“Right from the start, Wunder emphasized psychological safety in the team. This was a great success, and the staff at HUS and Wunder formed a tight-knit team where things were discussed openly. Working with Wunder was not only efficient, but also fun, and the working atmosphere remained extremely positive despite the rush.”
About the project
What is HUS?
HUS, formally the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, is the largest hospital district and the second-largest employer in Finland. HUS employs 27 000 people, its special catchment area is home to 2.2 million residents, and almost three million customers visited its outpatient clinics in 2019.
Since HUS serves more than 40% of Finns, the goal of the online service renewal was to produce an uncomplicated website optimized for a number of different user groups. The objective was to find a partner who would help make the site long-lasting, data-secure, and accessible in every possible way. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, users’ need for information grew, and the importance of finding information online quickly and easily increased. These needs also needed to be addressed urgently.
The previous website of HUS was nearing the end of its life cycle and urgently needed a reform to improve its usability and search features, among other aspects. HUS provides medical services in 210 different units. It is critical that the numerous services and units can be displayed in an easily understandable and accessible form that can also be found as quickly as possible.
Before the renewal, the site’s search features did not work properly, leaving large sections of the content out of the search results. There was a lot of content to start with, and it had to be processed in full and included in the search also on mobile devices. The old site was not optimized for mobile users, and the renewal was hoped to change this situation around.
Hus.fi has an exceptionally large number of end-user groups, and the site needs to serve all these groups effectively. The large organization has many internal stakeholders, each with entirely different needs for the site, but the needs of external stakeholders also vary to a considerable extent. The information a journalist is looking for when they browse the site is completely different than, say, a patient booking a laboratory appointment. Identifying all these user groups and their various needs and then reconciling them to form a functional whole required the help of multisectoral professionals in online service development.
Also, the Web Accessibility Directive of the EU created time pressure on the renewal.
Wunder ended up as the digital services partner of HUS by public tender. From the very beginning, it was clear that the section for patients would be the most vital part of the renewal. It provided the basis for drawing up a tentative plan for the entire project. Due to the tight schedule, the specification phase of the online service had to be cut short, and the implementation had to begin in parallel with the planning, which was exceptional.
The objectives of the website renewal had to be kept clearly in mind every step of the way in order to meet the targets on time. End-user groups were included in the project from the start. User testing and prototyping helped expand and deepen the client’s initial concept and provided valuable knowledge about the user experience. “It is valuable to obtain knowledge from the end-users about the content so that we can serve them even better. Especially the specification of the content, done with a service designer from Wunder, turned out to be a fruitful process”, says Maria Svenström, Digital Communications Specialist at HUS.
The old HUS website was quite extensive. During the project, more content was found, which required quick solutions for building it on the new site. Therefore, Wunder’s adaptability and flexibility were important, as structural changes had to be made to the website content as more information was obtained. A substantial part of the content was also revised simultaneously to the website renewal to match the updated communication style of HUS.
Accessibility was one of the key elements of the entire renewal. Wunder appointed an accessibility consultant for the project who was responsible for the accessibility of the new site throughout the project.
The cornerstones of the project were the complementary know-how of the team members, the close communication with the client and third parties, and the good framework set for the project, which left room for rapid changes.
The translation tool has made the production of language versions significantly faster. Similarly, creating content with Drupal’s elements is more fluent than in our old website. All in all, content production is effortless, and the new site allows us to work faster.
Despite the tight schedule, the project was completed on time, and the new hus.fi serves its users efficiently on both PC and mobile devices. Third-party accessibility and security audits showed that the goals set for both these elements had been achieved.
With the website renewal and the new search tool, the usability of the online service has significantly improved. The search feature of the new site now works as it should, and site navigation has been made easy for its wide range of user groups. The old site had a lot of content that needed to be updated. Search engine optimization was carried out already during the project, and the number of broken links was reduced significantly.
User surveys have shown that the website renewal has been a great success. That is especially in terms of the areas of development that the project specifically focused on, based on the results of user research.
“Communication between the client and the team at Wunder has worked incredibly well from the start. We were able to create an overall functional solution with the IT services of HUS, and although it involves multiple different operating environments and suppliers, our collaboration works excellently,” says Ari Ruuska, Technical Architect, Wunder.
Wunder’s long experience and its versatile resources helped HUS meet its pre-determined criteria for a successful project. Now that the website renewal is over and the most critical development needs have been addressed, Wunder and HUS will continue their collaboration with continuous development. Optimizing the user experience of different stakeholders is an endless iteration process where Wunder and HUS now work together to achieve the best possible outcome.
The visuals of the renewed hus.fi has been complimented as fresh, and users have told that they quickly found what they were looking for. We have also presented the site to several others who are preparing their own website renewals.
Bounce rate reduced