Knowledge for Health
The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project disseminates evidence-based information and provides knowledge management tools to improve health service delivery in developing countries. Funded by USAID, K4Health is led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and leverages traditional and new media channels to engage its international audience.
In 2011, we were brought on board by SRA’s Touchstone Consulting Group and Ian Cairns of Watershed Strategy to assist in strategy and execution to improve K4Health’s web products. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a highly capable team of product owners and technologists at K4Health. Our ongoing, collaborative engagement with the project is focused on designing and developing a series of web-facing knowledge management products built in Drupal.
Strategy and Planning
Our first responsibility with K4Health was to help create an effective design system, development strategy, and thorough scope of work for what would be a significant redevelopment effort over the months to come. K4Health manages numerous websites to serve a broad range of institutional goals -- from communicating its brand and value proposition to the public, to providing knowledge management services to health workers in the field, to serving as a technology partner for affiliated NGOs seeking web development services. K4Health needed a strategy for consolidating its development practises, unifying its brand online, and maximizing efficiency for maintaining its various web properties.
We worked with K4Health, Touchstone, and Watershed to first clearly understand the current state of affairs for web technologies employed, then to organize a detailed project plan that included information architecture, technical architecture, and design direction. The resulting recommendation was organized around a Drupal 7 multi-site architecture, heavily utilizing a custom Drupal distribution to maximize efficiency for K4Health’s internal technical team.
New Voice: the Redesigned K4Health.org Blog
Recognizing that the full rollout of K4Health web improvements would require several months at least, and that K4Health needed a better way to engage its constituents immediately, our first line of business after project planning was to create a new blog to serve as the public voice for the project. We worked with K4Health to design and develop blog.k4health.org, a multi-author blog that provided a much-improved platform for communicating news and updates from K4Health and the industry as a whole. The standalone blog, which has since been migrated into the the newly launched k4health.org, was the first implementation of a newly established visual design direction for K4Health’s web assets. The blog also served as a springboard for numerous features that were later rolled into K4Health’s custom Drupal distribution.
Reducing Cost and Time to Production with Distributions
One significant piece of the overall strategy was to create a custom Drupal distribution as a rapid development and deployment tool for use by K4Health’s internal technical team, both for building internal websites, as well as for developing websites for other affiliated NGOs. The distribution relies heavily on functionality bundled into distinct features using the Features module, and provides a range of interchangeable options including a customizable home page, Solr-driven resource library, image galleries, project profiles, and more -- any of which can be selected during the install process.
Features of the distribution were identified and built after a discovery process based largely on K4Health’s rich knowledge of the affiliate organizations it has served over the years. The initial prototype is online at malariafreefuture.org, and the resulting work from the distribution was later published on drupal.org as OpenAid. Read more about OpenAid on our blog, or visit the project page at http://drupal.org/project/openaid.
We continue to work with K4Health on ongoing design and development projects, including the recently-launched redesign of their primary website, k4health.org. Learn more about the organization, its work, and the products it manages at http://www.k4health.org.