The Communication and Education Team of the Travelers’ Health Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received the CDC Director’s Award for Innovation.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director, CDC, bestowed the award in May in recognition of excellent work in the redesign of the Travelers’ Health website. The project encompassed a total site overhaul that culminated in May 2013 with the launch of a fresh, re-imagined version of the Travelers’ Health website.
ORAU served as lead redesign contractor for the Communication and Education team by redesigning the structure and display of the website.
“The ORAU team was instrumental in helping us create the new website. Their expertise and ability to solve problems made the whole project run very smoothly,” said Dr. Gary Brunette, chief, Travelers’ Health Branch.
The ORAU team gave a new face to the home page and reorganized the flow of information to newly designed destination pages and other pages. In addition, the ORAU team developed templates for customizing information and information displays across the entire website.
The Communication and Education team used the templates to tailor information appropriately. Nearly 250 destination pages were rewritten and redesigned. Complicated professional guidance was rewritten into plain language for a lay audience, focusing on actionable behaviors to prevent travel-related illness and injury. The pages provide simplified healthy behavior recommendations for each destination. Vaccine and medicine recommendations are now displayed in an easy-to-understand table at the top of each page, a change made in direct response to user feedback.
Another innovation was to customize information for two different audiences: travelers and clinicians. New components were added to the website to provide travelers and clinicians with portable, actionable content. A travel disease directory includes brief descriptions of illnesses, risk areas, and protective behaviors to help users understand why recommendations are made. Also, the system of developing and classifying travel health notices was revamped based on user feedback.
The Communication and Education team, under the direction of Kelly Holton, collaborated with ORAU health education specialists, communication specialists, and Web designers. ORAU staff developed website prototypes and facilitated user experience testing of the prototypes to validate that users understood the information and how to use the website. ORAU staff contributed knowledge and skills related to plain language writing; information analysis, organization, and presentation; and Web design, functionality, and user experience.
The redesigned Travelers’ Health website has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Its impact can be measured. The number of short (less than one minute) visits to the website has decreased; users now spend more time on the site, engaging with the content and finding needed information. Clinicians have expressed appreciation for having easy-to-read information available for their patients.
The Travelers’ Health website is ranked consistently in the top 10 most visited sites under CDC.gov. It is the primary trusted source of health information for international travelers to prevent travel-related illnesses. With its new design and revised content, this website goes one giant leap further to give audience-appropriate, clear and understandable information.