We knew 67 Bricks had the capability and the vision to match our own ambitions – Emma Vodden, Director of Publishing
- Reduced clicks to article pdf downloads from four to one
- Hugely improved customer data
- Renewals moved from paper-based to online account management
- Massive reduction in admin due to improved automation
Bone & Joint’s journals had been delivered on the Highwire and then Atypon platforms for many years. While those journal platforms did exactly what they said they would, the team at Bone & Joint felt they had ambitions for their platform that went beyond what they could easily achieve using these off-the-shelf solutions. Additionally, Bone & Joint had recently launched two new products, ‘OrthoSeach’ and ‘OrthoMedia’, which they wanted to bring into a combined space alongside their journal content.
Bone & Joint’s shopping list of developments for the stand-alone platform was starting to prevent them from bringing their content to their audience in the ways they needed to unlock as much value as possible. They were experts in their community but had no flexibility to respond to the needs of their users, or to integrate UX across their products to improve their experience. Their biggest challenge and opportunity was that they had no in-house technology team, meaning they would need to find a technology partner who could help them navigate such fundamental change, as well as potentially build the systems that were required to achieve it.
This led to Bone & Joint coming to 67 Bricks with the aim of building or customising a flexible, user-centred, performant and scalable platform. Most importantly, it needed to give them the flexibility to achieve their ambitious plans for the future.
Step One – Discovery
We began with a Discovery phase, where we identified the key user requirements and evaluated potential ‘off the shelf’ options against Bone & Joint’s requirements. This allowed Bone & Joint to sense-check what they were planning to do, especially with a view to the impact of open access in a small medical field that is not particularly well funded. Following this phase, it was proposed that instead of customising an existing solution, it would be more beneficial to build a custom platform, to enable the greatest flexibility and scalability for Bone & Joint’s future plans. The final part of this discovery phase was dedicated to creating technical architecture and a delivery roadmap.
We had to do something outside the box – Emma Vodden
Step Two – Iterative Building
Once discovery was complete, we moved quickly into building a minimum viable product, or ‘walking skeleton’, to test functionality and assumptions, and get feedback early in the build process. The team at Bone & Joint were then able to get their hands on the new site and provide detailed feedback based on their in-depth knowledge of their users. Editorial Board Members were also contacted to get their thoughts on the new platform, both engaging the community before launch and providing valuable additional insights.
Step Three – Forging Links
A crucial part of the success of the new platform was integrating it with existing and new technologies which provided additional functionality. For Bone & Joint, we were asked to ensure seamless integration with;
- Workbooks – CRM
- Foxycart – e-commerce to allow granular product sales (down to article level) and make selling in other currencies easier
- LibLynx – institutional authentication and COUNTER reporting
- Google ads – serving advertising on the journal platform
Emma Vodden, Director of Publishing, commented that these integrations, particularly regarding the CRM system, were ‘revolutionary in our entire workflow and the fact that we’ve achieved it in the timeframe that we have is just amazing.’
The platform was successfully launched in February 2023, and feedback has been very positive. The team have greater control over their content, with new functionality including the ability to quickly create new pages to support engagement campaigns such as ‘Reviewer of the month’ and ‘Featured authors’. Integration between the platform and the CRM is ‘transformational’ according to the Bone & Joint team, and users are commenting that their experience has significantly improved.
Both 67 Bricks and Bone & Joint are excited about the next phase in the partnership and the additional developments that are already underway.