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Posting Improvements on Health Forum

Inspire is the world’s largest online health community, patient engagement and real-world data platform. More than 10 million people each year come to Inspire to learn about their conditions and find peer support. Inspire also works with leading biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers to provide real-world evidence and insights about the patient experience, connect patients with life-advancing clinical trials and enable medical breakthroughs.

TL;DR Before and After

We updated the platform's Post Creation Form to create a smooth pathway for members to share their thoughts, questions and ideas.


Before: Messy, busy, outdated, awkward

Desktop modal

After: modern, intuitive, adaptable, confident

Mobile modal

Desktop modal

Roles & Responsibilities

Posting is a core behavior for the health of our website. Therefore, I advocated for posting to be prioritized on the roadmap. I argued that the act of creating content is one of the most important things we can encourage members to do. 

I was responsible for several facets of this project including:

  • Developed a plan with UX Research Manager to fill in our knowledge gaps 

  • Instrumental in defining our central problem statement 

  • Created all iterations of the wireframes and mock-ups

  • Socialized the project with product managers and stakeholders (including our CEO and VP of Community) to establish buy-in and appropriate expectations

  • Designed questions and implemented interviews with members of the Community Moderator team to learn more about how our membership interacted with the posting flow

  • Collaborated with the UX Research Manager and Product Manager 

Image by charlesdeluvio

Problem Statement

How can we get more user-generated content and user engagement on the platform?


The goal was to improve the user posting experience by decreasing friction, decreasing the abandonment rate, and increasing user-generated content.


There are two types of posts that were originally created to serve different purposes but ultimately were creating confusion. 

  1. Discussion Post:

    1. Singular topic within a specific community

    2. “Belonging to the community"

  2. Journal Post:

    1. Personal

    2. Shared across multiple communities

    3. “Belonging to the member” 


Our platform runs on user-generated content and engagement. We wanted to increase the amount of fresh content being contributed to the site on a regular basis by making the posting process as smooth and easy as possible. The idea was more content would lead to more engagement and longer user sessions.

We theorized that the psychology behind sharing vulnerable posts on social platforms was resulting in both low user participation and high post abandonment rate.

Users & Audience

The posting feature impacted all users of the platform: members, anonymous visitors, moderators, other employees and stakeholders (CEO, VP of Community).


Our users fall under several personas that we utilize to help focus our solutions. We wanted to make sure we created a flow that was accessible for our less tech-savvy audience. Inspire’s largest user base is women between the ages of 45-65. It was important during this project to focus on usability since this was a central feature of our product. 

low fi persona(2).png

Scopes & Constraints

This was a design led project which meant I advocated for these updates despite other engineering priorities. This made us focus on small changes that could be implemented over time instead of monopolizing engineering resources. I broke the work down into achievable phases, including a MVP (minimum viable product). Through the process we learned about the amount of “backend” work that would need to be completed before implementing a comprehensive solution. I also established future goals that would address larger structural issues. While the timeline was not a limiting factor, it was important to show progress to help with stakeholder expectations. 


We gathered any relevant posting behavior data and sharing behavior data from past research projects. We collaborated with our Community Moderation team, affectionately known as the Modsquad, as they moderated the site 20 hours/day, 7 days a week resulting in their intimate knowledge of our membership behavior.  I compiled user complaints and questions related to posting or sharing of content.


I created a competitive analysis of other forums with posting capabilities to find trends, successes, and areas of improvements.  While it can be helpful to be inspired by other platforms, I used this opportunity to establish what to avoid and what was not working. I am often inspired by how I would solve problems I see on other sites. 


I worked with the product manager to finalize the requirements for the project so we had a clear goal, solid idea of the constraints, and aligned our expectations.

Research: Survey and Interviews

Our research was broken into two parts: a survey and interviews. 


  • Survey: N=129. We chose this because we wanted to get a large amount of data quickly. 

  • Interviews: N=7. We also conducted interviews to dig in deeper around the psychology of posting on social media. 

What did we learn?

  • The posting form caused users to overlook crucial form fields due to their placement.

  • The barriers to posting are emotional and behavioral.

  • Members would post more often if they were prompted to.

  • Members wished there was more content to engage with on the site. 

    • Members reported being more likely to share if they saw more engagement on the site as a whole (fuller profiles, more posts and replies). Right now they are not confident their own content would be well received. 


While we let our brainstorming go without limits, we needed to bring our focus back to the current structure. We didn’t want to change the form too far away from what we had to avoid shock, as we know our core membership values consistency and process. We want to ease them into the new solutions we were developing.


In early 2022, we started the process of a branding overhaul. While this mostly impacted marketing materials, we used it as an opportunity to refresh the user interface guidelines. When making improvements to the posting process, we wanted to include all new branding designs.

Image by Kelly Sikkema


We launched the improvements to the current post flow, including, but not limited to:

  • Reordering the form

  • Auto formatting the “community” and “topic” choices

  • Moving the privacy choice dropdown

  • Changing the location of where the journals started and making discussion posts the only type that can be created from the home feed.

We launched the improvements to the current post flow, including, but not limited to:

  • Reordering the form

  • Auto formatting the “community” and “topic” choices

  • Moving the privacy choice dropdown

  • Changing the location of where the journals started and making discussion posts the only type that can be created from the home feed.

Click on image to expand

Part of launching the new post form was building out a comprehensive flow that included

  • mock ups for desktop

  • mobile

  • tablet

  • empty states

  • edge cases

This was delivered to the engineering team via product managers with annotated wire frames provided by me.


In hindsight, having clear upfront communication with the engineering team would have helped this project enormously. Our solution was to make journal posts only available through the member profile to increase the use of the discussion post type, with the intention of discussion posts taking on the functionality of both form types. This resulted in journals being hard to find for those who needed its unique functionality while waiting for the backend team to work through the problem of combining post types. In a more ideal world, what would have improved our outcomes would have been communicating the expected workload for all teams so we could have produced a more considerate roadmap for all pieces to move concurrently.

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