Healthcare Website Design Trends
There is no medium more effective than a website when it comes to displaying and sharing information about your business. By combining the right words, images and a user-friendly design, a new healthcare website can bring in more clients and make your business more credible.
How your healthcare website is designed, the look and feel, will have a huge impact on how effective it will be as a marketing tool. Users will judge your website after only visiting for a few seconds – deciding if they want to click around to learn more, or move on to a competitors site where they had a better first impression. What is especially critical with healthcare web design is making sure your website as user friendly as possible. Governments are going to greater lengths to create minimum standards, including the introduction of legislation that requires healthcare web design will ensure people with ailments and disabilities are still able to use a healthcare website effectively.
An example of this is the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which requires websites to allow users to select optional text size increases and prohibits the use of certain colors and animations.
Local & Mobile
One of the most important digital healthcare marketing trends is to make sure that websites are responsive, and look great on all devices. A responsive healthcare website design will automatically adjust its dimensions depending on device type and resolution size. This allows the site to be viewed across many platforms such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers, without losing formatting and functionality.
In the United States, mobile traffic grew over 120% in 2014 and is expected to increase ten-fold by 2019. Over 90% of people own a mobile phone, over 55% of people own a smartphone, and over half of smartphone users use their phone as their primary source of accessing the Internet. If your healthcare website design is not responsive and mobile friendly, users will find it difficult to find the information they are looking for.
A popular trend found in most responsive websites is a “Hamburger Menu” (because it looks like a hamburger!). Potential clients who use smartphones will easily recognize this as the way to Navigate your healthcare website to find the information that they are looking for.
The hamburger menu above expands when clicked to reveal the different sections of the website
Google also cares not only about what device you are using, but also where you are using it. If you operate a medical office it is imperative that your website is optimized for the areas you operate or treat patients. Taking this a step further, if you are a national or international company it’s possible to detect where a user is coming from and you can dynamically change the content on the website to reflect the users Geo location. This is great if you offered different services in different locations or having different operating hours at each of your locations.
Another popular marketing trend for healthcare websites are “Hero Images.” Gone are the days when everything needed to be above the fold. With the popularity of mobile devices and decreasing attention spans, users are more accustomed to scrolling then they have been in the past. By incorporating Hero Images into your healthcare web design it’s easier to grab the users attention and entice them to click your call-to-action, which we touch on in the next section.
The hero image above is aesthetically pleasing and gives the user a quick glimpse of what the site is about.
Speaking of clicks, how do we get users to digest your information and coerce them into contacting you? Calls-to-Action are tools used by digital marketers to entice users to complete an action – such as filling out a consultation form, or downloading an information package on a new type of treatment. A popular trend found on most websites is natively inserting these call-to actions around the content. Doing it this way makes it more natural and less ‘spammy’ as seen with pop-up ads and windows in the past.
Using animation in website design is a great way to not only make your healthcare website more eye-catching and aesthetically appealing, but also a great way to create user interactions on the site. A few popular animations found on websites today include:
- Loading Animations
- Menu Animations
- Galleries and Slide Show Animations
- Scrolling and Background Animations
- Motion Animations
The example above illustrates how using animations can positively impact UX design
The most important aspect of a healthcare website is the contact page, because after all, your goal is to generate qualified leads so you can turn them into paying customers. The contact page should prominently display a phone number, and even better, is if the phone number is clickable so that users on a mobile phone can easily call the office directly from your website. The contact page should have a fillable form that users can easily fill out to contact the business. Unless your website is encrypted with an SSL certificate you must insert a disclaimer on your contact form telling users not to share any personal information as this is against HIPAA guidelines. Sensitive information such as health records and credit card information must be kept safe from people with malicious intent. An SSL certificate will ensure your website appear more credible to search engines, which will result in more traffic coming to your website - we will explore this further in the section below.
People are more distracted than ever and are leading busier lives. In order to get potential patients or customers to engage with your website, you need to have media content that will interest them enough to stay. Whether through a procedure demonstration or video testimonial from a patient, videos are one of, if not the best way to effectively deliver your message and value to customers.
- 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% of people watch online videos every single day.
- Videos account for over 50% of all Internet traffic, and it’s expected to be 80% of all Internet traffic by 2018.
- Over half of digital marketing experts name video marketing as the content type with the largest return on investment.
If you want to learn more about video marketing check out our post on video marketing trends for healthcare.
Automation & Online Portals
Business and marketing automation is a key trend to follow and it relates to website design in the way that companies and clinics implement processes online to save both time and money. By reducing the amount of time on administrative tasks during face to face time with patients and clients, your physicians and employees will have more time to focus on patient care and treatment.
- Secure File Upload: Giving patients the option to upload in-take forms and insurance information via an encrypted connection. A lot of clinics do this using simple contact forms which is a huge privacy violation. Most of the popular medical record
- Live Chat: Giving patients and clients the ability to live chat with an employee during business hours to answer simple questions and schedule appointments. Your receptionist can now have several conversations going on at once while also being on the phone.
- Online Payment: Giving patients and clients the option to pay online. Automatic billing can be set up for recurring services which even further reduces administrative duties
These elements should be easily accessible on your website from all pages, usually in the title bar (area above your main navigation) or the footer (the bottom of the page). If you are using a medical record and scheduling software it would be a waste of resources to not incorporate it into your website design strategy. This is usually done using a patient portal. It’s possible to take this patient portal a step further by incorporating things like individualized treatment plans and monitoring patient progress.
Now that you have a healthcare web design that is both aesthetically pleasing and user friendly, how are people going to find it?
Healthcare Search Engine Optimization
A study from the Pew Research states that 72 percent of Americans accessed the internet in the past year specifically for healthcare related information. 77 percent of that same group said their research started at a search engine (such as Google or Bing).
Search engine optimization (SEO) is both a tool and concept that digital marketers use to make your healthcare website standout to search engines. Since a majority of people use the Internet to find information (especially younger generations who are also making decisions for their elder relatives) it is very important that your healthcare website comes up on the first page of Google when people make searches related to your products and services.
Search engine optimization trends have changed drastically over the past few years – getting a good rank used to be as simple as buying a few links and watching the traffic roll in. This practice is now heavily frowned upon and websites using these tactics can be “banned” or “penalized” by Google if caught. We are now seeing the rise of “White Hat” SEO where websites are only rewarded for regularly producing great content such as blogs, videos, infographics, case studies, etc. Other important SEO trends include having a responsive website, being active on social media, and obtaining legitimate links from authoritative websites.
A great way to build legitimate links for your healthcare website while also building awareness and credibility in your industry is through guest posting. The process behind guest posting includes finding a blog or news site that regularly posts content that is similar to, or compliments the products and services that your company offers. Physicians are very often sought after to provide guest posts because there are an abundance of healthcare, fitness, and wellness blogs but a very limited number of doctors who blog regularly. People are very receptive and trusting when it comes to information provided by a physician – it adds an extra layer of credibility.
After developing relationships with bloggers and news sites within your niche, it becomes much easier to get these organizations to organically share and link back to articles found on your own healthcare website because you have built up awareness and credibility surrounding this niche. These links will further boost your Search Engine Optimization efforts.