Per the week one assignment, I have reviewed and compared two Websites offering information on the same subject. My chosen subject is kidney disease and hemodialysis and the source Websites are: The National Kidney Foundation (http://www.kidney.org) and The Merck Manual-Professional (http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional). When reviewing the National Kidney Foundation site, I initially had difficulty determining who the intended audience actually was. You can’t help but notice, a significant goal of the page is to generate donations. The donations tab is highlighted with a blue border against an orange background. The information tabs are simply white print against the same orange background. That being said, there is also well prepared information regarding kidney disease and hemodialysis intended for the general public.
The Website provides information regarding diagnosis, treatments and lifestyle changes. It appears, the primary purpose of the National Kidney Foundation Website is education and the secondary purpose is soliciting donations. The Merck Manual Professional site, appears to target healthcare professionals with a secondary audience of students in the medical and/or nursing fields. The National Kidney Foundation Website is very appealing with pictures, videos and banners. Two banner items that caught my eye were “the initial shock of the dialysis diet” followed by a chicken fajita recipe. It further incorporates information about coping with the diagnosis and treatment plan. The Merck Manual website is stark in comparison as it incorporates muted colors of gray, blue and green. The Merck Manual presents only related facts and treatment modalities. Advertising on each page is limited.
The National Kidney Foundation’s Website advertisements are geared to generate donations, whereas, the advertisements on the Merck Manual site, offer additional ways to receive the Merck Manual information. Each site provides icons intended to provide the user with the option to share the Websites with many of the social media networks. The Merck Manual Website is intended for information and education. The National Kidney Foundation site provides education in addition to soliciting donations. The National Kidney Foundation information is provided in a question and answer format with one or two sentence simple answers provided. The Merck Manual site utilizes headers with information ranging between one to three paragraphs. Links available on the National Kidney Foundation Website keep the reader on the site and frequently take them back to the donation page.
The Website provides a section for “Professional” users, however, the majority of the area is again written for the general public. One area reviewed provides an “Education and Research” option that takes the professional reader to more technical writing sources contained within the National Kidney Foundation Website. The Merck Manual links allow the reader to visit other Websites for additional subject information. The National Kidney Foundation Website offers additional educational opportunities via Webinars and seminars. No such offerings were noted on the Merck Manual site. The Merck Manual is written with the professional audience in mind. The information is technical and clinical in its presentation. Whereas, the National Kidney Foundation Website, refers to the site visitor on multiple occasions as “family”. Visitors are encouraged to “join our family” and “be a part of the National Kidney Foundation family” with promises of “we will be there for you”.
The information provided in a well written conversational form and would be easily understood by the nonprofessional general public wanting additional information about kidney disease and support services available. Newly diagnosed patients visiting the National Kidney Foundation Website would be provided with an additional source of information. In addition to the general diagnosis and treatment information provided, the Website offers encouragement and support to those effected by kidney disease. Patients, families and friends can find support information. The Merck Manual is intended to be used as a source of information and education for the healthcare professional and/or student. It represents a good source of information for research and/or bedside practice.
Although both sites provide information on Kidney Disease and Hemodialysis, the content is presented in completely different ways. The National Kidney Foundation is written for the general public who may be effected by kidney disease. The Merck Manual in professional in appearance and content. In conclusion, I feel each site is well developed for their intended audience and purpose. The National Kidney Foundation Website is easy to use and provides the reader with basic information regarding the diagnosis, treatment and necessary lifestyle changes. The Website offers support services and the opp ortunity to donate if the reader so desires. The Merck Manual Website is intent is to provide educational information to the medical professional and students in the medical field.