Patient-Focused Design: Partners and Hero Digital Team Up to Launch Accessible Website

June 5, 2019

// By Melanie Graham //

Melanie Graham

When you consider accessibility at a hospital or clinic, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network in Boston, Massachusetts, is an excellent example. The buildings where patients receive treatment are easily accessed by people of all abilities, and the staff works hard to accommodate everyone who steps through Spaulding’s doors.

But accessibility is about more than just the physical world and buildings we use. It also applies to the virtual world around us, like websites and email.

So, when it came time to redesign its website, Spaulding worked alongside the team at Hero Digital to ensure the new site would reflect the accessibility of its clinics. Ultimately, they wanted to ensure any person, regardless of visual, auditory or physical impairments, could use the website successfully.

Sabina Leybold, senior associate for brand marketing, Hero Digital

Sabina Leybold, senior associate for brand marketing, Hero Digital

“With the Spaulding project, we have been investing in accessibility and designing with a patient-first and accessibility-first mindset from day one,” says Sabina Leybold, senior associate for brand marketing at Hero Digital. “It’s the type of project that needs to exist in this world, and it’s something we want to shout about from the rooftops.”

The new Spaulding site, which launched at the end of March, was a partnership between Hero Digital, Spaulding (part of the Partners Healthcare network), and Perkins School for the Blind (just outside Boston). The team designed the site with a patient-first mindset and tapped resources at Perkins to help provide accessibility and usability testing.

Leah Rosing, design lead and user experience designer and researcher, Hero Digital

Leah Rosing, design lead and user experience designer and researcher, Hero Digital

“We decided to become patient-first and patient-focused — that was the key strategy throughout this entire project,” says Leah Rosing, the project’s design lead and user experience designer and researcher.


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