With the term “healthcare” in mind, one tends to think that only the best designers and engineers are hired to work in this field, building only the best and most usable websites and applications available on the market.
Meanwhile in the real world they do not (most of the time). Often smaller scaled healthcare websites as provided by private practitioners and Outpatient Centers are lacking basic principles of modern web design and user experience. The following text is focusing on these kinds of websites trying to offer points to consider while confronted with web design projects like these.
Private healthcare providers often feel like they just need “this website thing” done and after that, they turn their backs on it for good. Probably the hardest part working on projects of this scale is the re-shifting of the common perspective on web projects: “web design is a single event, once it is done, it’s done” towards a “web design is a process, and needs your ongoing attention to keep your services up-to-date” point view.
The constant investment in maintenance, good copywriting and further development of your websites design will lead directly to an enhanced user experience and of course a cleaned up and up-to-date website. Imagine a virtual shop front: if the windows are looking bad and dirty, no one will see what you have to present, and they won’t come back.
Poorly designed, outdated web designs as well as a badly structured information architecture on websites will lead users to false conclusions about the professionalism of your business and drive users away to other healthcare providers.
To deliver the same online experience to all of your users, no matter what device they are using while visiting your website, a responsive website design is mandatory. Responsive website design is sustainable (a) and will, next to the enhancement of the usability of your website, also boost your SEO (b).
Giving your users an increased feeling of control (common design patterns, familiarity), taking anxiety concerning use (navigation, web forms, error handling) and reducing visual noise (overuse of sliders and media elements, flamboyant design elements) will also have a positive impact of your users experience.
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. – Charles Mingus, Jazz musician
Reduced complexity should be part of the nature of a well designed website and is also the key to a good user experience. Well-known source for complexity are web forms. Nobody likes filling out paper forms, so you can assume how likely it is that your users will enjoy filling out endless questionnaires or over complicated appointment scheduling forms on your website. Reducing the complexity of forms will ease the human machine interaction and finally dramatically increase your conversion rate.
If your website is tricky to navigate, users will get irritated and leave your webpage. Users should feel hassle free to search relevant information. No one needs to waste their time searching for something they can easily search somewhere else. Talk about your services efficiently by posting well written & organized, easily reachable content.
Modern web design techniques often come with a pile of code, big pictures and media-files. Surveys found that “nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds” (c). So it would be wise to monitor your websites performance. Optimizing your images is an absolute must (the biggest performance killer). Minifying .css and .js techniques as well as on demand script loading have also on impact on your websites overall performance.
To express that you’re Medical website development is up-to-the-minute and considerate, your sites must haves are:
– A responsive, mobile friendly design
– A solid Performance (Page speed)
– Relevant, valuable and searchable content
– Streamlined navigation
– Prioritized content
– Reduced visual noise
– Consistent design and consistent language
Forms, Questionnaires and Appointment scheduling
– Minimize the complexity
– Inline validation, forgiving inputs, error handling
– Illuminated path to completion
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(1) Effective UI by Jonathan Anderson, John McRee, Robb Wilson, and the EffectiveUI Team, 2010, O’Reilly Media, Inc.
(2) The Essential Guide to User Interface Design Second Edition An Introduction to GUI Design Principles and Techniques by Wilbert O. Galitz, 2002 Wiley Computer Publishing
(3) What makes them click? Neuro Web Design by Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph. D, 2009, New Riders
(4) Designing Interfaces, Second Edition, by Jenifer Tidwell, 2011, O’Reilly Media, Inc.
(5) Meaningful Use and Beyond by Fred Trotter and David Uhlman, 2011, O’Reilly Media, Inc.