‘Parent to Parent support’ is an internationally known concept, the Dutch site being inspired by an American initiative in Wisconsin. In the Netherlands, the foundation Parent2Parent (P2P) was founded by parents of children with disabilities. P2P is building a nationwide network, where parents can ask their questions to an experienced, trained Support Parent.
Design Effects constructed a straightforward and secure website, where Support Parents are being trained, and parents can post their questions regarding education, nursing, medical capabilities, etc. Both parents who have questions and parents who can offer support create accounts and (in a secure area) they are asked to complete their profile consisting of four sections; 1) personal details, 2) family details, 2) details of the child with a disability, and 4) areas of interests. Based on the profile, a parent who needs assistance is matched with a Support Parent.
Because the community wants quality matchings, instead of quantity, a moderator (a ’matcher’) checks the matching profiles and manually makes the match. Several filter options are available for him to broaden or narrow the match results.
From the first idea until the launch of the site, the project took more than 6 months. “Because functionality of building several profiles for parents and the workflows had to be invented from the scratch, we simultaneously needed to figure how we could implement this into BC. Having no programmers who can work with BC available in The Netherlands, we looked abroad and found a dedicated BC-developer from Great Britain. This construction was not ideal, mainly in the concept phase, because of language differences. We had to put in extra effort in the communication, but it worked out well: the number of parents who we hoped would subscribe was achieved in less than half the time we originally planned.” (Willem Plaisier, Design Effects)
For the complete subscribing process with all the required fields, the designers of Parent2Parent had to build several Webapps. This gave them the right flexibility in building the profiles and the filtering functionality. They also offer to site visitors the possibility to subscribe to the P2P-newsletter by filling out their e-mail address.
An advice for somebody who just started using BC from the designer of Parent2Parent: “ The only advice I can give anybody who starts with BC is: get yourself a building team – interaction designer, visual designer and a dedicated BC developer! If you want to build a site that fits the client's needs, BC isn’t a quick fix. But be honest, no system is... BC offers all that is necessary for an online business.”
Design Effects is a Rotterdam-based full service design firm, led by Willem Plaisier, BC Partner since 2011. Willem is specialized in crafting logos and design thinking for complex sites - government, social and health care sites, as well business to business sites.
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