IPIHD (International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery) Access is an online social network built on Drupal 7 that brings together innovators, industry leaders, and global organizations to share best practices, facilitate e-learning, and encourage a culture of mutual support in the field of global healthcare.
The primary goal of IPIHD Access is to provide a platform to help increase global access to affordable and high-quality healthcare by helping innovators meet business goals to scale and replicate their business models. Global healthcare innovators have repeatedly identified the need to connect with other innovators and global stakeholders in a meaningful way. IPIHD Access was built to serve these stakeholders and facilitate dialogue and sharing of information.
While Facebook, LinkedIn, ResearchGate and other online networks were identified by IPIHD as useful resources to facilitate communication between innovators, industry leaders and organizations in global healthcare, IPIHD wanted to build a closed social network to narrow the focus of discussion, and provide a smaller pool of participants to boost the quality of exchanges and information.
Note: This site is no longer active.
We implemented several Facebook-like features for the IPIHD Access site:
- Private messages for communication between site users. Instead of sending the full text of a private message to the user, we only send a link to the message to encourage the user to log in to IPIHD Access
- An activity stream of user generated posts, including discussions, events, and documents, each of which allow for threaded comments
- Groups that users can join, helpful for focusing discussion on a particular topic
- Users can "Like" content posted to the activity stream
- A beautifully-formatted weekly email with a summary of the week's postings
In addition, there are pages with listings of all posted content that is easily filterable and searchable by users.
Search is an important feature for IPIHD Access. The main goal of the site is to bring people together, while the activity stream feature is useful to get a sense of what is happening currently, the site’s search functionality makes it easy to look across all site postings to find services and people relevant to the user.
Instead of using Drupal’s core search, we built two search pages, “Find People” and “Search Content”. “Search Content” does a keyword search on Node entities and provides search facets by content type, tags, and author. “Find People” is much more powerful. The "Find People" interaface show a user’s profile photo, their name, organization type, organization, and a link to quickly send the user a private message. The search facets on the right side allow the user to quickly narrow down the search results by organization type or name, a person’s name, countries that an organization operates in, and by users requesting or offering different services.
Advanced Salesforce integration with Drupal
The IPIHD site features extensive integration with Salesforce. Users in Drupal are synced with Salesforce Leads and Contacts, and users are managed primarily through the Salesforce interface. This allows for seamless integration between the IPIHD Access site and the broader IPHID network of contacts. User profiles are built out extensively in IPIHD Access, and profile data is also synchronized with Salesforce, which allows IPIHD admins to run advanced reporting on this data in Salesforce.
As part of development, DesignHammer's team contributed numerous bug fixes and features to the Drupal Salesforce Suite of modules.
The project was developed using agile methodology, so instead of building 20 features and shipping them at launch, we opted to have a planning, development and testing cycle that allowed us to build a few features at a time, gather feedback from users, then iterate and continue into the next cycle of development. There are many planned features for IPIHD Access – showing lists of recommended content based on a users’ likes, display a users’ tweets, follow a user, allowing for private groups functionality – but instead of assuming that the user base would want all of this, the focus is on bringing features online gradually, gathering feedback, and then asking users what they would like to see next. This has allowed us to build a site that much more closely matches what users actually want than what we as developers or product managers think they want.
Using colors already established in the IPIHD style guide, we created a theme that allowed the main content to be the focus of the activity stream. The white background comes forward as the surrounding elements with color fall back and are less distracting. Using the primary dark blue for the top banner helps the eye to establish an anchor point for the page and to provide strong branding.
To build out the design, we used Zen 5.x as our base-theme, along with the Sass/Compass CSS framework provided by Zen. A key component of the base-theme is Zen Grids, which is a set of Compass mix-ins used to help build complex layouts.