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Case Study: HHS Website Design

HHS website case study website mockup

HHS is a forerunner in the operational service support industry, and as Gladiators, our core objective for this client was to increase its user engagement through design. Our strategies resulted in targeted victories through streamlined user journeys, seamless sales contacts, and beautiful brand implementation. The new website easily guides users through the service offerings for each industry and allows them to connect with the HHS sales team while prioritizing a mobile-friendly experience.


434% more contact form completions

Increased engagement metrics across the board

  • Homepage bounce rate – 42.7% improvement
  • Time on site – 29.3% increase
  • Pages per session – 34.7% increase

More search traffic and stronger SEO rankings

  • 369% more organic search impressions
  • 193% more organic search clicks
  • Improved search ranking on 14 out of 18 strategic key terms, including ranking for 8 terms they had not ranked for previously

Streamline User Journeys

Performance assessment is key in Gladiator’s approach to user experience. We began by evaluating the HHS website’s engagement metrics. The strategy was to gain an increase in user engagement and, eventually, conversions by creating more access points for the content beyond the main navigation. 

The new path resulted in fewer clicks by the user and allowed them to reach relevant content faster than the previous design. This led to increased engagement with users staying on the site an average of 22 seconds longer with the new design.

Improving the User Journey

The original user journey was very linear. There was no way for the user to skip ahead. Even though the design insinuated that there was more information about culinary and other services, the user could only access that information using one specific path. The navigation was minimal, so the user had to rely on buttons and links buried in graphics.

Flow chart of the original website user journey
Flow chart of the original user journey

The new user journey focused on presenting relevant information, multiple opportunities to dive into HHS’ vast service offering, and asking users to convert at the second level of information instead of the third. 

Flow chart of the new website user journey
The new user journey

We streamlined the user’s journey by: 

  • Diversifying the navigation options
  • Optimizing the homepage
  • Redesigning the footer 

Diversifying the Navigation Options

Moving the sidebar to the right side of the screen allowed for secondary navigation for information heavy sections. Adding a photo-based related pages widget to the bottom of every page created more opportunities for visitors to find information pertaining to their needs.

Old website navigation design
Old design showing depth of information with sidebar nav that could not be accessed via the limited header navigation
New website navigation design
The new navigation

Homepage Optimization

The original header content on the homepage was beautiful, but it was outside of the typical user scanning zone. Gladiator was able to fix this issue with a video hero section. We optimized the industry section by adding the service structure to the rollover, giving the user the opportunity to learn about service details without having to click through the industry landing pages. 

We extended the homepage design to feature a proposal CTA, benefits of choosing HHS, testimonials (which Gladiator helped to solicit), and a highly visual representation of their various types of blog posts. These optimizations decreased the bounce rate on the homepage from an average of 62.5% to an average of just 35.8% with the new design. That’s a 42.7% improvement

Old website homepage design versus new website homepage design

Footer Adjustments

Originally, the contact form was located in the footer, this tactic is thought to allow the user to “convert at any time,” but, with a site this large, it just becomes a decoration. We designed the footer to act as a simplified sitemap for quick access to high priority links and topics. The forms were optimized and placed on industry pages to create more strategic paths to conversion. 

Seamless Sales Contacts

During the kick-off meetings, we learned that HHS was having issues with sorting leads from employee messages and other form submissions. This issue was slowing down the sales process. Our user experience design aimed to utilize the forms more strategically by implementing landing page methodology and adding custom fields to help users self-identify.

Healthcare services landing page form
Healthcare services landing page form

HHS’ offerings varied by division, so implementing the landing page methodology gave us a streamlined formula for telling the story and collecting leads on the same page to ensure that customers and leads were routed directly to the correct division contact. The Hubspot integrated contact forms featured service line checkboxes allowing users to customize their sales communication and giving HHS highly qualified leads.

Industry landing pages before and after the website redesign
Side-by-side of the original site and the new industry landing page design, including forms for on-page conversions

The original contact page had a form with no field to help with routing of the inquiries. It was a major priority to give each type of user a specific path on the contact page that ultimately led to timely responses. The new contact page gives Partners, Team Members, Job Candidates, and Press Representatives a chance to choose their path to access the correct form.

New contact page design
New contact page design

Our changes resulted in an increase in conversions. Contact form completion rates increased 434% on the new site compared to the same time period the year before. The use of multiple forms across the site for different industries and requests has also streamlined the structure of how HHS qualifies leads through the website.

“It really has streamlined the process and has helped our audience get to where they need to go more efficiently. It also provides us with the ability to pull out the marketing qualified leads and get them to the appropriate department without having to sift through endless spreadsheets of contact information. This has resulted in smoother transitions of leads to the sales team which has allowed our company to take those qualified leads and turn them into proposals and customers.”

Shannon Steck, HHS Marketing Communications Specialist

Storytelling to Drive Engagement 

Storytelling is crucial to engaging your audience. We strategically implemented headlines, text chunking, and graphics to guide the user through the website. Icons at the top of the web page, such as wheelchairs, call out the theme of each service page. 

The new design system leads the user through each set of services by industry and allows them to follow relevant information paths. Engagement metrics for organic search traffic have shown great improvement with the new site. Comparing the first ten months after the site launched to the same time period the year before, pages per session increased 33.3%  and contact form submissions from organic traffic increased 429.6%

Industry landing pages present service lines available for each industry
Landing pages prominently present service lines available for each industry
Service line pages feature icons and lifestyle photography to capture the user's attention
Service lines feature icons and lifestyle photography to capture the user’s attention
Service line page layout features internal links to explore all options available to their industry
Service Line pages also feature internal links to encourage the user to explore all options available to their industry

Thought Leadership

HHS had an impressive and rigorous thought leadership strategy that was not well represented on the old site as they were managing multiple blogs through various platforms. The new site included HubSpot integration to keep all their blogs in one place for quick access to analytics and faster content creation. With the addition of the YOAST SEO plugin, blog posts are now showing up in their Google Analytics account. 

“Content posting is extremely easy now. Hubspot does everything for us. It has taken away a lot of work and has made the process seamless. Whether it’s setting up the blog, sending an email, or scheduling out social media posts, it all happens in one place.”

Shannon Steck, HHS Marketing Communications Specialist

One of their blogs, The Importance of Communication in Healthcare, became the second most visited page on the site after the homepage.


We created a successful SEO strategy and helped HHS monitor results and continue to make tweaks after the site launched.


Gladiator enhanced the site’s performance and mobile optimization through the use of appropriate image sizes, responsive design, and clean code. We also refreshed the URL structures, managed the redirects, and kept as many original URLs as possible. 

Images were updated with descriptive file names for better searchability results. Our team also renewed the title tags as well as the meta descriptions and added CTAs. The internal linkings were increased by using the same keywords as links throughout the site and implemented a tracking process to view the results. 


These steps resulted in a 369% increase in organic search impressions and a 193% increase in clicks. These strategies improved HHS’ search ranking on 14 out of 18 strategic key terms, including allowing them to rank for 8 terms they had not ranked for previously. 

Beautiful Brand Implementation

Gladiator wanted to celebrate the HHS brand with a visual evolution. We transitioned the ornate use of color gradients and bubbles to a design system that used color for wayfinding. Gladiator worked with their in-house design team to develop an iconography system that adds visual interest while quickly guiding the user through their service offering. 

We added people and action-oriented photos to the second and third level pages. Visual communication was achieved by using layouts and graphics that adhere to the brand guidelines while supporting the context of the content.

Design and Development Process

The project was broken down into three key phases: discovery, design, and development

The discovery phase started with a kick-off meeting, followed by visual competitive research, user experience research, and defining key areas of improvement. The design phase included homepage concepts, key landing pages, and other page templates. During the final development phase, we focused on theme development, WordPress set up, staging, review, and site launch. 

Developer Michelle McGinnis created a custom WordPress theme to implement the approved designs. The new theme was more responsive than the previous design, making the transition to mobile viewing effortless. 

She also built a customized control panel to allow for simpler site maintenance over time, including updates to menus, headers & footers, sidebars, custom content areas, and forms. This adjustment has been a huge benefit to the HHS team, who are now able to manage their content directly in the back-end without having to call a developer for every change.

“The backend is 100% easier to navigate, edit, and update. The work that Michelle did on it is absolutely fantastic. Previously, if I wanted to add an industry or service line page I would have to send it to the developer. Now, I have the ability to make large edits myself in a matter of minutes, it’s that user-friendly.”

Shannon Steck, HHS Marketing Communications Specialist

Overall Achievements

The new site is appealing and functional at every touchpoint. Our strategic improvements lowered bounce rates, increased search traffic, increased leads, and created an award-winning site for HHS. 

The new HHS site won a design award in the 2019 Summit International Awards, giving HHS global recognition. It was also an Arcturus Winner at the 2020 Vega Digital Awards and was recognized by the Graphic Design USA 2019 Health & Wellness Awards.

But the most satisfying result is the client’s happiness. Our contact Shannon said,

“The entire process from start to finish was enjoyable. Gladiator really listened to what we needed as a whole and then brought that to life through the design and flow of the website. It’s so much easier to navigate now and the layout of the content makes sense. It’s less confusing and as a result people are staying on the page longer, they’re finding the information they need, and they’re getting in contact with us. The new redesign has enabled us to create a much stronger customer journey that results in more marketing qualified leads.

Additionally, the website has been able to grow with us. That’s the great part, because since we launched the website in February 2019, we’ve grown into two new divisions and the website has been able to accommodate that exceptionally well.”

Are you looking to turn your website into a targeted victory? Contact us for a free website review.

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