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Full-stack design and technology build with collaboration from multiple vendors

Brand/Marketing Partner (AOR) & Tech Partner (5 and 2 Studio)

24+ months

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The Leading Platform for Physicians to Find Jobs Gets a Needed Transformation

PhysEmp (short for Physicians Employment) has been connecting physicians with employers since 1991. Originally starting out as a print magazine, founder Bob Truog evolved his offering to the early days of the Internet with great success. Since then, PhysEmp has been the industry-leading platform connecting talented physicians with employers and recruiters across the nation.

Today, the platform allows physicians to search over 24,000 jobs in more than 200 specialties and subspecialties in all 50 states.

What sets PhysEmp apart

  • Other job aggregators aren’t built to support the needs of physicians or the recruiters looking to place them in jobs. PhysEmp was created to uniquely support this population.
  • PhysEmp has been around for decades, and has built meaningful connections & trust with physicians, hospitals, practices, and recruiters every step of the way.
  • They meet physicians and recruiters where they are – offering an efficient and relevant job board available across devices.
  • There are no placement fees that other competitors require.

Technology challenges hindering growth

The PhysEmp platform was continually built on throughout the early 2000’s and had continued to serve the company well until 2015. As the technology became dated and the way physicians searched for jobs began to change from desktop to mobile, it was clear the platform needed to evolve as well. Additional pressure from an increased competitive landscape added to the need to be agile and build incrementally. This became a multi-year effort to rebuild the system in a modern framework that not only supported physicians searching on mobile, but also provided additional functionality to recruiters and PhysEmp staff.

Identifying the right partners

Crema was well positioned to assist PhysEmp with their goals for the platform, but there were several key elements that required collaboration with outside partners.

First, there was a need to modernize the PhysEmp brand. For that, we turned to our branding & marketing partner, AOR, and worked closely together in the first phase of the engagement, incorporating the new branding they developed into key flows of the application for validation with real users. Crema led the project management, product design, and product strategy once the initial branding was set by AOR.

Second, the validated prototype needed to be implemented across the product suite, largely written in .NET. For this, we partnered with 5 and 2 Studio to drive the development of the physician web app, recruiter web app and admin tool. Crema owned the overall product management process, as well as product design and QA. This ensured that our teams were collectively moving toward the same goals on a weekly basis, and a single backlog could be reviewed and groomed with the client in anticipation of the launch in June 2019.

Together, our blended teams created results that were bigger and better than any one company could have accomplished alone.

“We have worked with numerous vendors over the years. Working with Crema and AOR has been our best experience to date. They handled the extra challenge of collaborating with each other to meet our needs. All vendors start strong but often fade in execution; this was not the case here. From the first meeting, there was focus on our needs by understanding our business approach without any pandering. The final product has exceeded my expectations for its' design, improved functionality and successfully expressing our personality. Their approach was thorough, systematic and on time, even when incorporating our feedback.”

– Bob Truog, President of PhysEmp

Objectives and goals of the work

Phase 1

In 2017, the initial phase kicked off. Our collective goal was to improve functionality, retention, and overall usability of the product to reflect modern best practices and mobile responsive views. In order to achieve these objectives, our teams kicked off to unveil the competitive landscape, identify the backlog, and plan out a user testing schedule to validate the new direction with real users of the application.

Once the brand had been established by AOR, Crema’s design and product strategy experts got to work on creating a pixel-perfect prototype of the physician tool and marketing site to be tested with users of the PhysEmp platform. We conducted multiple rounds of testing, which were recorded & used to inform iterations of the product design. Our teams were focused on learning exactly how the user experience should work before writing a line of code.  

At the end of this initial phase, our teams were able to establish a new visual identity for PhysEmp and validate whether physicians had:

  • An easier time getting started on the platform
  • A better search experience
  • Improved management of their profiles
  • A more robust and easier to navigate marketing site that enabled users to learn more about PhysEmp

PhysEmp mobile mockup

Phase 2

After a pause for the PhysEmp team to make progress on the learnings in Phase 1, Phase 2 kicked off in August of 2018. Crema’s product management, strategy, design, and testing experts partnered with our trusted tech partner, 5 and 2 Studio. Their experience in the tech stack allowed for the team to move quickly and efficiently, taking the designs from validated concepts to live product.

Our goal was to develop the web application for physicians, design and develop the web application for recruiters, develop a new admin interface, and launch the product to make PhysEmp 2.0 available to their database of almost 7,500 users.

Strategic process

Crema is an agency driven by user interface & user experience design – powered by a strong product management process. With the help of our development partner, 5 and 2 Studio, we ensured the diverse platform was made up of small, reusable, declarative components. The Crema team oversaw product management and quality assurance, while our .NET development partner focused on implementing the new platform.

There were several moving pieces to the PhysEmp platform that required complex orchestration to ensure we would hit the goals of the engagement. Navigating a 20-year-old database, designing a new user interface for components of the platform, and prioritizing features necessary for launch were woven into our 2-week agile sprints.

Our teams collaborated over the course of the engagement by:

  • Creating, managing, and working toward a backlog of shared work on a bi-weekly sprint basis
  • Regularly grooming and prioritizing the backlog to meet the needs of PhysEmp and the team’s capacity
  • Establishing a velocity of work that can be completed during a 2-week sprint
  • Pivoting when necessary as complexities and opportunities presented themselves
  • Frequently demonstrating the product to client stakeholders
  • Weaving quality assurance & test engineering throughout the entire process

PhysEmp Desktop App Mockup

Insights behind the solution

The mature database of the PhysEmp platform was a lynchpin in the new product’s success. After unraveling the code, our teams realized that the errors users were experiencing could be solved by rewriting some frontend components and calls to the database. A strategy was developed and reviewed with the client to keep the current database & reconfigure other aspects of the platform so that the launch date could be met.

Rebuilding two frontend applications, along with the other priorities of the engagement, required our teams to remain agile throughout the process and frequently keep the focus on creating a better, more useful experience for the physicians and recruiters who rely on the platform.

PhysEmp Desktop App Mockup


With the new PhysEmp platform live, there are many more opportunities to build upon the experience and introduce new features to users. Our backlog is brimming with new functionality and upgrades to the platform on both the physician and recruiter side.

PhysEmp intends to continue to grow their offering to the thousands of physicians & recruiters who use the service.

Strategic process

Throughout the years, our process has evolved to support our clients and business and varies to fit the unique phases of an engagement. There were several key processes that we used to create meaningful outcomes together with the Solarhood team.

User testing

One of the hallmarks of Crema’s process is User Testing. With Phase 1 of Solarhood, we collaborated to recruit users to test the prototype with in two markets – Kansas City and Portland. We targeted 2 rounds of testing, with 3-5 testers per testing iteration. When user tests are conducted with individuals outside of Kansas City, software is used to connect the user to the prototype to interact with it.

Testing is typically facilitated by Crema staff, but the client is welcome to listen in throughout the process. All parties remain neutral during sessions to allow for honest and raw feedback to come from the person experiencing the prototype. Each user is walked through a series of prompts to unveil their assumptions about the platform, highlight key areas of refinement, and ultimately validate – or invalidate – the product experience.

In the instance of Solarhood, user tests informed many elements of the UI/UX in terms of what information was important to consumers & how they wanted to interact with that data. Later, user tests were conducted with B2B prospects to understand their solar wants and needs, which would greatly inform the product strategy.

This is all done in a series for 2-4 weeks, before a single line of code is written. After user testing sessions have been completed, our teams work to solidify the product experience, finalize all assets, and create a development plan of attack to bring the designs to fruition.

Prioritization & delivery

Through our extensive product development and launch experience, Crema has crafted a process to ensure we’re working in a partnership with our clients to achieve goals on a sprint-to-sprint basis. We understand that over time, priorities change, and our teams can quickly adapt to the demands that our clients are up against.

We do this by working from a central, prioritized backlog of items that range from development, testing, design, and discovery tasks that undergoes regular review between the Product Strategist, Product Manager, and client. The Crema team offers objective, expert input into how items should be prioritized, in line with the client’s desired direction. Best of all, it can be quickly reprioritized if need be.

Throughout our engagements, there is a regular meeting with the entire product development team to estimate the effort to each priority item in the backlog. These estimates inform how much work can be accomplished each sprint. Ultimately, this leads to a mutually-agreed upon scope of work that the team works on, frequently demoing and asking for feedback from the client team.

These processes – reminiscent of scrum rituals – require a high level of collaboration between our internal teams and the client stakeholders involved in the engagement. It produces a clear picture of exactly what is being worked on and what is to come. Crema maintains an open dialogue between all teams to effectively develop, maintain, and support our clients throughout the course of these engagements.

Technical planning

Crema’s technical team doesn’t start writing code on day 1 of the engagement. Oftentimes, we’re incorporating development team members into our project kickoffs, so they have a front row seat to the discussions and decisions being made. One of Crema’s core strengths is providing expert technical recommendations based on the needs of our clients.

During our engagements with Solarhood, there were several opportunities for our technical team to explore the best technical approach for the product builds – one of the major moments being moving from native mobile apps to React Native. This is done by uncovering any dependencies, architecture needs, and third party resources, and solidifying that recommendation against time, budget, and other requirements.

Based on what’s uncovered in the technical planning period, Crema’s recommendation is summarized and presented to the client – fueling them to make the decision that is best for their team and business.

Insights behind the solution

Navigating B2C and B2B markets creates a plethora of opportunities. Solarhood has relied on feedback from real users every step of the way, allowing them to build products that people really want. By asking questions like “What matters most?” and “How do we lay the data out to bring the most value?” they’ve benefitted from learning from the market early and often.

Most notably, the switch from native mobile apps to React Native was one of the biggest milestones during our multi-year engagement with Solarhood. Collectively, the decision was made to move this direction, and it eventually lead to a much more stable and scalable code base to build upon.


Today, Solarhood is available on the web and for download on all iOS and Android devices. With their robust tech stack and flexible design language, they’re positioned well to scale quickly consistently exploring new geographic regions, customer segments, and additional revenue models. The Solarhood team also continues producing engaging, informative solar information across many different channels, educating consumers on the benefits of going solar.

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