Designing a Medical Practice Website For Usability

patient looking at medical practice websiteA great website design can make the difference between a good business and a great business. But why is user-friendly design so important?

Let’s think for a moment about what’s going through your mind when you’re looking for something on the Internet.  You run a Google search and click on a link, which takes you to a website  – when you arrive at that site, is it easy to find what you are looking for? If not, do you stay on the site and try to find what you need? Or do you become frustrated, leave, and try to find another site?

It’s important to apply that same thinking to your own website. In today’s world, your presence online is one of the most crucial elements of developing your business. Just as we do in real life, users form a “first impression” of the quality of your organization when they visit your site, so it’s important to get it right from the start.

A great medical web design will incorporate fundamental elements including design, content, navigation and functionality.  Together, these elements will set your brand apart from the competition, attract customers and help boost sales for your business.

Most importantly, visitors to your site should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily – in other words, a website should have good usability and provide a seamless experience for users.

User experience, or “UX” as it’s commonly referred to, is made up of a sum of characteristics of a website. Think about your current practice and website – how user-friendly is it?

Here are some of the most important aspects to consider when thinking about your medical website.

Navigation

Put simply, this is how information is organized on your website. Typically, it includes a navigation bar at the top of the website with headings or labels that separate and differentiate the content into sections.

A good navigation will look consistent on every page of the site, and be simple and logical to follow. Try to limit the number of menu items as much as possible. Your website should be intuitive – meaning that when a user visits your site, they should know exactly what to do and be able to move through your site quickly to find what they need. Highlight important pages such as “Patient Education” and “Physicians,” because users are coming to your site for information about medical services and procedures as well as about individual physicians.

Content

Everything on your website should have a purpose. Don’t include information that isn’t relevant or informative to users. Make your content concise, up-to-date and well organized, with information relevant to one idea located on the same page, or within the same section. For instance, make it easy to find the phone number, location, and clinic hours.

Most users scan information on a website first so ensure your content is easy on the eye – sub headings, bullet points and shorter paragraphs help to break up text and assist users to identify what information is relevant to their needs.

Ensure that there are no errors in your content, as this will greatly decrease your credibility.

Visual Inspiration

MWE medical web designMedical web design does not need to be overly visually stunning or conceptual, but it does need to tell a story about your business and appeal to your customer’s senses. In that regard, the more elegant and professional the site looks, the more that reflects on your practice.

For instance, plastic surgeons and dermatologists can benefit from “beautiful” websites. Pictures and photos should be interesting and engaging and lead the user to what your content is about. Before and after photos for a medical weight loss clinic can be particularly beneficial to give patients a sense of what to expect. High-quality photos can also showcase your practice and physicians.

Also consider the color scheme of your website and the contrast between the background and the content – good color contrast ensures better readability. Black text on a white background is easiest to read and a good, comfortable font size in necessary for readable text (at a minimum it needs to be the browser default size of 16 pixels.)

Fast Load Times

One of the most common reasons users leave a site is when pages take too long to load. A website that loads within 4-6 seconds is necessary for good usability. There are free tools to test this, such as Pingdom, which also provides suggestions on how to improve.

Easy-to-Use Forms

If you have forms on your website, such as  a contact form, make this as easy as possible for users. At this point, someone is ready to engage with your business and it’s vital that the process is a seamless one.

Usability is all about making your website easy for users. It should do the work for them – helping guide them to the right information with the least amount of effort. When designing your medical practice website, be sure to think about the experience that someone will have using your website and set your business apart from the rest.

 


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