RareCare World

A Drupal website for Rare Conditions & Diseases

Rarecare World: a site for Rare Conditions

The term ‘Rare Conditions’ is perhaps a misnomer. Probably there are more than 7,000 identified “rare” conditions worldwide. As a consequence, more than 400 million people are affected. So not really so rare!

Many rare conditions and diseases are genetic and present in childhood. Symptoms are often attributed to more easily recognized diseases, so there are many misdiagnoses. As a result, many patients receive unnecessary or incorrect treatments. At least partially because of this, around 30 percent of children born with a rare condition will die before the age of five.

In order to improve this situation, collaborative patient organizations representing individuals with rare disorders (and their families) have taken the initiative to provide a new website. A website that brings together information on early recognition of rare conditions, medical care and social support. The name of this web portal is Rarecare World.

BSL (re)designed and developed the Rare Care World website on behalf of Stichting Shwachman Support

RareCare Drupal 8 website for Rare Conditions
RareCare Drupal 8 website for Rare Conditions

The Rare Conditions project

A version of the Rare Disease website existed before BSL joined the project. However, the client was unhappy with the results. The underlying relationships between rare diseases, symptoms, risk factors and treatments are sometimes complex. If these elements are incorrectly modeled in the database, it is difficult to produce a website that is easy to navigate. The previous developer had not understood the model. As a result, the existing site was confusing, difficult to navigate, and inaccurate. It was also not responsive. Consequently, it could not be used easily on tablets or mobiles. The site had been created using Drupal 8, so BSL had no difficulty in analyzing the site, and creating a proposal for improvements.

After a short design phase, we re-developed the site. And after a series of test releases, we delivered the site at the end of September 2018. During this project we used the techniques described in earlier blogs (continuous web development, design and development tips for web projects). As a result, the client was able to influence the development at several key stages, ensuring that the final release met all of their needs.

RareCare Drupal 8 website for Rare Conditions

An incremental development…

During the first phase, we focused on an interface re-design, and data model improvements. We worked closely with the Rare Disease specialists, and the Rare Care World project team. There were a number of design meetings, during which the Rare Care team explained how the website should work. BSL produced a series of prototype designs, using the feedback given by the project team to finalize the design.

In parallel with the design work, BSL migrated the externally hosted website to one of our development servers. We created a Gitlab repository to manage our code changes, updated their DNS services, installed a SOLR server, and arranged new SSL certificates. Once the copy site was up and running, we created a second site, to be used for our development.

We made changes to the data model, based on our design work. And then we re-developed the user interface, using the designs agreed with the Rare Care project team. We still use Drupal 8, but we created a new sub-theme for the new design. The new version of the site also uses CSS styling (based on SASS), and TWIG templates. Our developers also made many changes to the existing JavaScript, HTML and AJAX code.

Our changes were made available as a series of test site releases. As a result, the Rare Care team could check and test our changes from anywhere in the world. Once the software was approved, we replaced the Rarecare.world website with our new version, migrating and converting their existing content. Finally we migrated their existing domain name to use one of our production servers.

After sales is part of our service. So we provided a maintenance agreement after delivering the first release. Above all this means we can provide support, fixing any issues noticed after delivery. We can also make small changes in reaction to feedback we receive. We continuously monitor the site from 5 locations in the world. Consequently we are automatically alerted if there are any problems, and can guarantee the availability of the website. We also make daily backups of the website and the database.

At BSL, you have come to the right place for…

Drupal 8 expertise

Unlike many other companies that work with WordPress or Drupal, our developers can develop new custom plug-ins and modules and integrate them with back-end services and databases. We are also familiar with Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migrations. If you need assistance as Drupal 7 reaches end of life, we can help migrate your sites to Drupal 8.

Responsive websites

More than 50% of potential website visitors use mobiles, and tablets. So it’s important to deliver a responsive design. This means that each part of the website must look good and work properly on every type of device. Therefore BSL guarantees users an optimal user experience on any platform.

Long-term support and maintenance

When a software product has entered production, users need long-term support and maintenance. Hence we offer clients a range of flexible support services. These can include many options such as 24/7 availability, guaranteed response times, and on-site visits. All at a fixed annual cost.

“The cooperation with BSL was really good, and extremely close. We have achieved more with BSL than with the previous developer. We’re very satisfied with the look & feel of the website.”

Petra Poulissen

Secretary, Rare Care World

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