Over the past couple of years, weâ€™ve worked on several web design projects for CAMHS organisations (child and adolescent mental health services). CAMHS websites bring there own special set of challenges due to the young audience and the sensitive nature of the subject matter.
Our first was the Surrey CAMHS website, which was seen as groundbreaking and showed what could be done when a user centred design approach was adopted. We then designed and built two websites for Coventry and Warwickshire NHS – the Moodleton site for younger children and a mobile app based web development for young adults.
Just before Christmas, we started work on another CAMHS web development for a third NHS Partnership trust (more information soon), with a series of alignment meetings with the comms team and the practitioners.
These meetings help us shape the personas, information architecture and web site wireframes and are a valuable forum for brainstorming ideas for engaging the young audiences from the actual people who work with them to overcome their problems.
Content management systems
All of the web sites use a content management system (Drupal, Umbraco, WordPress, even SharePoint in Coventry and Warwickshireâ€™s case) to enable the comms teams to update the website without having to ask a web design agency.
Having a CMS website also means the practitioners can offer up to date advice and information to parents, carers and professionals as well as the young people quickly and efficiently.
The use of open source CMS software means that available budget can be used to develop interactive elements and even mobile website design rather than hefty software license fees.
As you can imagine, each NHS Partnership Trust has very strict brand guidelines, but itâ€™s often the case that their brand agency arenâ€™t digital experts, so it falls to us to extend their brand identity to work well online and for the young target audiences.
During our stakeholder meetings and requirements gathering, we often hear â€śwe donâ€™t want it to look like an NHS website â€“ it puts the young people offâ€ť. This is where creative design, carefully balanced with adherence to the brand guidelines comes into play. You can see above how the NHS brand is placed, but the focus is on the creative, characters and the sub brand.
Coming to CAMHS
Being referred to CAMHS is a difficult time for young people, their carers and families, and a little consideration of how they are actually feeling (and this is where the practitionerâ€™s input into the web site design is so valuable) can help them understand why they feel the way they do, how they can be helped and who will help them.
If you would like to chat about how S8080 could help you design your CAMHS website, call 01792 485566 and ask for me, Chris Cowell, or email email@example.com.