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Reinventing ADA.org

This year, the Association will kick off an initiative of strategic importance to organized dentistry: rebuilding ADA.org, the Association's flagship Web site and a key online destination for dentists and their patients.

The initiative comes in response to feedback from ADA members on how the site can be more useful to their practices and patients, and also from the need to stay more up to date in the ever-changing realm of online communications.

ADA.org initiative timeline

Phase 1—Research (2008-2009)

  • Focus group and survey research with ADA members and the public

Phase 2—Strategy and Architecture (2009)

  • Assessment of current resources
  • Development of strategic plan and site structure
  • Usability testing

Phase 3—Design (2009)

  • Development of features and functionality
  • Content and messaging development

Phase 4—Implementation and Launch (2010)

  • Migration of existing content
  • Testing
  • Launch of new site

"Our members have told us they expect ADA.org to provide information and tools they can leverage to manage and improve their practices, and educate their patients," said Laura A. Kosden, managing vice president and publisher, Publishing Division, which manages the Web site as well as ADA print publications.

"With that goal in mind," she added, "we are undertaking this renovation of the site based on solid research data and the collective expertise of ADA staff and a nationally known Web design firm."

The centerpieces of the new site will be improved navigation, enhanced usability for visitors from the profession and the public, and a focus on timely, relevant content. The new site will also offer a host of new features aimed at the needs of new and future members including multimedia content, social networking, community-building tools and other emerging technologies.

"The coming generation of dentists grew up in a world in which the Internet plays a significant role in their daily lives, and we want the new ADA.org to reflect this shift," noted Ms. Kosden. "Reaching out to this next generation while continuing to meet the needs of our current membership are key components of our Web strategy."

The research phase of the redesign plan assesses the needs of dentists and patients relative to the ADA Web site. Conducted by the ADA Survey Center in collaboration with Chicago-based Rabin Research Co., the research included focus groups with ADA members (in younger and older age categories) and the public. The focus groups were conducted at several locations across the country in the fall of 2008.

Based on the focus group findings, a quantitative survey was distributed to a sampling of 15,000 members last October and November via e-mail and postal mail. The results of the quantitative survey are being compiled.

In addition, a survey targeted to the general public is under way to gather information about how ADA.org can better serve the needs of dental patients. This online survey is being distributed through popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook and through allied organizations.

The design phase of the initiative, which begins in early 2009, will translate the research data into a comprehensive conceptual plan and design for the new site. This design will then be implemented through a state-of-the-art content management system that will substantially improve the Association's ability to deliver timely, relevant content to targeted audiences.

This phase of the initiative will be executed through a collaboration among the Association's Electronic Media department, ADA stakeholders and mStoner, a nationally-recognized Web design firm that specializes in nonprofit organizations.

The new and improved ADA.org is slated to launch in early 2010. Watch the ADA News for more details on the progress of this initiative.