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Canadian Diabetes Association

By David Mendosa

Last Update: October 15, 2000

The United States has the biggest and best diabetes Web site, which I reviewed here two weeks ago. So why would people who live here want to visit the Web site of the Canadian Diabetes Association in Toronto?

‘The best part of the site is the Banting House…’

"Because it is easy to navigate, has very useful information, and is quick to download," replies Michael Lund, the CDA's manager of Web marketing and communications. "We spent a lot of time grouping together similar information and titled it so that someone who had never heard of it before would understand that it would belong underneath that category. That's how we divided it up."

If you need quick information it's there. If you need more in-depth information it is there as well.

When I mentioned to Michael that Web designers say that a site will lose most of its visitors when they have to click their mouse more than three times to get to a page, he agreed. "I don't have any pages on the site right now that require more than three clicks from the home page."

The site now has 107 HTML pages in English and links the Québec Diabetes Association's French-language site. Few if any of the pages on the CDA site don't have a lot of meat on them.

The best part of the site, Mike says, is the Banting House National Historic Site. It celebrates Sir Frederick Grant Banting, who discovered insulin in the early 1920s. It is such an important site for people with diabetes that I previously wrote about it separately here, when it was called the Banting Museum & Education Centre.

A new part of the site that Michael likes a lot is Travel Tips for People with Diabetes. "We get a lot of questions about people worried about changing time zones," he says. "We have quite a bit of information in the travel kit."

The other new part of the site that Michael recommends is the Kids with Diabetes in School Resource Package. It is written so that a teacher, a parent, and a child with diabetes can sit down and understand it, he says.

The CDA site first went online in 1995. They brought Michael on board earlier this year to do a major redesign, the first parts of which went live in June.

Getting useful content online was his first priority. "Now that I have begun that," he says, "I am working towards making the site more of a community, where we will have discussion groups for people with or affected by diabetes, where they can discuss issues or provide support. We will also have moderated chats with a healthcare professional every month and give people a reason to come back to the site frequently. I am looking at getting these type of functions up by early next year."

Then, Michael is looking ahead to having everything on the CDA site translated into French. Since Canada is one of world's the few countries that is officially bilingual, that seems most appropriate. 

The American Diabetes Association originally published this article on its Web site as one of my “About the Internet” columns.

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