Case Study

Rotunda Hospital: A Case Study

By 6th October 2017 June 13th, 2018 No Comments


Rotunda Hospital is an old and established Irish medical institution. It is a renowned leader in European maternity research and care but also a very emotive and cherished brand with generations of family passing through their wards. Thousands of potentials patients and healthcare professionals would contact or look to Rotunda Hospital for expertise or information related to maternity care or women’s healthcare. In today’s digital landscape, an institution like Rotunda Hospital must evaluate how it’s patients and affiliated professionals would prefer to interact and communicate.

rotunda beforeChallenges & Opportunities

Create a contemporary and professional website which communicated the history and weight of the hospital but also simplified interface/navigation and optimised for mobile.
On auditing the website content and focus, we recognised a disproportionate attention to other stakeholders versus real users. Refocus website to appeal to primary user (mother to be and potential patients).

With their previous CMS and website the rotunda staff were unable to add and edit content. They had no control or access to the site. When they did have access, they did not have the skills or training to enact simple changes or add content to the site.

There was no access or consideration to SEO, analytics or website admin authority. As a result, they were unable to create a profile of their primary user and measure the effectiveness of their website. Unable to communicate latest news, research, awards or reports to the site. As a result, the site content was dated and not relevant. This was affecting the Rotunda Hospital brand.


Our Approach: 8 Step Process

We invest significantly in the early stages of our relationship, where much is to be covered on both sides, expectations set and bonds formed.  Every project we begin is planned and controlled during implementation to minimise project risks.


card sorting1. Discovery
Our clients tell us what they have learnt about their target audience, website visitors and their company strengths. We defined and identified the primary user (potential patient/new mother) and put them at the heart of our design.

We established a communications committee with the Rotunda team.
We start our website development process with wireframing & prototyping. We had to consider optimising the experience on mobiles and tablets. We hosted a card sorting exercise to help structure and prioritse pages and content. It also allowed us to begin the the infrastructual architecture of the site.


2. Prototypes

Wireframing/Prototyping. We want to have productive and insightful discussions with our clients about the content, structure of pages and calls to action. Prototypes help us achieve this with amazing clarity and effectiveness.
We suggest the structure of the content based on our experience of building websites. Together we create a skeleton of a website that will ensure we have everything covered right from the start.


3. Design

Today, it’s all about being good on the go. That’s why we had to consider optimising the experience on mobiles and tablets.

WordPress UI and Template Generator
Through some custom development, we enabled the client to make new pages quickly and pre-designed from within the WordPress CMS. We created a preselection of templates which could be rapidly built yet consistent with our design and layout. The implementation of an easy-to-use interface meant that staff could interact and edit pages intuitively and without any technical knowledge.

This means that the site administrators can create as many pages as they like without any need for extra support from us. Rotunda is now independent and able to produce new pages with flexibility, at no extra cost.







4. Migration of Data from the Old Website

The old website was jam-packed with articles dating back several years. Manually uploading it all would have taken us a long time. Working alongside the Rotunda, we mapped categories and created a custom script to import raw xml data into the new WordPress system.


Images Galleries and Photos
We opened an number of image accounts to enable Rotunda showcase the hospital in the most contemporary way and help promote their skills and services. We used hi-quality, hi-resolution images from a selection of professional image accounts that gave the site an authentic and custom look but at a fraction of the cost of commissioning in-house photography.


5. Security

We want to protect against standard and known hacker threats. We monitor and receive notifications of activity on Rotunda’s servers to ensure the site stays safe and healthy. We have a catalogue of the previous 30 back-up versions of the site available to us at anytime. Plus we installed additional security plugins.


6. SEO and Site Optimisation

Super-fast speed and load times are better for SEO rankings and users, we optimise our websites for the highest-possible speed-loading score.

SEO was vital here and the Rotunda has a large amount of content. To make sure the Rotunda very strong on-page SEO and ranks high in Google, we implemented the following:

  • Page speed optimisation
  • Semantic structure of important headings (h1, h2, h3) that include important keywords
  • WordPress SEO plugin installed and explained to the Rotunda administrators
  • Schema data
  • Mobile optimization
  • Redirects of broken links from their old website


7. Custom/Advanced Features

Translations Software: We implemented a translations plugin which allowed the Hospital to create alternate language pages (5 language in total). This will be used with a translation service provider going forward.

Knowledgebase Microsite: We created a ‘maternity information hub’ and FAQ sub-site where Rotunda could house and categorise all information heavy material and link though from main site.

rotunda after

8. Continuous Agile Improvements

Rotunda executives wanted to go with a soft launch approach. We agreed to assist them as they begin to use and become more familiar with the site and its capabilities. We are on hand to fix issues, offer further training, implement effective analytics and keep open channels so we can approach improvements to the site in an agile and fluid way.

We approached our design and website interface defining the primary user as the potential patient/new mother. Yet our design would not ponder on motherhood but focus on the professionalism of the Rotunda. We established a communications committee with the Rotunda team. The team consisted of Daire O’Flaherty and Mark Dempsey from WebSociety, Dr. Joanna Griffin (Director of Research and Academic Affairs, Rotunda Hospital), Cormac McAdam ( Research Officer, RCSI) and Meadhbh Aine O’Flaherty (Research and Development Coordinator, RCSI).

The committee’s decision was to communicate through the site that this was a hospital for women and they would be the focus, not babies or doctors. We will have a mobile first approach, simplify navigation and create tiers of accessibility to information.
We wanted to implement a CMS that could be used by Rotunda staff and included full training to select members.



  • Delivered on budget
  • Delivered on time
  • All functionality requested in brief delivered
  • Fully tested for cross-browser and cross-device compatibility
  • Happy and fully satisfied client