Category Archives: SmartSexBC

All things related to the development of our new website, SmartSexBC.

Lighthouses in a treacherous ocean of information

Even though remote diagnosis is usually impossible, the information and follow-on readings provided are lighthouses that guide us through the treacherous ocean of information out there. In particular, this service helps us find the good information and, in general, raises the level of awareness of STDs, which is very important for such a forum. I wish the service could be expanded to have a presence in similar forums and boards.

For 8 years outreach nurses from the BCCDC have been delivering much-needed and appreciated sexual health information to a number of online communities. Last year we decided to sample 100 of these clients on just one site to better understand what they like about the service and how we can make it better. This information is especially helpful as we think through some of the nurse-engagement functions on the new SmartSexBC website.

Results from this survey are being presented this week at the National STD Conference in Minneapolis. Take a look at our poster to what clients had to say…

One new & freshly pressed web strategy

After a fantastically productive and insightful Concept Jam in December, we have been hard at work mapping out a web strategy for our new website.  We’ve outlined the major components of the strategy that will be implemented in the first iteration, and we’d love to hear your initial reactions and thoughts – so please leave a comment or send us an email if you have any feedback!

BC Online Sexual Health Services: Website Strategy Summary

1. Core Content

We expect our website to minimally include the main topic areas outlined below (the actual title of each topic is still to be determined). We’ve started to map out more detailed topics for each of these areas, which are shown in the attached file OSHSP Website Content _ Jan 2011.

  • Disease Information (all about STIs, BC trends, etc.)
  • Getting tested (where to go, what to expect, etc.)
  • Healthy relationships & encounters (communication, negotiation, decision-making)
  • Risk and prevention (STI risks, reducing risk, etc.)
  • Situations and support (“I had unprotected sex…”, “I think I have an STI…”, “I’ve just been diagnosed…”, etc.)
  • Reference (glossary, A-Z list of topics)
  • Health provider information (handouts, blog, resources and links)

2. Discussion Platform

Extending from the excellent work already underway by our cyber-outreach program, we are planning to include a question feature, where users can submit questions (either publicly or privately) and comments for response from a sexual health nurse. The nurse will be able to answer questions, post discussion questions, and moderate comments. Content generated by the question feature will then populate a Q&A section that will be categorized and searchable. A live chat feature will enable private chats with nurses during “office hours” or regularly scheduled public chats on special topics of interest. Finally, a question widget featuring the most popular questions will be available for use on other websites, including those of our community partners.

3. STI Services in BC

This clickable map of BC will initially feature STI testing sites, and eventually include other sexual health resources and events (e.g., places to get free birth control). Clinics will be searchable based on location and hours.  The clinic finder will also be available as a widget and in a mobile device-friendly format.

It should look a little like this...

4. Social Media Presence

Last but not least, we recognize that an effective online presence must take into account the fact that the typical online user now spends a substantial amount of time using services like Facebook and Twitter. We envision first creating a Facebook page, using the same branding and cross-posting content from the new site’s discussion platform, blogs, etc. Thereafter we will pursue a Twitter presence, creating both general public and health care provider feeds.

 And beyond…

While we expect this strategy to form a strong foundation for the new website, we recognize that as time passes, as our capacity increases, and as needs change, it will be important to grow and invigorate the site with additional features. We look forward to what we think will be a powerful online sexual health resource for British Columbians and a hub for the other online services we’re building.

 We’ll continue to provide updates as we make progress toward our goal!

Brainstorming makes for tasty Jam

On December 2nd, we had a fantastic day of social media discussion and brainstorming at a full-day workshop called the Concept Jam. The workshop was led by Social Signal, a Vancouver-based company that we have partnered with to develop our online strategy and the blueprints for our new sexual health website. The Concept Jam brought together a high-energy group of 27 participants from the BC Centre for Disease Control, a youth clinic and various non-profit and community-based organizations.  The ultimate goal was to generate and prioritize ideas for online engagement to inform Social Signal’s recommendations for the new website and web presence. Along the way, the group learned about different ways that social media could be used in their own organizations, and began to explore possibilities for future collaboration.

Our fearless leaders - Rob Cottingham and Alexandra Samuel

 Some of the main themes and recommendations for the website to emerge from the day’s session included: 

  • Content that provides locally-relevant, Canadian and BC-specific information on testing, clinic locations, events, resources, disease trends and news stories and articles
  • Content that discusses healthy relationships and minimizing risk in a shame-free and sex-positive way
  • A “what to do” guide for someone who has had unprotected sex and is worried about STIs
  • User-submitted stories and user-generated content
  • Use of videos, live chat with a nurse and widgets (such as a clinic finder)

Hands up if you like social media!

All together, it was an engaging and productive day that saw the creation of many great ideas.  Over the next two weeks, the creative minds at Social Signal will build on these ideas to develop a strategy that outlines a series of options and a recommended final approach for the new website.  We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this strategy, so we’ll be posting more information (and maybe a poll) in the upcoming weeks.

Picking our favorite ideas

Online strategy…here we come!

It’s been an exciting week for the Online Services team: we kicked off the start of our online strategy development project.  We know we want to build a new and dynamic sexual health website for BC – one that provides relevant information, local resources, access to STI nurses, and (especially important) effectively uses social media to build community and encourage dialogue. 

 But how are we going to get there?

We’ve engaged Social Signal, a Vancouver-based company, to guide us through the process.  Over the next 2 months, Social Signal will be working with the Online Services team to develop a number of options and then decide on a final approach to engaging people online (a.k.a. an online strategy).  The foundation of this process is a concept development workshop, which will bring together internal (BCCDC) and external stakeholders to share ideas and brainstorm.

 We’re really excited to embark on this phase of the project.  And once we have our options developed, we’d love to get some feedback from you – so keep an eye out for future postings!


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