Kanker.nl - We are there for you.

Health care
Social / Community


Kanker.nl is the one place in the Netherlands for everyone who has to deal with cancer: patients, (ex) patients and their loved ones. More than 450,000 visitors each month find all sorts of validated information here about the disease; they conduct dialogue with professionals and exchange experiences with fellow sufferers.

Case description

Cancer is a serious disease and a precarious topic. If you have had to face cancer either directly or indirectly, you want to have a handhold and grip on the situation. But how? The world of cancer is unclear and complex. There's lots of information, but you don't always know what's true. You get treatment, but you have no idea whether this is the best one for you. Kanker.nl provides insight and an overview by means of reliable information and support from experts.

The first version of Kanker.nl was launched in 2013 at the initiative of KWF Kankerbestrijding, the Dutch Federation of Cancer Patient Organisations (NFK) and the Dutch Integral Cancer Centre (IKNL). This is unique because it combines validated information with the knowledge and experience of (ex) patients.

However, in 2018, the existing platform no longer satisfied the requirements and desires of the editors and participants: the bespoke system gave visitors, participants, editors and moderators little freedom to place news and articles independently and easily, or to blog, change settings, moderate or change library content. And these are crucial factors for a successful community platform!

Case goals and results

It was up to One Shoe to rebuild the platform with a focus on the following aspects:
• Optimise the user experience for visitors, participants and editors.
• Provide above-average levels of care for privacy and SEO.
• Guarantee future adaptability by offering technical freedom for future development.
• Keep the brand promise of "We are there for you" functionally by means of a user-friendly platform.

In an intensively agile collaboration, we redeveloped the large-scale online platform concerning this sensitive topic.

The updated kanker.nl website has a fresher appearance, a higher degree of user-friendliness and various functionalities that facilitate dialogue and knowledge-sharing concerning the subject of cancer:
• Online library with medically reliable information
• Theme-focused group discussions with fellow sufferers
• Personal contact with fellow sufferers
• Reading and writing blogs to share stories
• Contact with professionals via the Kanker.nl infoline
• Referral guide (IKNL) for expert assistance close at hand
• Handy questionnaires and online instruments such as the "symptoms meter"

The power of kanker.nl as an information platform lies in its combination of library and community. The possibility of sharing knowledge with each other, entering into dialogue and exchanging experiences makes kanker.nl a powerful information platform. All of the experiences of (ex) cancer patients and loved ones together form an important source of information for scientists, policymakers and advocates. So the information-sharing goes further than simply among those in the community; it also provides new insights to professionals by allowing the participants to be questioned about this. In this manner, kanker.nl feeds back relevant information, such as trends and patient experiences, to its partners.

The "We" in the slogan "We are there for you" are:
• 450,000 unique visitors each month
• 15,000+ active participants
• 1000+ engaged bloggers
• who publish a total of more than 250 blog messages each month
• 42 discussion groups
• with two moderators for each discussion group
• and there are more than 130 substantive dossiers


By using the Drupal 8 CMS, kanker.nl is now better prepared for the future. Drupal's modular character ensures that the website can evolve easily along with the developments in e-health.

Offering privacy to visitors and participants is the distinguishing aspect of the entire platform and is extremely important to the participants. Drupal 8 is tough as nails in terms of security and ensures that sensitive information does not end up in the wrong hands. Furthermore, we safeguard the platform's stability and quality by performing automatic testing.

In addition to critical freshening of the design, improving the user experience and technical basis, we also paid considerable attention to content management and editing. During the development process, the target group tested the design concepts twice in a test lab.

We ultimately redesigned the site in its entirety: from design to back-end and front-end development, content migration and integration with third-party systems such as Gridline's search and thesaurus function (also for synonyms).

In the days to come, we will improve searching speeds for scientific investigations (trials). The Referral Guide will also be further improved. We keep optimising the platform continuously!

Community contributions

For this customer project One Shoe contributed to 22 issues in the Drupal.org issue queues (including 17 patches) for 11 distinct community projects, including core. An overview is available, if needed.

Why should this case win the splash awards?

The success factor? By directly offering content linked to a clear design, we provide an excellent UX so that the user can quickly find all of the relevant information. The design exudes calm and extra attention is paid to font sizes and line spacing (accessibility). Also, the community is part of keeping the brand promise: 'We are there for you'. It's not just the organisation that's there for the patients, or the platform that provides support 24/7, but it's especially the participants in the community who are there together for you. So you're never at home alone.

Kanker.nl has also won a golden Dutch Interactive Award and the jury said the following about Kanker.nl: "The care with which they interact with their community is enormous. The figures in terms of use and reach are impressive and the design is very to the point. Respect for the Community Manager who is there and her people. During the redesign, they heard from users what is needed, and the agency has demonstrably listened to the wishes of the community. If you are talking about a community thís is the example, and everyone else can learn from this case."