May 1, 2022
The much-anticipated launch of the new facs.org is here. The website debuted on May 1, providing a modern visual design, enhanced capabilities, intuitive navigation, and more intelligent search results.
The new site has been in the making for more than a year and is grounded in extensive research to ensure that it better meets the needs of users.
“We talked with our members and interviewed website architects and other design experts to combine best practices and technologies so that our users would have a positive and productive experience every time they access the site,” explained Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS. “We knew that our old website was dated, and it had become nearly impossible to find things via the search function. The new facs.org is a dramatic improvement over the previous site, and we are confident that surgeons, other medical professionals, and patients—no matter what device or browser they use—will find the site intuitive and easy to navigate.”
The website premiere also marks the official launch of the new College branding, which uses colors and design elements to build upon the ACS legacy of skill and trust, while also providing a consistent, unified style for all ACS programs. This unification of College programs integrates with other efforts to advance surgery, expand membership, and train a new generation of leaders.
“Having this fresh new website with a new logo and embarking on a strategic analysis of our programs to meet the demands of our members and patients in the next few years show that the College is moving forward by recognizing the importance of our young surgeon members to the future of all surgical specialties represented in the College,” said Anton N. Sidawy, MD, FACS, Chair of the ACS Board of Regents, and professor and Lewis B. Saltz Chair, department of surgery, George Washington University, Washington, DC. “We have so much to offer, and the website will help showcase it to our various audiences around the country and around the world.”
Anyone familiar with the old website will notice the change immediately. Instead of a content-heavy site, with extensive and sometimes confusing navigation structures, the new site offers dynamic images, sharper headlines, clearer language, and an opportunity to travel through the pages based on their own user journey (see Figure 1). For example, a nonmember participant in a quality program may have different needs than a surgeon member, so their web journeys might differ.
ACS members themselves often have different goals when accessing the site.
“The places I frequent most relate to the Resident and Associate Society (RAS) of the College, job postings, and Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program® materials,” explained RAS Chair Yewande Alimi, MD, MHS, minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC. “The new website is more exciting, intuitive, and personalized to align with my status as an Associate Fellow and recent resident.”
For ACS Secretary Tyler G. Hughes, MD, FACS, clinical professor of surgery and director of medical education, Kansas University School of Medicine, Salina, visits to facs.org tend to focus on Board of Regents pages and news features. “I’m really excited that this is not going to be a static site. When I visit a website, I want to see different content—what’s new, what I need to know, how I can help my colleagues,” said Dr. Hughes.
Users of the previous version of facs.org often expressed frustration at the site’s search functionality because it produced too many results that weren’t quite what they wanted. The new search function delivers more relevant results and will continue to improve, using data to refine search results and deliver what the user wants to find.
“You are in control of the personalization and will contribute to your own experience. That is very appealing to me,” said Dr. Hughes.
In addition, visitors who would like to explore the site via more extensive navigation can click on the “hamburger” menu at the top right of the screen (see Figure 2) to uncover menus such as About Us, Advocacy & Policy, Quality Programs, For Medical Professionals, and For Patients. Through this menu, they also can access the ACS Store, donate to the ACS Foundation, find SurgeonsPAC, and view the job board. A footer navigation (see Figure 3) at the bottom of each page also provides a menu of options.
Many different pathways are available to match different user styles, and the site is responsive for various browsers and screen sizes, especially mobile devices.
The extensive research conducted on viewing habits and preferences indicated that users prefer to scroll through content rather than constantly click to new pages. They also are more likely to use a mobile device today than only a few years ago—a trend confirmed with data from the old facs.org.
It’s important to note that personalization features will be enhanced in stages over the coming months.
The site will account for the user’s geographic location, and the search function will learn more about users each time they view the site, creating more powerful and relevant search results.
For example, Kenneth W. Sharp, MD, FACS, a member of the ACS Board of Regents and professor of surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, uses the magnifying glass (see Figure 4) to search for local chapters. If he allows the site to use geolocation, the search function will display the Tennessee Chapter at the top of the results. In addition, if he frequently uses the same set of search terms, those terms will autopopulate in future visits to the search drop-down menu.
“This site is much more contemporary and intuitive. I find it to be easier and more efficient to use,” said Dr. Sharp. “I especially like the video capabilities and having content suggested for me based on my searches.”
As the personalization features build and a member’s record includes more detail, a logged-in member could expect to see content related to specialty, practice setting, career stage, and areas of interest.
In the coming months, the single sign-on also will be improved so that members can seamlessly log in to their online Journal of the American College of Surgeons subscription through facs.org.
As the new facs.org matures and more visitors use it, data analytics will help prompt additional changes for an even more customized and user-friendly experience.
“We’re using business intelligence to determine what kind of experience we want to provide to the user. In simple terms, we want people to get to the site and feel they have found what they need—plus more,” Dr. Turner added. “I hope you share my enthusiasm for these new initiatives as we build on our distinguished legacy and work together to advance the mission of the American College of Surgeons.”
If you haven’t explored the new website yet, visit facs.org today and don’t forget to log in to your ACS account. Logging in will help personalize your user and search experience in the future. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. A video tutorial also is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPQzHtEF_uQ.