Heartland Dental

1000 Independently Branded Office Websites

Summary: Users may not always be able to tell you what they want, but they will always be able to show you. By looking at user behavior via google analytics it was clear very early on that users were only interested in a very narrow journey.

The Problem

Heartland Dental Marketing had a unique problem. The marketing department managed and maintained over 1000 individually branded dental offices. That's 1000 different logos with roughly 120+ color palettes. The sites were originally all being hosted and built on a drupal background that had become cumbersome and unmanageable. I was brought in with a team consisting of a front-end developer, a back-end developer, and a data analyst. We were tasked with migrating the sites to a .netnuke CMS being built out by a consulting firm. One last thing... it had to be done in 3 months. 

2017 Key Numbers


Organic Traffic


Paid Traffic


Mobile Traffic


Seconds Download Speed

The Solution

Since time was critical, I jumped right into the analytics. It became extraordinarily clear early on that the analytics was going to generate our user journey. 

Once our User Journey was clear, we needed to identify what if any of the other content currently littering the primary navigation ( 50+ items) was necessary at such a high level. It wasn't. Users were clearly not interested. 

We were also looking at an unmanageable 'design system' if it could be called that. 120+ individual color palettes needed to be brought to something more manageable. 

Key Discoveries

The following key items were found through looking through Google Analytics.

98% of ALL traffic was going to 4 pages. 'About', 'Payment Options', 'New Patients', and 'Directions' 

2% of the remaining traffic visited the other 50+ pages of content

The most trafficked page in that 2%, had a total of 3 visitors in 2 years

The entire navigation was riddled with dental terminology.

The Process

Discovery / Research

  • Data Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Journey Map
  • Proto-Personas
  • Current Asset Audit

Collabaritive Design

  • Informed Brainstorming
  • Developed "Atomic" system
  • Consolidated Color Pallettes
  • Wireframes
  • SEO friendly terminology


  • Cognitive Walkthroughs
  • Data Analysis
  • Iterative Enhancement

My Contribution

coming soon.

User-Defined User Journey 

As previously mentioned, looking at the google analytics, users had made it perfectly clear what the 'user-journey' would be.

98% of all traffic was only going to four pages:

About the Dentist – Obviously, first and foremost users wanted to know more about the dentist at the practice. "Is this someone I can trust?" 

Payment Options – Does the practice take my insurance? 

New Patient Information – Is the dental practice accepting new patients? What is the process?

Directions – Finally, where is the office located? 


Annotated Wireframes

Due to the nature of the project, it was important to pre-wire not only the marketing representatives, but I thought it was necessary to present the individual practices with an early annotated wireframe. It was important that everyone understood that the changes they were going to be seeing to their practice website were not being done arbitrarily, but were being driven by existing data and declared business goals.


2018 The Numbers Revisited


Organic Traffic


Paid Traffic


Mobile Traffic


Seconds Download Speed

Final Design

After 3 short months, the team had converted nearly 500 of the 1000 total websites to the new platform and new designs. It was then only a few weeks when we started to see the overall impact of the changes that we had made beginning to bear fruit.  



This redesign was a whirlwind, to say the least. There wasn't a lot of time for more traditional usability techniques, but with a little tweaking, we were still able to analyze and validate that we were, in fact, building the RIGHT solution before a single line of code was committed. 

While there was some minimal pushback from a few offices and their dentists, the pre-wiring wireframe went a long way to start the conversations we would have later have.  

The end result was overwhelmingly positive with the end-users and Heartland. 

These changes resulted in a potential revenue boost of over $800,000 PER Heartland Office based on ADA.

"What is consistent is that the average dental patient stays with a practice for 7-10 years and spends an average of $653 per year (ADA average). This means that a new patient will generate at least $4500 in revenue (excluding referrals) in their lifetime with a practice." – Patient News

Selected Works