and were summed up by several “moments of truth”.

    Your strength is substance. You are more than a meeting.

    Recommendations in this category ranged for better presenting content to creating mentoring programs for emerging scholars to simple branding suggestions that would connect the meeting with AASLD the organization in attendee minds.

    Your differentiator. Human Connection

    Recommendations centered around ways to better connect a global set of researchers using digital technology. Suggestions included offline networking opportunities with special Interest Groups and greater online engagement around the learning platform.

    You are a global organization. Act like it!

    We were bold enough to suggest that AASLD rebrand themselves to reflect the global organization that they truly were. We made extensive recommendations around creating greater value for international members.

    Your Meeting Holds a Pervasive Sense of Optimism but Members Crave provocative and challenging dialogue.

    From creating “lounge areas” centered around Special Interest Groups to installing holographic images that ask the tough questions we made recommendations on how to create more dialogue both online and at the conference.

    Implementation — continuous improvement

    Website Redesign

    We built a website that would bring AASLD to the forefront of the industry through a modern look that maintains the integrity of an established organization with a rich history. The site was designed to optimize engagement through a streamlined user experience.

    Balance Interactive's competitive analysis showed that AASLD had an opportunity to stand out from competitors by presenting quality content and offerings in an appealing, well-organized, usable, mobile-friendly website. By paying close attention to both constituents’ needs and the organization’s goals, AASLD was well positioned for success.

    AASLD’s technical landscape included multiple websites, databases and third-party systems. Balance Interactive architected and developed a solution that improved the user’s ability to find information from multiple online sources within the AASLD ecosystem. The result was a vastly improved “front door” and central hub for its users and a connected, faceted search apparatus to create a hub for information.