“I now own face masks in 45 different colors,” exclaims Katherine, one of our supervisors from the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center (KFSYSCC). The sun has begun to set in 7 PM Taipei and is soon to rise in 6 AM Oklahoma. Despite being in what seems like worlds apart, the four of us eagerly exchange ideas in what seems like rapid fire. The conversation is hurried, but organic. All our phones are propped onto our laptops or computer screens as we share information within the single hour we have together (we decide by the second meeting that we should utilize Zoom instead of Line).
These past months have been extremely busy for the Cancer Center. Our supervisors Julia and Katherine, as well as other hospital staff, have been overwhelmed by all the initiatives that come with containing COVID-19. Due to the limited number of opportunities we have to communicate “face to face,” the four of us have had to add plenty of structure to short term plans. Within these past two weeks, Demi and I have dissected the hospital’s current English website, then completely reorganized its content. Though this process appears to be quite straightforward, we quickly realized that there was a gamut of information to sort out, and it took many hours over the span of several days to analyze each tab and revise things.
Through this seemingly dry and slow process, I have reached a deeper level of understanding of how devoted the Cancer Center is to their mission. Even in their incomplete initial website draft, the hospital already included many informative and reassuring resources — They went so far as to write detailed explanations of all their treatments and even featured suggestions for where travel in Taiwan. With all that KFSYSCC had to share, we sometimes even had trouble figuring out how to simplify sections while maintaining their original meaning and tone. I can say now, though, that even without direct interaction with anybody, I am more familiar with how to initiate empathic engagement through the virtual realm. I began knowing that mere word choice and navigability affects one’s impression of an organization, but I was not as familiar with the mechanisms of how this could be applied until after all the hours of annotations and discussion. I remain eager to see how things will unfold next.