he American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for physician assistants (PAs).  Over 108,500 certified Physician’s Assistants nationwide are represented by AAPA to ensure professional development and personal excellence. WDG partnered with AAPA to give the organization a revitalized online presence and drive membership with expanded branding efforts and Apach Solr integration.

Project Mission

When AAPA partnered with WDG, they sought to redesign their website with a modern aesthetic to help increase membership. They also sought to promote a stronger brand experience through a clean and balanced design.

What We Did

WDG worked closely with AAPA to best promote their brand through a seamless user experience and integrated advertisement capabilities, as well as empower their web team with a state-of-the-art content management system through WordPress.

Designing with Brand in Mind

A key challenge for the WDG Strategy team was to promote membership incentives through the new site design while maintaining the integrity of the association’s brand. Our team tackled the challenge by using wireframes to create flexible modules that could be customized based on changing content needs. WDG’s design team used a variety of image sliders, button stylings, and color explorations to capture and maintain the viewer’s attention through an interactive design, creating a cleaner and more user-friendly layout.

American Academy of Physician Assistants brand guidelines

Ensuring Brand Consistency

The AAPA team worked closely with WDG throughout the project to to maintain a cohesive brand voice from their multiple platforms and business tiers. By working within the extant AAPA brand standards, WDG reinvigorated AAPA’s approach to image and asset usage by creating a specific photographic standard usage policy and editorial guideline that built on and expanded the visual brand.

American Academy of Physician Assistants WordPress homepage mockup

Creating a Powerful User Experience

With a target audience of mobile-savvy Physicians Assistants across a variety of medical fields, user persona research identified mobile-responsive design as a required feature. WDG designers created mobile-friendly designs supported across all three break points of desktop, mobile, and tablet to ensure a seamless user experience.

Process Improvements with WordPress Flexible Layouts

The original site utilized an outdated CMS and needed to be changed to an admin-friendly WordPress site.  A key aim for users was to be able to improve content management processes. The use of flexible layouts created easily updateable pages for administrators, and was far more robust and modular than the previous CMS.

The WDG development team also built reusable components and created custom middleware as a conduit between AAPA and other services. Apache Solr, an open source enterprise search platform built on Apache Lucene, was incorporated into the site structure as well. Telium was simultaneously a key component, as the custom tag manager integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics. Single sign-on security was used to keep valuable user information protected, as well.

American Academy of Physician Assistants web design details

Integrating Advertisement Capabilities

Another key component of the site redesign was to integrate open ad post elements throughout the site. The ad post element designed by WDG allows multiple clients to use the ad spots interchangeably. These posts were designed to be integrated with other content on the site and allow for campaign tracking through Google Analytics. This even allows AAPA to track call outs and tag layouts.

American Academy of Physician Assistants interactive design elements

Tracking Success

In order to track membership retention and growth, a custom flexible layout map was created by WDG. Separate states could be color-coded based on information included in a connected spreadsheet on the administrative side, controlling the data either automatically or manually. Customizable colors, data management, and mobile-responsive design helped create this important feature. A separate job source feed was also integrated, as well as a document management system for tracking products linked out from the URL.

American Academy of Physician Assistants interactive map functionality

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