Focus: Communications - Site Visit

The Brain and Spine Foundation, which provides expert medical information to people affected by neurological disorders, relaunched its website last month.

The charity's previous site received 96,000 hits and supplied 2,000 downloadable booklets a month. The new site is expected to generate a 50 per cent increase in traffic to the foundation's helpline, which was launched in 1998 and is staffed by four healthcare professionals, who handle 3,000 enquiries a year.

Main pages

The homepage is busy but looks good. The colour-coded main menu panel is well-advised, as is the decision to fill the page with links to the foundation's latest news and events. The prominence of the helpline number is more than useful, enabling those who wish to contact the charity to do so as soon as they enter the site.

In the main the site is easily navigable, with giving opportunities and thorough sections of information and research well signposted. There's one caveat: the FAQ section is hidden away in the helpline area of the site - it would more usefully appear in 'information' or as a main menu option on its own.

Special features

The discussion forum allows people who have experience of neurological illness to share their thoughts and pass on advice about a range of conditions and issues. The site also features a page dedicated to Headstrong, the foundation's children's and young people's projects.

The Brain and Spine Foundation says:

"Neurological problems account for 8.4 per cent of the country's total health and social budget. Our website provides a tremendously cost-effective front-line service for those whose lives are disrupted by neurological disorders."

Site visit is by Tony Hodson

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