The design of a website is more than just aesthetics. In fact, it’s usually the very first impression a user gets about your practice and will determine if they make an appointment or look elsewhere. Even with a strong recommendation from a trusted source, one of the first things a potential patient will do is look you up online. Once on your site, a person will typically decide within seconds if your site is useful or if they want to look elsewhere. Check out some of these statistics:
- 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
- 94% of a user’s first impressions are design-related
With all this in mind, it’s clear that getting web design right is key. Gaining a person’s trust is paramount, especially for medical practices, and even more so if you want to convert them into patients.
Below are 5 critical design components that are essential to an effective website:
1. clean & simple design
It’s as simple as that. It’s tempting to want to pack in all the information and credentials you can and it can even be done with good intentions. However, clutter and complex layouts can overwhelm a user and quickly drive them to a competitor’s site. Users don’t want to have to put in time and effort to get the information they need. Be sure that your design is clean and use white space wisely to make the important elements stand out. Keep content simple, informative, easy to read and concise. Think about the user and what they want to gain from your site and make sure to provide it to them without inundating them with sensory overload.
2. modern design
It’s officially 2016. Which means that a website that was built even 5 years ago might very well be outdated. Remember, your website is your practice’s first impression and it’s important to represent yourself as current and modern. Again, this is especially true for medical practices. You don’t want to come off to potential patients as dated or out of touch. That will likely bleed over into their impression of your practice and your ability to meet their needs. Your website is a critical component of your business so take the time to invest in it and keep it current.
Layout is another key factor that determines the usability of your site. Layout should be simple as well but should also be intuitive. Again, we have to think about the user here and what they need to easily navigate the site. What information is important to them? Make sure your buttons and menus clearly serve the needs of the user and that everything is easily accessible. You’ll also want to consider housing the most important information above the fold – which is simply the portion of your site that is displayed before needing to scroll. Users spend 80% of their attention above the fold so make sure to include the fundamental elements in this area.
Additionally, keep in mind that most of the visitors to your website will be accessing it from a smartphone. Ensure your website is “mobile-responsive” to ensure the layout is customized to their experience.
4. call to action
A call to action (CTA) is simply anything (text/buttons/forms) that prompts the user to take an action such as making an appointment, signing up for a newsletter or filling out a contact form. CTA’s are of obvious importance when it comes to converting visitors into patients but it’s as important to use them wisely. We mentioned the need for simplicity and this holds true here as well. Make sure your call to action is clearly visible and emphasized and that it fulfills the need of the user. Luring them to sign up for something they are not interested in will only take away from the user experience and turn them off. Be choosy when deciding on the look, placement and wording of a CTA and don’t overdo it with too many.
5. contact info
Clearly displaying contact info is a given, right? Not always. You would think that this was obvious to most, but you’d be surprised how often it is overlooked. One of the most important things potential patients want to know is where you’re located and how to contact you. The more someone has to dig through your site for what they need, the more quick they are to leave your site and find someone else. Make sure your phone number and address are in large font and in a legible color on every page of your site. And since most local searches are done on mobile, including a click to call option and embedding a map will only add more value.
Website design is not always complex and technical. As users ourselves, we can start to pick up on what websites we like for their functionality and design. And better yet, ask a few friends for their input. Again, it’s critical that we keep the user in mind and design a simple, appealing and intuitive website that fulfills their specific needs.