Focus: Communications - Site Visit -

The Berkshire-based charity DebRA supports people with the rare genetic skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa, which is commonly known as EB.

The only UK charity that undertakes medical research into the disease, DebRA relaunched its website last month with the aim of providing "even more information and advice for families affected by EB, and more news and event updates for its supporters".

Main pages

The homepage - and the site in general - unfortunately has an amateurish appearance that doesn't do justice to the information and good work that is detailed within. Too much white space on the majority of pages doesn't help the overall feel, although the main areas and their subsections are well signposted by a sidebar that can just about get away with having as many options as it does.

If visitors can get over the site's aesthetic problems, though, they can enjoy a wealth of useful and accessible information on the condition, DebRA's excellent work and a number of innovative fundraising events, including the charity's own golfing society.

Special features

The site does do a good job of providing resources. Publications containing information on how to cope with the different forms of EB are easily downloadable, and a well-chosen selection of personal stories (which could be more prominent) depicts the tragic, heart-warming and triumphant aspects of people living with - and dying from - the condition. Those who want to share their experiences of EB can register and participate in either of the site's two moderated forums, one of which is for children.

DebRA says:

"We wanted the website to be user-friendly, informative and relevant, from advice on how to handle a newborn baby with EB to how to raise money for our vital work. We believe we have achieved those aims."

Site Visit is by Tony Hodson

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