SSAI website update

Website in question:

This is a site for the society for Scandinavian doctors in anaesthesia and intensive care, about 4000 doctors total. It oversees our international relations, it develops practice guidelines, it governs subspecialty fellowship training programmes, it runs a journal, it does a biannual scientific congress etc.


  • hard coded theme, doesn’t play with Gutenberg
  • visual identity established and happy to keep at least color scheme
  • static content, about 70 pages, 70 posts. All content is maintained by the webmaster with some future help by a non-tech savvy secretary (used to wordpresss)
  • a couple of forms, a newsletter, an event calendar
  • messy front page
  • overall a top-down information site

Wishlist, two fold

1. Visual overhaul

  • more an update and fine tuning than de novo design
  • mostly main page needs some love plus styling of the new functionality, see below
  • check dropbox link at bottom of post for current theme, design presentation and design elements
  • main page is currently very busy. The calendar is not working and the news feed especially is very repetitive and hard to navigate
  • I think the blocky design while visually pleasing is not working for navigation
  • we have 4 main domains of activity (see top menu items: congress, journal, education, guidelines), our main DNA which we need to sell visually
  • we need fewer contacts for frequently asked questions, so that needs some work too
  • we need a redesign of the main page that is not as dependent on developer input for updates, eg a recoding through elementor pro or similar page builder. I’ve started work on this, but can’t find the time
  • we need to make pages/posts work with the Gutenberg editor to make it easy for the secretary to update stuff. It needs to comply with color scheme which is not handled elegantly currently. For instance, tables and buttons don’t work on conversion to Gutenberg blocks, and the manual transition is too time consuming for me. When we do new posts there’s too much work getting blocks to comply with design

2. New functionality

we wish to have member rights set up, so predefined user groups can log in and access relevant forums. This is currently intended for the 6-7 groups running educational programmes, with about 30 persons in each. They renew every 2 years. We would have course directors be moderators. We need for them to be able to

  • have discussion boards and forums
  • share calendar items and plan meetings
  • share files in a folder like structure
  • put up timelines / calendar stuff
  • make posts with content including pictures / videos
  • teachers need to make quizzes, in particular MCQs to test attendees of meetings for retention
  • integration with zoom might be helpful

We may want to develop e-learning modules down the line, but that is not an immediate focus and we do not currently need to set up proper e-learning courses nor any woocommerce or pay solution.

The functionality part is no doubt the bigger backend challenge. I have tested the waters on a test copy of our site with the buddyboss platform plugin (for forums and social messaging), coupled with a user access plugin like memberpress. I have been leaning toward learndash for its easy integration with those for MCQs and potential elearning. Those are my thoughts so far.

I have consulted various Danish web developers who have very differing opinions, some suggesting a totally de novo custom site at a very significant cost.

I would hope someone has specific experience both frontend and backend with something along the lines of those plugins to help develop the functionality at less than custom site costs. This would also be preferable in as much as we can extend functionality better ourselves down the line.

However, I am not a skilled developer so I am acutely aware I may need input on fundamental choices.

Stability and security is important too, so might need help on those fronts too. We need GDPR compliance. Trainees also may post patient cases that cannot spill into the public eye.

Speed might be an issue for us too. We are currently on wordpress optimised shared hosting at, but I suppose we may need more umph for a user site, even if number of logged in active users will probably be quite small at any given time.

To check visual identity and presentation thereof (we would mostly want to stick with color scheme and graphic design elements), see the dropbox folder. The key brief is a consistent minimalist Scandinavian design. I think it currently works well except for the main page.

We would hope to find someone with a track record and also looking at the long game for support down the line as needed, so preferably not a one man gig and crucially we need good practice code for later updates. It will be necessary to share the inner workings with the webmaster to make sure he can take over.

About the author(s)

+ posts

Scandinavian anaesthetist. PHARM, ED, OR, ICU. Special interest in wee patients.

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