More clicks, in a heartbeat

A simple change to a webpage can massively increase engagement with its content

When I worked at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), a heart charity, campaigns were regularly set up to raise awareness of heart conditions. For one of these campaigns, I was asked to optimise a webpage on atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition where the heart’s rhythm becomes irregular. My objective was to ensure users found the page easy to navigate and informative.

On the old AF page was a guide to checking your pulse — this is one way to check if you have AF. The section included links to a regular heart sound and an irregular heart sound that looked like this:

The words in red were hyperlinks that took you to the BHF SoundCloud page, where you could click and play the relevant sounds.

Looking at other types of webpages, like Dojo’s weekly gig guide, it’s rare to see hyperlinks to external sites for audio — instead, audio is often embedded into a page. By following SoundCloud’s tutorial, l embedded the two heart sounds on the AF page just like this:

I chose to embed rather than hyperlink for a few reasons:

  • It keeps the user on the same page and within a website
  • The user clicks fewer times to play, share and download audio
  • Without even clicking and playing the sounds, each box provides a visual representation of a regular heart sound vs an irregular one

And…it also increases engagement! Comparing data for 30 days before I made the change vs 30 days afterwards, the number of plays for each clip went up, with plays of the regular heart sound increasing by around 50% (from 1,636 to 2,411 plays). More plays hopefully means more people are checking their own heart sounds and increasing the chances of spotting heart disease.

This is hopefully my first post of many exploring the world of content — the aim is to write short articles that are accessible and interesting to newcomers like myself :)