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Monday, March 09, 2015

Inspiring action: How your hospital's website design can help people get things done

Steve Portas, Web Designer

People come to your hospital's website to take action. Maybe they want to find your location, search for a service, check visiting hours or look up a healthcare provider. These are some of the most common reasons healthcare consumers visit a hospital website.

How can you help them?

Show your online visitors what they're looking for and how to get there. For starters, that means clear wording to help guide them—from links to lists.

It also means you need a good design to highlight those words and make the site easy to navigate.

To help people take action, here are 4 things a well-designed website needs:

1. Quick load times. A consumer with a burning question will appreciate a page that pops up right away. According to Google, "fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention and conversions."

If your site doesn't load fast, people might just click away before they see your content. A well-built website will have pages that load quickly, so when people come to your site with a question, they won't have to wait for the answer.

2. Visual impact. Researchers at the Nielsen Norman Group suggest that the average website page visit lasts for about a minute. People click on your site—and the clock starts ticking.

How can you make them stay?

Moving graphics, dynamic photos and colorful text can all help grab attention and keep people engaged. Web designers can use these elements on a single page to enhance a key message and throughout the site to keep people clicking for more. Just remember: If these features are overdone or aren't implemented properly, they could make pages load slowly.

It's also a good idea to update these visuals regularly with new content and promotions. That will give your website a fresh look when people visit again.

3. White space. Graphic elements that surprise and delight have even more power when they're given room to breathe. By surrounding key elements with white space, web designers craft pages that feel inviting and comfortable. When your visitors land there, they'll be more inclined to stick around, read and act.

4. Clear navigation. Straightforward paths and strategic linking can keep people on your site longer. It's about easing the way—so visitors can find what they're looking for and stay engaged.

For example, say someone comes to your site by following a link to a story about an award won by one of your top neurologists. After reading, the person would like to make an appointment to see this physician. Clear links to the appointment desk—put at the top of the page and the end of your story—can be a huge help. And readers of this story should also be able to easily find a full list of your neurology services, see this award-winning doc's full bio or read other news stories.

Does your website inspire action?

Is your website as user-friendly as it could be? Coffey can help you find out. Call 888.805.9101 or send us an email to schedule an audit of your website's design and functionality.


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