Friday, February 4, 2011

New Arthritis Informational Site

Last week I received an email from Jim at eArthritisHealth, who has an informational arthritis site in beta. He asked if I would take a look at it and give some feedback as to what I believe makes a good informational arthritis site. Jim says, “We have aggressive plans to make this site not only the source for the best information on arthritis, but also the best place for people to go at any stage of their condition. Our articles are written by health professionals and peer-reviewed in order to give the utmost credibility to the information we provide. Our plans for the site include adding sections to help people figure out what type of arthritis they have based on the location and symptoms present, a discussion forum, and listings of medical specialists across the country (and world) who treat forms of arthritis. “

Honestly, I don’t feel like I am a great choice for this job because I tend to dislike informational arthritis sites. I rarely visit them because they leave me with a feeling of complete loss of hope. I need to feel like I have control over my disease which is why I continue following a clean diet and read/experiment with alternative methods that have worked well for others, while taking my drugs of course. But, I did try hard to look through the site and give the best feedback possible.

Pros:

• Lots of good videos that would provide good information for someone new to arthritis.

• I like how they broke up the videos into individual body parts.

• Videos of rheumatoid arthritis do show faces of younger people.

• I like that there are photos of the authors. For some reason I like to put a face with the person who has written what I am reading.

• Although there isn’t a discussion forum yet, that is something I might possibly use for specific questions I have for other rheumatoid arthritis folks.

• The site is easy to use.

Cons:

• When I clicked on the site I was immediately turned off by the photo and almost clicked out. Photos of arthritis still freak me out even after seven years of dealing with this and I don’t understand why we have to be bombarded with these photos on websites, doctor’s offices and pamphlets. I believe I have come to terms with the fact that I will have some deformities, but seeing photos like these still make me hyperventilate. If I wasn’t looking at the site for specific reasons, I would have left immediately. (Later in the day Sophia came up behind me at the computer and said, “Eeewwww…..what are you doing on that site? You don’t usually look at sites with pictures like that.” She knows me so well.)

• This isn’t a site I find useful to me now. What I am looking for now are stories from people that are living with rheumatoid arthritis as I find this more beneficial to me than the same old research. There is only so much information available on rheumatoid arthritis so it all sounds the same.

• There are not enough photos of people. I would like to see more photos of people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s shown. Maybe there could even be photos of people smiling. We do smile, right?

• Although a few alternative choices are mentioned in the glossary, I don’t see them discussed in the articles. Maybe that will come with time.

• In “rheumatoid arthritis treatment”, medication and exercise are the only areas of treatment explored. Meds are helping me a lot, but I don’t believe for one minute that diet, stress relief, positive thinking, etc don’t make a huge difference.

Check out the site if you have time and leave feedback here. Jim seems like a great guy and I am sure he would appreciate any feedback you have so he can make this the best site possible.