Johns Hopkins Childrens Center

Cutting Edge Research, Exceptional Care

Johns Hopkins Children's Center

TBG & Johns Hopkins Childrens Center

TBG (The Berndt Group) worked with the Johns Hopkins Children's Center to create a new website that would  be a resource for and resonate with patients including parents, children and families; health care professionals including physicians, residents, fellows and nurses; and potential donors. The site presents the Children's Center as a premier hospital for children, locally, nationally and internationally.

It was important to showcase the Children's Center's research focus, family-centered approach and exceptional staff and faculty. The site also needed to show that the Children's Center is on the cutting edge of research in its field, and leverage the important milestones achieved and rich history of the institution. We also wanted to create a site that reflects the Hospital's vitality and the outstanding care that patients and families receive, as well as the exceptional quality and commitment of the faculty and staff. Additionally, we needed to ensure that donors were able to connect to and identify with the Children's Center right away, and easily find the information they need. The balance of these messages on the new site was crucial; we needed to stress the "care" aspect of the institution, and support the Children's Center's goal of carving out its own identity while still under the Hopkins brand.

We achieved this balance by leveraging the institution's history and milestones and focused the site on a more consumer-friendly approach to achieve consumer validation (attract new patients, new health care professionals, new faculty). The new site successfully conveys the seriousness of the Hospital, reinforcing that the Hospital is extremely established and professional, while at the same time, showcasing that the Hospital is at the cutting edge of research and constantly changing Children's Medicine. Exceptional care is also a primary message of the site, highlighting the family-centered approach and outstanding bedside manners of its staff. We also made sure the site emphasized the friendly physicians and staff to send the message that all kids are going to be taken care of in the best possible environment with the best possible staff and resources. The Children's Center is "your family and home away from home."

The homepage design and imagery helped to convey up front key brand messages: the highest quality care, thought leadership in the field, expertise, and compassionate care. The vitality of the Hospital and its leadership is also reinforced through topical content integrated on the homepage that positions the Hospital as a clear leader in its industry. Exceptional usability, improved navigation and site architecture, were all key focuses of the new site. The site was developed in the Ektron CMS.

Features of the site, and specific solutions, include:

  • use of Taxonomy to pull stories in the right column portlets, index pages, and also to relate Health Topics so that they are created once, but used in multiple sections of the site (see Your Child's Health and Specialties sections); 
  • creative solutions for deep tree structure: automatically generated navigation lists based on contents in folders (to avoid manual work), use of right column portlets for navigation lists; 
  • customized search depending on what section of the site the user is visiting; and 
  • a separate design for the Kids website, keeping in mind kids usability (simple "photo gallery" format). 

In addition to developing the main hospital site, we developed a "Just for Kids" microsite, also in Ektron. The site is a place where kids can go to learn what they can expect at the Hospital and take some of the fear and unknown out of their hospital stay. The site provides valuable information in a language kids can understand and find accessible. We created the navigation and site architecture with a focus on kids as the primary audience, so there are a condensed number of navigation options and the navigation itself is easy to use (i.e. big buttons). Labeling is friendly and accessible—"People to Meet," "Things to See," "Places to Go."

The color palette features bold, bright colors to create an inviting feel and fun graphics and imagery provide information in an accessible way. The site features information on the friendly and caring staff, therapy dogs, and lets kids know that it is always okay to ask questions about what they see at the Hospital.

TBG won a WebAward and a Davey Award for its work on the two Johns Hopkins sites.