Mobility & Rehab Web Site Best Practices

Web Winners: Saluting Best Practices from Mobility/Rehab Manufacturers, Organizations & Suppliers

The Way It Works Award
Assistive Technology

Want to know how the Versa-Ramp from Elkhart, Ind.-based manufacturer Assistive Technology works? The home page offers 11 snapshots arranged as a virtual flip-book, showing how to unload the ramp from a van from start to finish. Want more action? Click on a link for an 8.63-second video clip. The photos are large and illustrate the process clearly. The site is a great resource for those who can't make it to the showroom.

Immediate Gratification Award
Gendron, Inc.

Everyone knows that life moves in a circle; so why not your Web site? Gendron, based in Archbold, Ohio, incorporates its circular logo to drive home its bariatric endeavors. The home page, one of the simplest to navigate, opens with thumbnail photos of the complete product line arranged in a neat oval around the logo. Click on the photo to get the product specs and an enlarged photo. It's that simple and oh so easy!

Best Memory Award
AccessAbility Home Medical

With so much on the Web, sometimes it's hard to remember where you've been. Not to worry — AccessAbility Home Medical, a durable medical equipment dealer located in Milwaukee, won't forget! The provider's Web site incorporates bolded menu links down the left side of the page that conveniently "un-bold" after they're clicked. The site also features a live help button and a comprehensive search engine for added navigation.

Good Sense of Direction Award
Buddy's Sunset Mobility Center

After arriving at the Miami-based mobility dealer's home page, users know instantly that the dealership offers personal mobility vehicles, residential lifts, ramps, van conversions, mobility conversion accessories and assistive driving devices. All of these categories are accessible on the upper-right corner of the page. The site also employs bold red outlines around clean white boxes to house information exactly where it's expected. Click on Ramps, for example, and choices ranging from singlefold to modular instantly appear. No roaming required.

Industry Educator Award
United Seating and Mobility

Earth City, Mo.-based rehab dealer United Seating and Mobility is all about education. With links to travel and recreation, manufacturers of assistive technology and professional organizations, users get a wide array of clickable opportunities to learn all about mobility. An easy-to-locate Clinical Info button — on the left-hand menu — provides information on the functional benefits and applications on everything from powered tilt systems to elevating legrests. The site even squeezes in room to talk about Medicare eligibility and provides a newsroom and information on continuing education.

Cool Tools Award

Need a quick indicator of how much ramp is needed to accommodate a power or manual wheelchair in a specific size? Check out the Length Calculator located on Roll-A-Ramp's site. The West Fargo, N.D.-based wheelchair and scooter ramp manufacturer requests only the height of a chair in inches. The user then selects the type of wheelchair — manual, electric or results for both — and uploads the results. The site even offers the ramp length required in ranges — good, better and best.

Color Wheel Award
Ride Designs

Ride Designs knows wheelchair seating and has the wheels to prove it. The boldly designed site incorporates a lot of round — from the circular Ride logo and the round arrows that indicate important information to the enormous, green R1 button that links directly to the R1 Cushion information. The site feeds off the color wheel as well, using red, blue, green, orange, black and white to illustrate its mission throughout the site.

Best Sound Byte

The best part of surfing the TiLite Web site is sliding the cursor over the titanium-colored menu. The high-tech sound, resembling both a clicking and shuffling noise and reminiscent of secret agent video games, instantly puts the user in a researching mindset. Users collect information provided about the Kenwick, Wa.-based wheelchair manufacturer's lightweight wheelchairs with the urgency of an official mission. In TiLite's case, the sound byte makes the site navigation both engaging and interactive.

Best Testimonials Award
TEFTEC Mobility

Sometimes the product speaks for itself — through customers, that is. TEFTEC, an all-terrain wheelchair manufacturer located in San Antonio, showcases the lives of its customers through an online testimonial gallery. Scroll through a list of clickable names to view individual testimonials complete with photos. Stories include wheelchair adaptations for recreational sports such as hunting, weddings featuring the groom in a TEFTEC chair and emotional stories about spinal cord injuries.

Caveat Emptor Award
Nor-Cal Mobility

The Web site of this automotive access dealership in Chico, Calif., puts consumer needs right up front on its home page, with easy-to-access veterans info, mobility resources and product info. Worth a visit in its own right is the Van Selection Guide, a downloadable pamphlet that takes consumers through the accessible vehicle buying process. Consumers can save money, time and heartache by reading this before they buy.

At Your Fingertips Award
Midwest Mobility & Design

Here's point-and-click technology at its best. This home page is simplicity itself: six buttons, with names such as Hot Deals and Van Finder, are arranged in a circle. Click on the Pre-Owned or New Vans buttons, and a grid of vehicles appears, with photo, year, make/model, exterior, conversion, mileage and dollar value for each. Click on a vehicle photo, and up pops a larger view of the image, more details and an e-mail form so would-be Chicago-area customers can request more information.

Instant Access Award
Freewheel Vans

Surfers who have ever been frustrated and unable to find help will love this site. First, the home page features an ingenious GO button that transports visitors to the products page. Second, in the upper-right corner of every page is a mouse icon with the rotating phrases "Questions? Click here." The mouse is an instant link to a page with store locations (Wheat Ridge and Colorado Springs, Colo.), directions and a form to request a free consultation. What else could you need?

Catalog Convenience Award
Mobility Solutions

Lots of suppliers provide links to product information, but usually those links take you to the manufacturers' Web sites — sometimes just to a home page, where you have to search for the product yourself. Mobility Solutions, Colton, Calif., sorts its product offerings into categories such as Power Chairs and Pediatric Equipment, then lists the exact products by manufacturer. Click on a product name, and a window with product info and photo pops right up, without leaving Mobility Solutions' site.

Wish-You-Were-Here Award
Custom Mobility

For clients who want to take a look around without leaving their living rooms, Custom Mobility offers a virtual tour of their facility and details the rehab work they're capable of. President Bruce Bayes starts with an introduction, then visitors view snapshots of assessment, fabrication and service activities. There's even a shot of the customer lounge. The tour presents a warm, informative welcome; Bayes says, "Thank you and enjoy the rest of your visit," and visitors surely will.

Reimbursement Deciphered Award
Mobility First

An understandable explanation of Medicare reimbursement policies for consumers? Yes, it exists! Click on the Reimbursement button on Mobility First's (Independence, Mo.) home page for concise, plainly written explanations of such topics as Medicare medical justification and coverage criteria. There's a FAQ section with step-by-step details on funding for power chairs, POVs and lift chairs. The section wraps up with a list of DMERCs and the states they serve.

The One-Stop Shop Award
The MED Group

Ever want to visit one place and then call it a day? Well, The MED Group allows you to do just that. Purchase product information sheets at its online store, visit the online university if you are a new employee or want to brush up on a specific area of expertise, join other members for e-conferences or read the latest HME reports out of Washington. Whatever HME dealers need, they are likely to find it here.

Most Comprehensive Award
American Occupational Therapy Association

What better time to issue the Most Comprehensive Award than the month of April, Occupational Therapy month! Eye-catching photos and graphics are the backdrop to a library of occupational therapy information — legislative initiatives, consumer tip sheets and numerous choices for members, including a job link with career management resources.

Most Impactful Web Site Award
United Cerebral Palsy

If you want to learn about Cerebral Palsy, you could spend an entire day on this site, but you won't be the same when you are finished. First, read a story about Roberta, who found a United Cerebral Palsy chapter in Rhode Island that introduced her to adaptive arts and changed how she views herself. Then learn how to use the correct words when talking or writing about people with disabilities. Lastly, this site offers a printable, state-by-state resource guide for its visitors.

Work-in-Progress Award
SATH: Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality

It already has news, travel tips and stories, but the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality is also in the process of redesigning its Web site to be even more user-friendly. Not only will visitors learn how people with disabilities can travel seamlessly, they will soon be able to travel this Web site seamlessly as well.

The Intellect Award
Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists

Put the brakes on! Supporting professionals working in the field of driver education, driver training and automotive modifications, a live-scrolling banner reminds members to keep their membership up to date, and a calendar of events keeps visitors on schedule. Also, consumers can use ADED's search feature to find a certified driver rehabilitation specialist in their areas.

The Art of Simplicity Award

Save your back from bending and stooping. Feed dangerous animals without getting too close. Do you think you could name 1,001 uses for the PikStik reacher? PikStik can. In addition to this unique list, read personal customer testimonials while enjoying an easy-to-navigate and brightly colored Web site. Hey, even Dear Abby gave it a thumbs-up!

Something For Everyone Award
Dynamic Living

Find Aids to Daily Living products for people with arthritis or the use of only one hand, plus aids for standing, sitting, reaching, use in the kitchen or for kids. A click of a mouse calls up a library of products for every room in the home, as well as a range of conditions and ages. Prices are included online.

This article originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

In Support of Upper-Extremity Positioning