Webpage design and development is something quite foreign to me. I have never written code, or, well, whatever else it is you need to know how to do to make a web page. My mind just doesn’t work that way, but I’ve always never been exposed to it. I work as a research assistant on a clinical trial that operates out of a medical school in the world. I’m primarily in charge of participant recruitment, management, and study visits. Luckily whenever I joined the study it had already been well established so I didn’t need to do much on the recruitment front. That was fine until now.
Our study is launching a new sub-study pretty soon and we need all new recruitment for it, so I really need to start working on all of our angles. The study once had a website but it has long been abandoned. Research assistants that have come and gone already were the ones that developed it. The information is way out of date, none of the links work correctly, and the pictures look like they are about ten years old. I had the unfortunate task of rebuilding the website and getting it out into main social media streams to get a boost in our new participation. As I mentioned, I have absolutely no experience with something like this and have no idea where to begin. Instead of trying and failing miserably, I pitched the idea to my boss that we hire an outside web development and marketing agency to give us some help. Of course I had to write all of this down in a proposal to our study’s board with included budgets, so it took some time to get everything approved by the right people, but I did eventually get the green light to hire some professionals.
Although the agency that agreed to restructure and market our webpage was more of a mainstream marketing group, they were more than willing to take on a client with a scientific basis. As they worked with me to figure out exactly who we were targeting and what kind of atmosphere and message we wanted to convey through our website, I saw that they were perfectly capable of tailoring their skills to any trade. It didn’t matter that we were recruiting research study participants instead of selling a product or business, the strategies to reach out to people were the same.
I was extremely pleased with the agency’s work. Our website was completely updated and restored with a more modern feel and with interactive links and even a 360-degree view of our lab and clinical office spaces for participants to see. The new website was just what I had envisioned as a model participant recruitment source. It did not take long at all for us to see results either. Within a week or two we began receiving messages about interest in our study from potential participants through the online portal that was set up. The board was pleased with the cost-effective method of recruitment that I proposed and in no time our new sub-study was up and running.