Effective Patient Engagement
Anatomy of a Great Medical Website Design -
Series (1 of 5)
What makes a medical website great? Many things, but it's best to start with an effective Home Page. The Home Page must immediately engage visitors and convey professionalism to visitor. The entire website must be visually interesting and visitors should be able to determine the website’s general navigation at first glance.
This needs to happen within about three (3) seconds. With the exception of direct visitors to your website that might be seeking to scheduling an appointment or access the patient portal, three seconds is the attention interval afforded to a Home Page when found on Google, Yahoo! and Bing. If your visitor is not impressed, or if they cannot figure out the website navigation, you can bet they will move on to the next search result.
Engaging Visitors with the Home Page
For practice websites, motion and animation play an important role. Movement within the range of eyesight – especially on the peripheral edge – instinctively focuses a visitor's attention on the motion, and a visitor will typically wait to see not only what has happened, but what is likely to occur next. The three second wait period is short, but in that brief interval a visitor is able to quickly process two other items that make for an effective Home Page.
Visuals – Professionalism & Decorum
Still working within this three second gap, the visitor also considers if the resulting website's appearance is within, or exceeds, their internal expectations. Visuals on the Home Page convey a sense to visitors of whether a practice is large or small, if it’s efficient and businesslike, or friendly and comfortable. Each practice needs to define its likely audience and select an appropriate style.
Examples: The Home Page of a pediatric website might want to demonstrate that the doctors and staff understand children and will make them comfortable as patients. Primary colors, such as red, blue, yellow and green, together with stock photos of happy children at play, work well in this example.
A website for an oncologist is vastly different. Because cancer is often a life-threatening disease, the Home Page of an oncological practice should communicate to the visitor that they have landed on the site of a serious medical practice that means business in treating this disease. Oncology websites should simultaneously demonstrate empathy too, so color combinations of light greys, and muted pink conveys compassion. Light blue is effective in presenting a business-like appearance.
Websites directed towards women – OBGYN and cosmetic surgery practices – should consider the use of feminine colors such as pinks mixed with teal. Obstetricians might employ the use of expectant mothers and newborn babies within their animated banner images.
When selecting stock images, photographs of the typical patient you are expecting to see are often the most effective. Those, in combination with photos that show a healthcare provider attending or consulting with the typical patient, are great selections. These can be used throughout the website since they are effective in demonstrating compassion, concern and direct interaction with patients.
Better yet -- engage the services of a professional photographer who can take pictures of the providers, staff and facilities. It's always better to have your own pictures whenever possible, so long as they look good and match up well with any stock photography. Staff members who are not likely to be profiled on the website can fill in as patients. Just be sure to get the necessary releases from your staff for the use of their images.
General Navigation - Quick & To the Point
Another important function of the Home Page is to present visitors with an understandable menu that includes shortcuts to specific areas of the website. Since a practice website is ultimately comprised of many different pages – doctor and staff biographies, patient education content, patient portal, medical history forms, etc. – it’s important that visitors immediately understand how to navigate the site. A great medical website will establish a navigation trail with multiple ways for the visitor to explore the website. Icons and other graphics that lead directly to frequently accessed pages and also very helpful.
Interested in Learning More About Website Design for Medical Professionals? Contact Dr. Leonardo Today.
For more information, contact Dr. Leonardo today. We can also be reached directly at 516-586-1300.