Saturday, September 17, 2011

break Joe's website

So as you all know, Joe recently switched jobs, so for the past week or so I've been trying to help him build a professional website (professional meaning for work, not as in designed by a professional) because how else are patients ever going to find him and know how awesome he is?  My proposal went like this.

You need a professional website.

I do?

It has to have your credentials on it, and all the information about the surgeries you do,
with, like, "Before" and "After" photos and contact information and post-op instructions
and such, because blah blah blah online presence marketing Internet searches social media blah.

What is an "Internet"?

Let me...just do it for you.

So we made this:

I designed and built the site, while Joe provided the content.  It's still a work in progress, but I think it's starting to look...pretty decent.  I personally have a bias when it comes to doctors' work sites--many many of the plastic surgeon websites I've seen I think come off a little too glitzy (and I realize that this is somewhat dictated by the nature of the work and clientele, but there comes a point where patients may have a hard time telling if they're researching a doctor or reading US Weekly).  For Joe's site, though, I wanted a simple, clean interface with all the medical information and professional credentials easily available. Joe does such good surgery and his professional pedigree speaks for itself, I thought it would only be distracting at best and cheapening at worst to gild the lily with, like, animated lens flare effects and an Enya soundtrack.

But anyway, do me a favor and look at the site. Look around on all the pages and see if they read well, click on the links to make sure they all work. I know some of this is a matter of personal taste, but does the website flow well for you?  Is there anything not on the page that, as a patient, you would want to see? Click around a lot, roll around, try to break it, think of it as a couch at Ikea that you're trying to decide to buy for your family room, then e-mail me or leave a comment to let me know what needs to be fixed.  Remember, this is still a work in progress (in particular, I have an "FAQ" section and a "Patient Testimonial" section that we're still working on) but in general, how does it look?

As for the subject of trying to build a website with your spouse looking over your shoulder, I will add this conversation from this morning.

(Painstakingly editing HTML to adjust photo alignment and spacing, because the Blogger 
"compose" interface is a piece of doo and has already taken years off my life.)

Hey, you should try to use HTML!  Or something!  For the website!

Have you ever seen that site, "Clients from Hell"?

Yeah, you showed me that once.  Hey...why are you bringing that up now?

No reason.

Thanks guys!

(By the way, I've test-driven the site on Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox and it renders decently on all of them so far as I can tell--however, if you're using some kind of antiquated browser, NO PROMISES.)


  1. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Hey, Michelle:

    Just noticed a typo on Joe's webpage in the Appointment Information-Oconee has only two ees at the end.

  2. Good catch! Will fix, thank you!

    (Are you sure it's not "Oconeeeeeeeee"?)

  3. Joe's website looks great! Definitely agree with you on the other plastic surgeons' websites... you succeeded in making it clean and simple!

    My only thing is that I personally feel like the headers on the non-main pages are a big squished to the top and need a bit of space to breathe [and be more noticeable].

  4. Yes, I totally agree, this is a function of the Blogger interface and it's one of the parts that it's difficult to "get under the hood" and change. I would also give them more space if I could, purely from an aesthetic/layout standpoint, but I have not figured out how to do this yet within confines of our (admittedly free) hosting system.

    I'll keep trying!

  5. Did you take his picture? It looks great! I have to say it's a nice and professional site. Maybe add in some personal hobbies such as, I don't know... does Joe like baseball, football, etc? I like to read when doctors seem like normal people ;)

  6. Anonymous11:15 AM


    In the After Surgery section- I think you didn't mean a new bullet in the middle of this sentance.
    After surgery, you will be taken to the Recovery Room. You will be monitored by the nursing
    personnel, and they will discharge you when it is safe to do so.

    Looks professional and polished!

  7. Yes, I took the picture outside our window. (That's our roof in the background.) I think it's nice to have personal info too, I'll ask Joe if he wants to add anything in there...thanks!

  8. Anonymous11:20 AM

    I'm an internist, so my background in terms of editing is from one who refers others. :)

    1. Layout is great, clean and simple without being too elementary.

    2. Your target audience are folks that want information, and quickly. For your home page, I would switch from third to first person. It would make the patient feel more comfortable, like they are actually meeting Joe. If he can establish trust within a few minutes, they will be more likely to call him up.

    3. I would make the fourth paragraph the first paragraph, the first paragraph the second, and keep the last one. All the other paragraphs should be on a separate page, or what I have seen others do is just link to their C.V. I actually like the idea of the latter, it will make his education background stand out rather than using links or highlights in a paragraph.

    4. Love the before and after pics and layout.

    5. Services page might have too much information. Try to have a non-doctor look at this. I kind of got distracted reading it because it was a little too verbose. I would suggest having a list of the services with a basic overview of each underneath (no more than a couple sentences) with a link to "more details" should the more educated, curious want to know more.

    I'm assuming the primary goal of his website is to introduce himself to prospective patients and get them in the office; and a secondary goal would be to have patients who have already met him to have a resource to go to should they have more questions/concerns.

    Please let me know if you have any follow up questions, I always said if I weren't a doc I would be some type of editor or reading specialist. :)

  9. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Looks great! My only thought is that the descriptions under the pre/post op photos are slightly too medical literature sounding. I think there was one with a "one can see" that might read easier with a "notice" or something along those lines...

  10. Anonymous internist: Good points, I had a feeling about the "Services" page being too crowded myself, let me work on it. Thank you!

    Other Anonymous: Nice catch on the bullet point, there were a couple more of those that I caught earlier but I guess I missed that one! Good eye!

  11. Anonymous @ 11:22 - Agree, I've been trying to go through some of the language and make it a little less medical, a little more layperson friendly. (Joe tends to write with a medical voice.) Took your advice about "one can see"--good call.

  12. Mac + Chrome user here. It looks great! I'll just nitpick:
    - When you click on tab X, the header "X" that shows up in the main content frame is squeezed up a little tightly against the blue border for my taste
    - Is there any way to strip away the "Blogger" fingerprints (the orange "B" favicon, the header at the top, and the "subscribe to posts" links at the bottom). Since the site is not really a blog it throws me off a bit seeing blog-like signals. The "powered by blogger" not at the bottom doesn't jar in the same way.
    - Under services, can you make the entries in the first bulleted list hyperlinks that link downwards to the relevant section?
    - Under pre-/post-op, I've always seen "consented to" not "consented for"
    Best of luck to Joe on the new position!

  13. Page: Surgical Instructions (post-op instructions, third from bottom)
    Sentence: Please ask to call service to contact Dr. Walrath.
    Should be: Please ask *the* call service...

    Page: Contact and Locations (Gainesville sectoin)
    Sentence: Dr. Walrath will start seeing patients in Gainesville starting October 29, 2011.
    Suggestion: You probably don't want "start" twice in the sentence. Suggest "Dr. Walrath will see patients in Gainesville starting..." or (better, imo) "Dr. Walrath will see patients in Gainesville beginning...".

    All in all, very nicely done.

  14. Good points, I changed the "consented for" to "consented to". The Blogger fingerprints are a little more difficult, I guess that's the inelegance of using a free hosting and editing system, it can be difficult to "jailbreak."

    I will work on the hyperlinks, Joe had mentioned something similar himself.

    Thank you!

  15. Knot Tellin: you have very good eyes, thank you!

  16. On the Pre/Post Op page, patient 8 has a big gaping wound below her eye, which could easily scare off the squeamish. I recommend skipping that picture even though it's useful to show the type of surgery because it could be upsetting for people.

  17. That's why I put it further down on the page, "beneath the fold" (in newspaper parlance) so it wouldn't be too in your face right up top. I did think of that, though, I wonder if there's a way to make it a rollover picture so it's not so overtly gory--the equivalent of dressing a racy magazine in a mylar cover on the magazine rack.

    Thanks! I'll investigate options, though it is important to show that kind of surgery--Joe gets a lot of post-Mohs surgery referrals from dermatologists.

  18. On the Services page "Brow Lift" has both words capitalized but all other headers have only the first word capitalized.

    Under the publications for "Lower eyelid blepharoplasty and midface lift" the first publication is lacking a space between "SC," and "ed".

    The third publication doesn't have the title underlined even though the first two publications do. But maybe I don't understand your underlining and italicizing convention because they seem inconsistent in the publications under "Functional Surgery". Are things only supposed to be underlined after "In"?

  19. Maybe you could just put a "graphic content" warning at the top of the pre/post-op pages. I think those pictures are important, but certainly might freak out the squeamish.

    Also, I admittedly really had no idea what Joe did (despite being a physician, and an oncologist to boot who might actually need the services of oculoplastics for my patients, heh) - cool stuff!

  20. Anonymous12:49 PM

    The first sentence of the disclaimer page says "may not be used with permission" I assume you mean without? Also, the disclaimer is already linked to in the right nav, so you probably don't need it in such a prominent spot in the top nav. Also, while I'm on the disclaimer, I'm assuming you've already thought of this, but that last paragraph (without the first part of the first sentence) should be in the signature of any emails he sends to anyone he writes to about his work or their medical issues.

  21. Anonymous12:51 PM

    I would remove Patient 8 and Patient 9 on the before and after pictures. They're a little bit gory for those who aren't used to those kind of pictures. Perhaps you can make it one of those pictures that people can choose to expand and see if they wish, with a warning that pictures contain open wounds?

    I like the website, it looks very nice.

  22. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Very convincing before and after. I'd see him if I had a problem.

    I feel the pages need to be rearranged somehow. The first page has too much info on Joe. As a patient, I want to know what the doc can do for me and his expertise at doing it rather than have to read about him.

    Pics of Joe doing surgery type things or interacting with patients might be nice.

  23. For the heading and link menu bar, I think blogger uses CSS to set the height and while I wish I could say "oh you just go there and change it," it's beyond me :P I think the easiest way for the non-CSS-savvy is to make your own banner and menu bar so you can control the height of the heading.

  24. I agree with anonymous -- your front page needs to be less about who Joe is, and more about what he offers patients.

    I'd also take out the "lovely" before wife on that page. I'm not going to disagree that you're wonderful, but as a patient, I'd find it offputting.

  25. Anonymous4:04 PM

    I couldn't convince myself that patient 8 and patient 9 weren't the same person on the "pre / post op" -- either separate them (put someone else between them) or just note they're different people?

  26. Thank you for all the eagle eyes--most of the small things (like typos) I have changed. As for the bigger things (like the idea of changing the first page) may take a little more noodling, as it's a bigger content issue, but I see your point. Joe actually does talk quite a bit (in the fourth paragraph) about the more specific pathology that he treats--maybe it just needs, as you noted, a picture or two.

    Oh, and believe me, every time I read the part where I am referred to as "lovely" I am a little embarrassed too (because I'm SHY), but I think it's sweet, and since Joe put it in, I'm going to leave it. And I don't think that should be off-putting to anyone, the term "lovely" is benign enough, it's not like he's saying I have big knockers or anything. :)

    I am going to put in a disclaimer up at the top of the "Pre- and Post-op" images pages specifically about the post-Mohs/pre-reconstruction shots. It is a very important part of what Joe does so I do want to keep it up there, but barring anything more sophisticated I can do (ideally I would like to do a mouse-over effect, where you can't see the pre-op images unless you roll your mouse-over the picture, but...I still have to figure out how to do that) all I can do is warn people that the pictures are there and put them further down the page. (Oh, and indeed, they are two different patients, you can tell from the apposition to the eye--in Patient 9, the lateral canthus is gone.)

    Thank you again everyone for the input! We're working out the kinks, but I would not have caught half of these typos without you guys.

  27. Anonymous8:22 PM

    (We are continuing to add content to this page, check back soon for more pre and post-op pictures!)

    = comma splice

  28. Anonymous8:29 PM

    "Dr. Walrath offers the full compliment of oculoplastic surgery" --> complement

    . . . and many more typos. I'd click away after one. He's making a killing doing plastic surgery. Hire an editor.

  29. Anonymous8:42 PM

    A few points:
    1. I think the "bio" section shouldn't be the first thing on the page, maybe more about the practice and what they do
    2. Maybe link the pre- and post-op pictures to each "service" offered? That way only people looking for a particular procedure will see the pictures (no offending anyone with the gory Mohs photos)
    3. This isn't part of the "web design" but in the pre and post- op instructions they tell patients to stop their ASA or NSAIDs before surgery, and what to do about coumadin, but as a cardiologist, I can't stress how important it is for patients on ASA and Plavix to NOT stop both anti-platelet drugs for ANYTHING unless ok'ed by their cardiologist...I've seen too many stent thromboses (some as late as 6y post-PCI) for elective surgeries. Tell them to put a disclaimer that if they have any "heart" conditions they require pre-op evaluation by a cardiologist (not internists, who inevitably want to stop the plavix at the 1y mark after a stent like 1y was some magic number intrinsic to the stent and not a guideline) prior to the surgery! Also, there are new anticoagulants on the market that have their own set of problems... dabigatran has been out since October, and it looks like rivaroxaban and apixaban will also be approved at some point, so guidelines for the other anticoagulants may be helpful too.

  30. Home page - suggest you put the Joe's Bio on a separate page (but leave a link on the Home page) so that it appears less wordy. Home page needs to be "catchy" & more concise.

    For his bio, I would also put his achievements, publications etc in bullet points - easier & less daunting to read especially for those who are not familiar with medical terminology.

    In paragraph 4 on the Home page, the description of what kinds of surgeries Joe performs is redundant since they are listed on the Services page.

    Pre & Post Op pictures - include the preop short description of each patient in the title. Eg Patient 1 - significant blepharoptosis (drooping lids) and excess eyelid skin. Instead of placing the picture on the same page, have it pop out as a separate window if the reader clicks on the title. This way, if it's a graphic picture, you can put the warning into the title so that the reader has the option of not clicking the link. I think this is better than the mouse-over effect (someone may accidentally "mouseover" the title then the gory pictures would show up!)

  31. Elizabeth9:25 PM

    For the gory pictures (pts 8 and 9), the text is not under the picture like in the other pictures but is squeezed onto the right side.

    Also, I agree with everyone else that you really need not to have these on the same page. The contrast as you go down the pictures is startling: ptosis, ptosis, ptosis, and BAM, gigantic gaping eye wound.

  32. Anonymous1:22 AM

    I like the picture he has on the Paces website better than the one you have on here. The head-on shot with visible eyes is more engaging.

  33. Tricia7:48 AM

    The second paragraph on upper eyelid blepharoplasty on the Services page doesn't flow very well. It's too much to have "In general, In general, In fact" one after the other.

    Everything else looks good to me though. I think the "lovely wife" part is nice.

  34. pei-yun11:04 AM

    Whoa. Off the bat, the website is really clean and professional. It's easy to navigate, and I sure people will appreciate the mouse-over effect on the gory pictures, or really, any other ways that you try to make seeing these pictures strictly optional.

    I do, however, agree with all the previous comments about the home page. If I were a prospective patient (and not a geek with college aspirations) I wouldn't be as interested in where my doctor studied as I would what he can *do* for me. Perhaps all the mention of college and stuff will stick in prospective patients' minds and they'll have this subconscious image of Joe as a college/med student. o.O

    Okay, overthinking but still...?

    Perhaps, something general that covers the territory of services, treatment "philosophy"?

    Great job :D

  35. Anonymous12:17 PM

    I love the mouse over pictures on the pre/post-op page. You did an amazing job.

  36. I like that idea about treatment philosophy. When you keep in mind that one of the big principles in web writing -- especially in health care -- is that it needs to be patient focused, using that front page for biographic info is pretty much wasting the space. A patient reads that, and if they don't see what they want within the first paragraph or bullet points, they're going to move on without checking out the rest of the site.

  37. Good points all. We're evolving, thanks for the good input, I've made a lot of changes already! Keep checking back, we're getting there.

  38. Just wanted to say I think the website looks great (I'm on Safari)! I have a fairly good typo-catching eye, and I didn't see anything as of 11pm on Sunday.

    Also, I thought Joe referring to you as "lovely" was quite sweet. :)

  39. Info is good... I kept feeling that the page was a little text heavy. Most readers are lazy and don't want to read full sentences on a webpage about their dr. Maybe have bullets with links to expanded info?

  40. Anonymous10:01 AM

    I don't know if this bothered anyone else...but the different colored hyperlinks on the first page are really distracting! It kind of says to me, "here, look at these fancy places I trained," instead of "look at what i can do for you as my patient, i want you to be my patient." Plus, you have the potential to lose people. "Oh yeah, Harkness! Didn't so and so live by there/go there/train there/blah blah?" CLICK. 1 hour later. "What was I doing again?" It is easy enough to google Harkness or whatever.

    I agree that the main page needs to be more about the services Joe offers. The bios on the paces site seem more concise and patient oriented.

  41. Anonymous11:18 PM

    The real question is why is Joe joining a plastic surgery group? What was his thought process?

  42. Anonymous12:16 PM

    favorite line: "his lovely wife, Dr. Michelle Au"
    nice touch

    looks great, very neat and non-glitzy. perhaps a few less words on the front page?

  43. I really like it. It looks clean, professional, and informative.

  44. Anonymous11:39 PM

    "The real question is why is Joe joining a plastic surgery group? What was his thought process?"

    Hmmm...three guesses about his "thought process":

  45. Anonymous4:53 AM

    New home pages is great - nice and direct.

  46. Anonymous9:00 PM

    A word about patient testimonials: opinion is divided amongst ethicists, but there are ethical challenges in soliciting patient testimonials to consider.

    Various state medical societies sometimes have policy in this area which you may find helpful in considering how to do this.

  47. Anonymous8:10 PM

    Dentures, underclothing, contact lens, hairpins, and jewelry will be removed prior to surgery.

    I think contact lens should be plural, contact lenses

  48. Anonymous5:50 PM

    first of all i know this is off tangent but i just wanted to say how much I admire you. i read your blogs about when you were the medical school and it inspired me to start my own blog although mine is no where as interesting( i am also in medical school)..

    on to joe's website. i think it looks good, but what do i know, i am only a
    second year medic and until now i did not know oculoplasty meant( i swear i study hard). i could not help but notice his particularly long CV. i'm impressed( then again i'm in second year. everything remotely medical impresses me). Honestly though, i think from what i have seen on the site, he is the kind of doctor i would want to go to( or have as a consultant on the wards, he has a kind face). Also it seems like he has provided potential patients with adequate information on what to expect before and after surgery and if I've learnt anything so far, it's that patient always appreciate information and do not like to be kept in the dark.
    hope my rant was helpful

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