A strong website design is crucial across all industries, but we find it has a particularly important place in healthcare. A patient’s journey can take them down a variety of paths, such as primary care, telehealth or emergency services. All of these journeys contain different considerations, questions, priorities and barriers that the website experience must address.
From the content on the page to the layout of design, each element carries significant weight and should be optimized to effectively reach and convert prospective patients. From HonorHealth to Barrow Brain & Spine, American Vision Partners to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and more, our extensive experience has given us ample opportunities to become experts in the patient journey and digital experiences for healthcare clients.. Dive deeper into these patient findings when you explore this nation-wide survey we conducted last year.
As your healthcare marketing agency of choice and strategic partner, we compiled the top five best practices to follow for your next healthcare website design.
In 2020, over 60% of US website visits were from mobile devices. Regardless of your industry, building a mobile-friendly website is vital for both users and your Google ranking. When Google indexes your site, it is actually indexing the mobile version.
Not only is a responsive, mobile-friendly website vital to your SEO and search engine ranking, it also meets potential patients where they are: on their phones. While not all patient journeys are on mobile, specific ones like urgent care and virtual care research certainly are. On a mobile device, elements such as location tracking and native camera abilities make it easy to find an urgent care provider close by or speak with a doctor immediately via telehealth services.
Going a step beyond online presence and mobile websites, creating apps for a more seamless patient experience upgrades you from mobile-friendly to mobile-first—and all parts of this mobile-focused spectrum have their place. While there are still many patients searching from their desktops, we know that mobile-focused design will future proof your operations.
When developing a medical website design, a very important thing to keep top of mind is page load speed. We’ve all been there with that slow, sticky site that just won’t load, no matter how good the Wifi is. Well, this is more than just a user nuisance these days—it can severely affect your SEO and page ranking.
When Google indexes sites to rank within search results pages, it is looking at a number of variables. One of those variables is the page load speed. This is part of Core Web Vitals, which show how pages perform and measure loading performance, interactivity and visual stability. Since Core Web Vitals point to the user experience and how to improve it, it is increasingly important to Google ranking.
Despite the technical benefit of a fast page load speed, it’s also key to consider the patient here. Patient and patient do not mean the same thing in this scenario, and patient patients can be hard to come by. When scoping out healthcare providers, many users will likely dismiss any websites that take too long to load, regardless of the quality of care.
Around 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before exiting a slow site. You may have the best care facilities in your region, but with a slow website, you could lose 40% of your potential patients before they ever set foot in your office.
Curious to find out if your current page load speed is bearable? Test it now.
The term “easy to navigate” has nuanced meanings these days. Traditionally, the three-click rule has prevailed; ensuring your user can get where they want to go in just three clicks. Some websites use their navigation to make this a reality, but that can quickly become overwhelming. Since we’re innovators when it comes to our strategies and practices, we believe understanding who your audience is supersedes things like the three-click rule.
At the core of every web project we do in the agency, the customer, or in the case of healthcare, the patient, comes first. Eric Doolan, VP of Digital Production, believes web pages should find a balance between elegance and content, while always aiming to understand user intent. We prioritize curating an experience patients truly want, then let the technical implementations follow. We found that leading with bells, whistles and technical capabilities only to end up simply backfilling content as an afterthought leaves much to be desired by potential customers along their journey.
Additionally, healthcare web designs should be visually appealing, with interesting design elements, proper font size, inclusive imagery and other user experience features that all potential patients can enjoy and relate to.
Two big factors to consider when defining a healthcare content strategy are 1) fear factor and 2) ease of process. By including a variety of educational content on a healthcare website, such as guides, blogs, videos, protocols, or FAQs, these two factors can be addressed and mitigated before a patient ever enters the office.
Many prospective patients get nervous about going to see a doctor. They are afraid of bad news or the unknown, so they avoid medical professionals altogether. To combat this and improve the overall experience, digital educational materials for patients can lessen anxieties and increase comfortability. This also makes the introductory process easier. Alleviating anxieties and answering questions before an appointment means patients are arriving confident, with a clear picture of what to expect.
To stand out from other healthcare organizations, VP of Content Marketing, Hannah Tooker, recommends incorporating a distinct personal touch to healthcare websites. Whether this is giving potential patients the opportunity to explore content in a personal way or creating content that is unique to different needs, patients want to feel a sense of connection from their medical professionals. They should feel certain that they will be cared for as an individual, whole person when it comes time for actual treatment. The more healthcare organizations can start that journey online, the more connected patients will feel.
See how we created a patient-centered approach in NextCare Urgent Care’s website design.
Privacy and security are paramount for patients these days, especially when it comes to their medical data. This means development must result in an HTTPS website where important information is protected.
This layer of security prevents anyone from tampering with your website or from attempting to reach your users on their browsers, protecting both ends of the interaction. HTTPS uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt web page requests, staying ahead of malicious attacks or scam attempts.
Additionally, creating an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliant website means you’re creating a healthcare website design that all patients can access, regardless of disability. This includes paying careful attention to certain design elements, like color contrast, readability, image alt text and easy maneuverability for individuals using assistive technology like keyboards or screen readers.
In every website design performed by LT, we build in ADA Compliance considerations to our work and aim for 80% or higher scores on all web spaces we create.
In addition to our years of previous experience in the industry, we are also looking ahead and seeing the major shifts within the healthcare space. While traditional hospitals, urgent care services and doctors offices will always have their place, the paradigm of healthcare is changing. Patients are wanting more from their journey. They’re wanting medical professionals who care about their long-term health, their mental health, their holistic health. Gone are the days of simply waiting for symptoms to arise and treating as you go. Additionally, telehealth options are increasingly available, and sometimes preferred, even as the post-pandemic world returns to “normal”.
So, while it is important for all of us to acknowledge where we’ve been, it’s even more important to be forward-thinking and look to the next frontier of healthcare. Your online presence, website and digital marketing are all reflections of this. How can you show your patients that you’re leading them into the next generation of healthcare services?
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Have a specific marketing objective? Not sure where you need help? Whatever your needs are, we can help you achieve your business goals, increase leads or conversions and craft a sustainable strategy that will serve you for the long-term.
We’re proud of our client roster and the work we’ve done for them. Every project is an opportunity to meet new challenges and embrace boldness that truly stands out in the saturated digital market.