UI/UX Design

UX and Healthcare Websites – Balancing Form and Function

In digital marketing, when a new website design is proposed, a battle typically occurs between the internal departments of design, development, and SEO. The team must execute a design that will balance design and development or form and function. However, when a website is intended for medical purposes, the user experience needs to change, and the design now has a different set of objectives.

A medical website needs to fulfill diverse and complex functions based on the visitor and their intent. Designers must create an engaging website that immediately conveys empathy and comfort while at the same time projects authority and trustworthiness. Just as a patient wouldn’t visit a doctor’s office that had a frightening or unclean appearance, they’ll be less likely to trust a website that looks old and outdated. Medical websites also need to place an increased emphasis on accessibility and ADA compliance or users with disabilities.

To put it plainly, medical websites aren’t like other websites. While the initial approach to its development and even the end-user goals might be the same, a medical website occupies a particular niche, so knowing who your target audience is and what they’re looking for is critical.

How to Define Your Primary Audience

When creating content and campaigns, a marketing team will develop a persona to have a clear idea of who their ideal customer is, established by carefully curated demographic data, interests, shopping habits, and other information. This customer then sees a custom-tailored campaign based on this information across various mediums.

For a medical website, though, there can be several distinctly different target personas – each of whom will visit the site with specific intent. So, when you create a new medical website, you need to answer these questions about your audience to begin building your ideal persona:

  1. Is the visitor there to research a particular disorder?
  2. Is the visitor a caregiver, searching for answers regarding the well-being and safeguarding of a loved one at home?
  3. Is the visitor a family member who’s relative was diagnosed with an ailment about which they are trying to learn more?
  4. Is the visitor a doctor or other medical professional who wants to refer a patient to the site for more information about their illness?

In the early stages of medical website development, answering these questions can provide much-needed control over the end product’s direction and focus. Other questions you should have answers to before designing your site include:

  • Is your website going to be patient or doctor-focused?
  • Is it going to become a general resource center about a particular condition?
  • Are you going to need to create a login portal for patients or healthcare providers?

Incorporating Design into User Experience

With medical websites, emotions become a vital component of the design, and savvy designers leverage the psychology of color to establish and guide a website experience. Beginning with a welcoming front page, you are preparing your visitor for what they can expect as they navigate your site… much in the same way that a doctor’s office sets a tone with a warm, compassionate atmosphere. Here is the next set of questions that you need to answer:

  • How does one site accommodate so many different potential visitor personas?
  • How do you organize your site so that a patient or doctor will immediately know they’re on the right website?

The content and design team must highly organize a medical website to serve various personas to provide a positive user experience. The design and search optimization team work together to create an organized content layout defined by each persona. Many medical websites have specific landing pages for patients, doctors, families, and general information so that a visitor can immediately decide where to begin their visit. Incorporating concerns such as these can make all the difference in a user’s visit.

Since Google recently incorporated user experience into its core algorithm as a ranking factor, we cannot overstate a user’s visit quality. In addition to the SEO ranking factor – if you run a paid search campaign – user experience and page quality can help keep ad costs down as Google Ads incorporates these factors into its quality score.

Trust the Medical Website Experts

Whether you are a new doctor or an existing medical group looking to grow, when it’s time to develop a new website for your practice, turn to the experienced medical marketing team at Efferent Media. In our tenth year, we specialize in marketing campaigns that meet our clients’ needs and assist their customers along every step of the sales journey. Our medical marketing programs include website design, lead nurturing, paid search, and SEO. To discuss your practice and learn how we can help you meet your goals, call our team today at (631) 867-0900 or drop us a line. We look forward to working with you!

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