Over a thousand people living with MS have helped develop a new MS Society website.
The MS Society recruited a panel of 150 people from the MS community to share views on their new site. The panel provided feedback on everything from design and content, to ease-of-use. A further 1,000 people fed back online, and over 800 on the beta homepage.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: “We’re committed to improving the lives of our community in every way possible, and hear more and more how valuable digital tools are. We know that our content on the website is a particularly important source of support. It isn’t just a way to get reliable information about an unpredictable condition, it’s a way to bring people together and share experiences.”
The new website marks the start of the MS Society’s digital transformation, which aims to use digital technologies to achieve a better impact for people living with and affected by MS.
Members of the MS community have been involved throughout the site’s development. This included an exclusive two week testing period where they could review the site before anyone else saw it.
Rebecca is a photographer who was diagnosed with MS in 2015. She was involved in developing the website right from the start: “It’s been a real privilege to be given this opportunity and a bit of an eye opener! There’s so much to consider and it’s not just about how it looks, although that is still important. The most important thing for me is the personal element of the website – the forums and the stories.
“If you’re living with a chronic condition like MS, especially as people don’t really understand it, there are times you can feel very isolated. Particularly if you’ve just been diagnosed or are experiencing a relapse. Knowing there are people out there who know some of what you’re going through is more valuable than you can imagine.”
Ms Mitchell continued: “There are 100,000 people in the UK with MS and this website is our biggest and best way to reach them, particularly those individuals who are newly diagnosed and learning to live with the condition.
“Our ultimate goal is to improve the online experience of everyone in our community, and we think we’re getting there. This is the first step in a long journey, but from the feedback we’ve already received from people living with MS, it’s absolutely worth it.”