AMA Site Design

Organizational Organization

The American Medical Association is the largest organization of physicians in the United States. The organization manages large aspects of our health care system from CPT codes (how doctors get paid) to FREIDA (how medical students find internships) to lobbying for the healthcare industry. Unsurprisingly this had the effect of a site with so much, and such varied, content, that it was hard for users to find what they were looking for.


Freelance UX Lead
VSA Partners
American Medical Assn

The Challenge

Our primary goal was to make a site that was accessible in both design (from users on phones to users with disabilities) and content (let me find what I am looking for). We designed against several key metrics to ensure our success: Increase member registration, allow fast access to key content areas (continuing medical education, fellowship database, CPT information), create usable paths to deep-dive content (Meeting highlights from the LGBTQ Membership Group’s annual meeting), allow quick access to new content from JAMA & their newswire.

The Solution

This was a classic website redesign & re-org for a large-scale organization. It started with understanding both the business and the users. We then focused on creating a site structure, navigation, and taxonomy that supported all of the site content. As well as, creating a simple, yet flexible, design system that would work not only at launch, but five years in the future.


Design Research

Across several phases of the project, we worked with both stakeholders and users to deepen our understanding & validate our findings. The project began with a large group exercise where we discovered both the key goals of the different users of our site as well as the key content from each business owner (and where the key content fell on the flows of various user’s needs).

To validate our design in real-time we would often use design exercises (including card sorting and rapid prototyping) to ensure we were finding the best solutions. Nearing the end of the UX phase we conducted several usability studies in a variety of markets to test, improve and validate our designs.


Information Architecture

We worked closely with the content strategy team to digest and organize the wide variety of content. UX owned the navigation and sitemap, where Content Strategy owned the site-wide taxonomy. All available tools were used to help us get to our final sitemap (sticky notes, card sorts, stakeholder interviews, and an uncountable number of spreadsheet sitemap iterations).


Template & Modular Design System

A master set of 9 templates and nearly 100 individual modules were used to create the final AMA website. Each module was wireframes (across 3 break-points), and annotated. The final deliverable was a master functional requirements document that spanned over 100 pages.


Our goal was to get users directly to the content as fast as possible. This put the focus on navigation patterns that do a lot of heavy lifting including modules with exposed sub-navs, jump navigation for longer content pages, and support for multiple pathways.


Component Inventory

With a project as large as this, it is important to stay organized. We used a variety of tactics, including a large Functional Requirements Document, to ensure that we were accounting for every template, component, and page.


Final Design


Not designed by Sean Curran

My Role

As lead designer, I worked closely with the content strategy team, additional UX designers & visual design to ensure that the system was built to support the design.