Cancer Support Community

A Custom Platform for Post-Treatment Transition

The Challenge

Design a digital platform for the Cancer Transitions Program courses that is accessible by participants, facilitators, and location administrators with varying permissions per role.

Our Approach

We created a system of components emphasizing usability and accessibility to arm the Cancer Support Community with the ability to make content updates and build their program.

The Results

A portal composed of novel features, including individual autosaved notes for the users (cancer survivors) and custom access/permissions for the facilitators and admins based on courses, locations, and licenses.

An Opportunity for Impact

One of our goals as an agency is to partner with as many impactful organizations as possible. We see a unique opportunity to use our skills in design and development to empower these organizations with the products we build. This motivator is why we were thrilled to work with the Cancer Support Community. 

The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is the world’s largest professionally-led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide. They have dedicated themselves to ensuring that all cancer patients are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by the community.

In the past, the CSC held in-person meetings for its post-cancer patients. Our mission with this project was to help the CSC translate their in-person sessions into a digital experience. We wanted CSC to reach a broader community so that they could improve the lives of those impacted by cancer. 

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Converting the Analog to Digital

Before the online platform, the program was run in locations across the country using physical workbooks. Survivors would be able to read through the workbook’s material, take notes, and participate in group discussions.

After an extensive Discovery Phase with CSC and their respective stakeholders, we determined that there were two main challenges that needed to be addressed in the build.

The first was figuring out how to transform an in-person experience into a digital platform. Since the current patient materials were hard copies, we needed to build a content entry component for the users. 

The second would be determining the hierarchical access for the different platform users - administrators, editors, and end-users (cancer survivors). We needed to provide the facilitators with the ability to build out and edit site pages so that they could change the workbook’s content based on their specific needs. Furthermore, we had to ensure that end-users would only be able to access the material for the courses they are actively enrolled in.

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Crafting a Custom Technical Solution

We began our build using Drupal for the project’s framework and custom components.

A feature that was extremely important to CSC was making sure the users still had the ability to take notes within the digital workbooks. Our development team embedded a custom notetaking Drupal module within the portal so that the digital workbook would mimic the in-person experience. The survivor’s notes autosave as they type and are only accessible to them. Patients also have the option to print off their notes for reference later if they prefer a tangible copy. Furthermore, the notes feature allowed the platform’s content editors to place notes sections throughout the workbook’s pages with prompts of their choosing for the users.

The second module our team created for the portal managed the multiple permission levels needed for each role. It was necessary to have different accessibility for the administrators, editors, facilitators, and end-users. Thankfully, we were able to work with the CSC to understand these diverse roles and establish the appropriate permission levels.

When the portal build was finally complete, our team wrote step-by-step instructions for the CSC to deploy the portal without any issues. 

Seriously, I'm impressed with all we were able to accomplish, and we have also cultivated such a great, collaborative, honest working relationship. Excited to work more with them next year.

Chelsea Murphy

Senior Project Manager

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