Society for Endocrinology - a world-leading authority on hormones


Issue 121 Autumn 2016

Endocrinologist > Autumn 2016 > Society News


You and Your Hormones: driving cyber traffic towards the facts

Anna Mitchell | Society News



If you search Google for the word ‘hormone’, it currently returns over 92 million hits. This astonishing fact goes to show that the internet is absolutely full of information about hormones and endocrine conditions. Some of this information is high quality and reliable, and some of it is not.

The Society for Endocrinology’s ‘You and Your Hormones’ website began its ambitious development in 2009, under the direction of the Society’s Public Engagement Committee. The aim of this project was to produce an accurate, comprehensive online resource for hormone information, which could act as a focus for the rest of the Society’s public engagement activities.

A screenshot of the new You and Your Hormones website

A screenshot of the new You and Your Hormones website

To get the website up and running, a vast amount of work was needed to develop content. In total, over 140 endocrinologists were involved in writing, editing and checking around 150 articles. Since its launch in 2011, the website has attracted a huge volume of traffic – over 25,000 users were accessing the site each month in 2015. Most visitors arrive at the site via search engines, giving You and Your Hormones a high search engine ranking, which in turn attracts more visitors. Anecdotal feedback from users regarding site content has been exceptionally positive.

 

CHANGING NEEDS

When the website was developed, most people were accessing the internet from desktop or laptop computers. In 2015, an Ofcom survey showed that two-thirds of people in the UK owned smartphones, and this number continues to rise. Nearly 60% of users are now accessing the website using smartphones and tablets but are not getting a mobile-optimised view, highlighting the need for You and Your Hormones to evolve.

The Public Engagement Committee felt that, in addition to offering a ‘mobile-friendly’ site, the look and feel of the website generally needed updating, the navigation tools could be more user-friendly, and the site needed to expand to include resources designed specifically for students and teachers.

To guide this well-deserved revamp, a working party was formed, made up of a few enthusiastic (and IT savvy) Public Engagement Committee members. This group discussed development of new content, ways of improving site navigation, and the need to be distinct from, and yet related to, the Society’s brand, to reassure users that the content was from a trusted source. As a result, a fresh logo and website design have been commissioned, and new educational resources are currently being developed to engage teachers and students. The site will be rebuilt from autumn 2016 onwards, and will hopefully be re-launched in the new year.

 

EXTENDING THE SITE’S REACH

The renewed site will be visually appealing and easy to navigate, allowing users to quickly access the huge amounts of valuable expert information available. We encourage Society members to use the site and to refer people to it. These could include patients wanting basic information about their endocrine condition, members of the public interested in hormones, clinical and basic science researchers doing endocrine-related projects, school children learning about hormones in biology lessons and teachers looking for resources for their students. We hope that Society members will help us to achieve our aim of making You and Your Hormones the first port of call for anyone looking for authoritative information about all things endocrine.

If you have teaching resources or activities that you think could be included on You and Your Hormones, please contact joanne.stubbs@endocrinology.org.

Anna Mitchell

Academic Clinical Fellow, Newcastle University

Twitter: @Anna_L_Mitchell




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