Over my years here, I've attended hundreds of meetings to discuss potential web projects. And I can relate to our faculty and staff more than they may realize at how disappointing it is when conversations that begin with great visions and exciting ideas become derailed by talk of budgets and fee-for-service.

It’s during these conversations that the Internet Strategy Team is inevitably weighed against outside agencies or independent designers. The comparison is understandable — especially when the topics touch on fee-for-service models, hourly costs and proposals — but it's not completely accurate. And thinking of us as just another agency (or considering working with one) can sometimes interfere with building a collaborative relationship that enables all of us to leverage strategic opportunities.

We're Not an Agency. We Don't Play One on TV.

Working with an outside team may seem like an opportunity to gain greater strategic insights than an inside team offers; however, more often what I hear clients seeking is design freedom and a seemingly more flexible content management system.

While the Internet Strategy team prides itself on its use of best practices, we also operate with a broad range of solutions and ideas. Often, our most effective projects come when we leverage existing technologies to build web sites, and partner with vendors to meet goals that are unique to individual clients.

For example, we've partnered with outside consultants to create event registration and off-campus housing functionality. We've worked with internal teams to enable an interactive curriculum map and the core conduit.  And we’ve consulted with broad teams to integrate EPIC and SuccessFactors within hopkinsmedicine.org and across the health system.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Here's another thing no agency can deliver you (but that working with our team can): The continued growth in visitors to hopkinsmedicine.org. Our website is now the fourth largest hospital site in the world, and presents one of the easiest locations to reach and to grow an engaged audience. It’s a bit like building your business right off the highway rather than an inconvenient location where fewer people go.

Most sites that migrate to the platform quickly double in traffic. And the long-term growth hinges on what commitments are made to meeting audience needs. However, our ability to reach the right visitors — whether local, out of state, or international — is unmatched.

With this in mind, our team is continually researching and developing to balance our visitors' goals with the strategic objectives of our organization and to deliver the right content at the right time.

We bring data insights to design decisions in ways that outside agencies cannot offer. For example, we've learned effective graphic sizes and locations to promote JHUSA and JHMI, resulting in 3,000 additional calls over the last 10 months. Similarly, when we rebuilt the Johns Hopkins Bayview web site, we focused on messaging to raise awareness of the strength of the research on what many may not realize is one of America’s great academic medical campuses.

We're gaining additional data insights into visitor satisfaction, gaining deep understanding through our on-site survey tool and building on those findings with small and large-scale usability testing practices. An incremental overhaul of our on-site search is one example of the data’s ability to impact changes that improve everyone’s experience.

Our holistic approach is something that serves clients long after their project has ended. Like you, we are deeply invested in the interests of the organization and our audiences, and we're always looking for the best ways to position Hopkins for the future.

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