New Direction, New Look, New Value

AAFP News Now Redesign Reflects Even Greater Focus on You

July 13, 2011 05:25 pm AAFP News Staff

Notice something different about this Web page? What about the home page for AAFP News Now? The differences you likely have spotted represent the culmination of a project that has been under way for quite some time: a redesign of the ANN Web pages.

[Screenshot of past AAFP News Now design]

Here is an example of how the story pages in AAFP News Now looked before the redesign.

Why the change in the look of AAFP News Now? Well, the publication is six years old now, and the editors felt it was time to refresh the look while also adding more value for you, the members of the Academy. In fact, it was your comments that launched us on the path to redesigning ANN.

Every year since ANN was born, the editorial staff has reached out to you with a reader survey that asked your opinion on how we are doing. Although most of you seemed to like ANN -- in fact, 90 percent of respondents to the 2010 reader survey had a positive perception of the publication -- you also offered suggestions on how we could improve ANN to better suit your needs.

We took many of those suggestions to heart when planning the redesign. For example, many of you told us that, as busy physicians, it was hard for you to find time to read the articles. In response, many articles now will include a highlights box that you can quickly scan to see the pertinent points of the article. You can decide if you want to read further or not, but at least you get the critical information you need about what is happening at the AAFP and in the larger world of family medicine.

Another change you'll notice in the redesign is the switch to a two-column format. Aside from simply making the pages easier to read, changing to this format opens up a number of possibilities for us to better connect with you as readers, add member value and -- we hope -- increase interest in articles. We now will be able to use more and larger graphic elements, something you've told us you want. In addition, we will be able to use more charts and graphs, and we will be exploring ways to make these graphic elements more interactive, which is something else you've said you want.

Story Highlights

  • The editors of AAFP News Now have redesigned the Web pages of ANN based on your suggestions and a new editorial direction.
  • A primary purpose of the redesign is to build member value and member engagement in news about the AAFP and family medicine.
  • We welcome any feedback on the redesign you would like to offer.

A Change in Direction

But the changes go deeper than that. Many of you may remember we told you last November that the AAFP was undergoing an audit to see if there were areas of the Academy where we could improve service to AAFP members. One of the suggested areas for improvement identified in that audit -- as well as a separate audit of AAFP communication efforts -- was that we needed to do a better job of engaging our members.

With that directive, ANN editors turned a more judicious eye on what you were reading. You told us that you wanted to hear more about the experiences of your colleagues and how they overcome the problems all of you face on a daily basis. So, going forward, you'll find fewer stories that take a 40,000-foot view of health policy, for example, and more stories about how health policies are affecting family physicians on the front lines and how those family docs are coping with changes.

Adding Member Value

We're also trying to do a better job of explaining the AAFP's actions and the reasoning behind those actions. We hope that having this background helps you better understand how the AAFP is working on your behalf and adds to the value of your membership.

However, we know you may want to provide feedback to AAFP leaders, so in September, we added our first truly interactive feature when we launched the commenting field on every ANN article.

Incorporating the technology that gives you the ability to comment as you read about the Academy's actions and positions means you can provide instant feedback. And Academy leaders have been listening to this feedback and acting on it.

The commenting field also gives you the ability to ask questions about the AAFP's programs and products as they launch, and staff members overseeing those programs and products now can answer your questions in an open forum. The commenting field has proven to be a very successful feature. To date, we've logged nearly 900 comments.

The success of the commenting field gave us a push to look at offering even more interactive features to draw members to the pages of ANN. Thus, we have added information in the left-hand column of every ANN page that tells you what your colleagues are reading and what they are commenting on. Giving you this heads-up ensures that you see -- in real time -- the issues that are important to family physicians and gives you the ability to join the conversation.

In the Future

There are more changes on the horizon, too. For example, we are planning on a modified and more frequently updated editorial section that will allow members to interact with AAFP leaders more often and check in on what those leaders are doing for members on a regular basis.

In addition, the weekly e-mail roundup of ANN stories members receive also will be redesigned to increase member engagement and better reflect the new look of ANN. We also plan to add information pages that allow you to see updates from the various regulatory agencies, including warnings, modifications and withdrawals of medications and medical equipment that could affect your day-to-day practice.

A calendar page that will allow you to quickly scan for Academy and other pertinent events also is in the works, and finally, we are adding a "media mentions" page, so you can see the print, broadcast and online resources your officers and other Academy spokespeople are reaching out to and communicating with regarding family medicine and your Academy.

We hope you will like the change in editorial direction and the new look for ANN. We gave it a lot of thought, looked at a lot of online publications for best practices, and solicited feedback from a lot of members.

However, we are always aware that you, the members, are the Academy, and if your needs are not being met, we're not doing our jobs properly. So, please give us your feedback. What do you like? What don't you like? What needs to be changed? Only if we hear from you can we make the changes necessary to ensure AAFP News Now reflects you, the member, and meets your needs.