The Victorian Cancer Trials Link (VCTL) website, developed in 2009, is a searchable online portal that links people affected by cancer with relevant clinical trials in Victoria. Since establishment; traffic to the website has steadily increased. Recognising that the information available on the VCTL was not appropriate for a growing consumer audience, Cancer Council Victoria, with support from The Ian Potter Foundation, sought consumer advice about the content, usability and design of the website. Thanks to active consumer participation, a new version of the VCTL was launched in May 2017.
To describe consumer participation in the re-development of the VCTL website and monitor impact on preliminary user engagement outcomes.
Iterative feedback was collected from more than 70 individuals through an online user survey, group meetings and semi-structured interviews, conducted between September 2016 and May 2017. Based on this, new and existing features of the website were revised. Google Analytics was used to monitor user engagement with the VCTL before and after revisions were made.
Challenges identified through consumer feedback included (1) the complex language used on the VCTL website, (2) the unintuitive nature of the trial search function, and (3) the need to cater for both clinician and consumer audiences.
Following revisions made based on consumer advice, the proportion of new and returning users on the VCTL shifted from 3:2 in July 2016, to almost 1:1 in July 2017. The number of pages used in each session increased by almost 40% and the number of people (2609) engaging in a search for a clinical trial in July 2017 increased more than tenfold since July 2016.
Gathering consumer feedback during the re-development of the VCTL website has improved interaction with trial information for people affected by cancer and has supported more quality engagement with the website.