Engaging families and researchers to find treatments and cures for autism.


Detail from Resources section

The Autism Consortium catalyzed rapid advances in understanding of autism by fostering collaboration among families, researchers, clinicians, and donors. Their mission was to improve the care of children and families affected by autism and other neurological disorders. The Consortium included scientists, clinicians, and health leaders from 14 top New England research institutions. (The Consortium transferred its research activities to member institutions in 2015.)

When the Autism Consortium first formed in 2006, their vision and focus was to convene the region’s researchers in autism and brain science, so their efforts could be multiplied by collaboration, not divided by competition. By 2011, they had grown a powerful community of specialists working at the forefront of autism research and treatment.

But a critical component to addressing the challenge of autism was not yet strongly represented: families. Moreover, families who could offer insights into autism’s mysteries and benefit from recent advances were not connecting with the help already available. The Consortium engaged Hopewell to help redesign its Web site from the ground up to help make more and stronger connections among scientists, clinicians, and families.

We worked closely with the Autism Consortium to define what interactions it wanted to inspire and what relationships it wanted to cultivate, and translated those goals into a strategy and program for digital communications. And because the leadership of the Consortium always focused on accelerating measurable results, each aspect of our design program was connected to measurable outcomes from the beginning.

Autismconsortium.org is an extensive site that is easy to use by visitors and intuitive to update and edit by Autism Consortium staff and collaborators. The site provides invaluable resources and guides to support New England families. Faceted search tools in the Autism Resource Database gives families’ information on just the services they need. The Research Directory connects families directly to Autism Consortium researchers so they can collaborate and advance new treatments. A video archive is available for families and researchers alike to review the talks at last year’s Symposium. Family members who join the Consortium (which is free of cost) receive invitations to the next symposium, a monthly newsletter, and personalized notification of events, programs, and studies that fit their child.

In addition to the new Web site, the anchor of the communication system, Hopewell developed platforms for social media and social networking, the email newsletter, and printed literature. Monthly analytics reports, designed and launched by Hopewell and now maintained by Autism Consortium staff, monitor progress toward key goals such as stories shared, studies, joined, and members recruited.

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Brand research and strategy
Website design and development
Messaging strategy
Digital strategy