Custom Development and Entitlement Power the Association’s New Go-To App Utility
The California Hospital Association (CHA) produces, and publishes guidebooks for hospital healthcare guidelines in the state of California. Their manuals serve as resources for hospitals on new policies and laws in the state of California.
Traditionally, these manuals (some of which are over 800 pages in volume) have been printed and delivered to their members via print. From the many conferences and engagements the organization has with its customer and user base, the CHA knew a digital alternative would be of great benefit to its members. To deliver that utility and resource, the organization looked to Twixl publisher as a solution to serve its content in a digital app for smartphones and tablets. As Twixl’s custom development partner in the US, Left Right Media was involved at the very beginning (even before contract signing) to talk with the organization about workflow and content production. After choosing the Twixl Platform, Left Right Media worked with the CHA on maximizing the app’s capabilities, serving responsive content for all devices, and more importantly developing user management automations that would ease bandwidth and increase efficiency in the organization – previously the organization was manually managing passwords, and subscribers in a spreadsheet.
After choosing the Twixl Platform, Left Right Media worked with the CHA on maximizing the app’s capabilities, serving responsive content for all devices, and more importantly developing user management automations that would ease bandwidth and increase efficiency in the organization.
We facilitated several consultations with CHA’s key stakeholders and our Creative Director. As a former publisher, and having experience with several app development projects, we were able to build a strategy based on Twixl’s out-of-the-box functionality and with an understanding
of the what could be possible with some custom development and integrations.
For apps to be successful, they need to be robust enough to provide a dependable utility and deliver on providing a great user experience. For CHA, this meant converting their print content into a resource that was responsive (Doctors and nurses would access the manuals on their tablets, and smartphone usage in the hospitals was also emerging), searchable, able to navigate reliably through its many links and cross-references, and also be conveniently accessible for download and print.
Next we had to think about access and user management. A custom entitlement solution was created to automate the delivery of emails to new users and to allow the team to more conveniently add users in bulk – which was necessary for the organizations seminars and events. Again we needed to think provide a utility that was user-friendly for its staff to manage.
Our team structure allowed us to work both application front-end design with the back-end custom development needs in parallel. Our design and development teams working collaboratively to unify the customer experience.
For CHA, we converted their print content into a digital resource that was responsive, searchable, able to navigate reliably through its many links and cross-references, while also being conveniently accessible for download and print.
Turning Print Files into Responsive Content
Traditionally the CHA’s manuals and resources were designed in InDesign and then sent to a printer for production or delivered in some cases as digital PDFs. To deliver on the customer utility and user experience goals, we first needed to look at converting these files into HTML. This would allow the development of one master file that would be responsive for all devices, An HTML article type would also allow us to develop custom functions.
Our software engineer created a custom script – tailored to the CHA manual’s content structure – to render the Indesign files into HTML. Of particular importance here was to also develop an algorithm that would create the necessary cross-references links that would allow the user to navigate back and forth through the content.
The developed script is now able to convert a 800-page document into full HTML compartmentalized into chapters, sections, and of course styled to preserve the original content’s style guide and font hierarchy.
Entitlement and User Management with a Custom Backend
A custom backend was developed around the way CHA works. The organization now has a digital fulfillment portal that houses their manuals, users, and allows for import of a .csv file with the publication’s SKU’s for its seminars and institutions were 100’s of users need to be added at once.
More importantly the new digital fulfilled portal automatically will send emails to new users to inform them about their purchase or resource access. Registration, login credentials, and password handling are now done automatically within the system – and users no longer have to wait for a support representative to contact them about access.
Creating a Powerful User Experience with Design and Technology
The Twixl platform works great for straightforward use cases, but to be truly successful custom development is often required to meet the user’s needs. Out-of-the-box, Twixl’s search functionality for HTML is limited to a output a grid of content cards that contain the search term. This solution would clearly not work for the CHA’s manuals – as users would want to search for a specific term and see all references of it, and want the ability to navigate directly to where the word is used in the chapter.
We then created our own search function that is able to search across chapters, across all content, give the user a list of all references for the search term, and then directly take them to the word (which we also highlight for ease of use) for any specific reference.
Navigation is also limited to Twixl’s native UI (namely a back button, a chapter reference, and a sidebar). Our software engineer also developed extra UI elements within the HTML elements that would give the user new functions like a previous button that would take them right back to the exact place they were in the content. A Top button (to take users to the top of the chapter), a next article button, and finally a Search button for accessing our custom-built search capability.
We created our own search function that is able to search across chapters, across all content, give the user a list of all references for the search term, and then directly take them to the word (which we also highlight for ease of use) for any specific reference.
Working closely and collaboratively with CHA’s director and manuals producer – we were able to successfully QA the 800 page resource manual for all the customizations and reference links.
The CHA Manuals app was launched at one of the annual CHA conference seminars. And has already been receiving great feedback about the added utility the app provides, as well as its simplicity and ease of use . The CHA team is already expecting that this will be the new primary way people access and reference the manual.
The backend system for digital fulfillment now also frees up resources for the organization, and gives the whole organization a new modern way to work. This project shows the power of a digital transformation for established organizations and associations.
With a new app and a custom back-end for digital fulfillment… This project show the power of a digital transformation for established organizations and associations.