Many people are wondering why Clincosm started with modernizing search for ClinicalTrials.gov study records.
In a recent NIH survey, the best and worst things about ClinicalTrials.gov yielded the same answer: search.
This reminded me of the Two Shoe Salesmen in Africa story: Two shoe salesmen are sent to Africa to survey the market. One reports, “No one here wears any shoes, there is no market for us here!” The other sends the message, “No one here wears any shoes. there’s a huge market for us, send inventory fast!”
Same reality: different perspectives.
In the world of user experience (UX), there’s something called Jakob’s Law, where the features and functions of other websites become the expectation that users have of your website.
Being the best and worst thing about ClinicalTrials.gov is an indicator of Jakob’s Law. Fans of the incumbent ClinicalTrials.gov search have reason to love it: at the time it was created, it was really great. And over nearly two decades of using it, they’ve gotten used to it and are good at it. On the other hand, since ClinicalTrials.gov launched, we have the full-text search from Google. We have faceted search from eCommerce websites. And over the years, the once-great feature is pedestrian. Both perspectives are fair.
Here’s another curious slide from the ClinicalTrials.gov Modernization survey showing the top comments submitted on website function:
It’s interesting because they show a bar chart and sort by descending order showing which website function had the most comments, but they broke out search into search field, search, search results, and search – manage. If you lump these back together, they constitute 34% of all comments received on ClinicalTrials.gov functionality.
Making a better search for ClinicalTrials.gov would resolve 1 out of every 3 comments on the website’s user experience.
Never before has the cause of drug discovery, drug development, clinical research, and clinical development been more important (see COVID). And when 40% of the ClinicalTrials.gov’s monthly visitors are scientists/researchers, clinical research support or clinical trials staff…
And there are 3.5 million monthly visitors…
That’s a hundreds of thousands of drug/clinical development professionals that can be better served each month.
And when 34% of the comments on features are about search, we think that search is a good, high-impact place to start.