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Website design4 min read Healthcare website design: How to make your services directory user-friendly

Here are four common mistakes we see with services directories on healthcare websites—and tips for fixing them.

August 6, 2020Jennifer Garza, Digital Content Analyst, GAIC

Your service pages are some of the most important content on your healthcare website. When someone has a specific healthcare need, your service pages tell them how you can help and how to get in touch with you. Your services directory is the gateway to this information.

A well-organized and consumer-friendly services directory can help people quickly find just what they're looking for—and maybe even show them related options that they weren't aware of.

A poorly organized directory can leave people frustrated, confused and headed to your competitor's website.

Here's a look at some of the most common services directory mistakes—and ways to fix them.

4 common service page organization mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Mistake 1: Grouping services based on your internal department structure

It's common for healthcare websites to group services together based on the department they're provided by. This method seems like a no-brainer from the organization's perspective. And it can work when the various services are all clearly and closely related. But, in other cases, it can make services difficult for people to find.

A service this often happens with is sleep medicine. This service can sometimes be offered by the neurology department or the respiratory therapy department. But putting the sleep medicine page under one of those categories will mean that people need to know how your departments are organized to find the information they need.

A better option: Organize services based on how a healthcare consumer would expect to find them. If it's important for people to know that a service is physically located within another department, you can note that on the page itself.

Mistake 2: Listing services by their formal naming conventions

Many healthcare organizations have care centers with proper names. Some might be named after an influential community member (e.g. the "Jane Smith Cancer Center") while others may have been dubbed with special branding (e.g. an urgent care clinic named the "Convenient Care Center").

Using these official names in a services directory can make it difficult for people to find what they're looking for. That's because people tend to be impatient when searching websites. They scan quickly, often reading just the first words of items in a list in search of specific keywords. That means if someone is on your site in search of cancer information they might pass right over a "Jane Smith Cancer Center" listing without realizing that it's what they're trying to find.

A better option: Make lists friendly for scanning eyes. List services according to their most recognizable term (Cancer, Urgent Care, etc.) You can use a service's official name on the page itself. If you're wondering what the most recognizable term will be for consumers (should you list "Diagnostic Imaging" or "Imaging"?) you can perform keyword research to see what words people in your area use when they search.

Mistake 3: Putting all service pages in one alphabetical list

A services directory arranged alphabetically—this sounds reasonable, right? Much of the time it is. But don't get so rigid with this rule that it stops you from doing what makes sense from a site visitor's perspective.

The issue here is when closely related services like "heart care" and "cardiac catheterization" get listed separately. When someone visits your heart services content they're going to assume that everything they need about this topic is listed there. If some pages are found elsewhere people might miss them. This approach can also result in a cluttered services directory.

A better option: Group subservices under their main service line. We know this might sound like it contradicts what we told you above about not organizing services by department. It can help to think about it from the perspective of the patient journey. Ask yourself whether grouping services together creates a barrier to patients finding what they need or if it puts related information together in a logical way.

Mistake 4: Using aliases that lead to the same page

Occasionally, there's more than one way to refer to the same service line. For example, "behavioral health," "mental health" and "psychiatry" could all potentially refer to the same service. It's tempting to cover all of your bases in your site's services directory by offering each of those terms in the alphabetical list and pointing them towards the same service page.

The trouble is that you have to pick just one of those terms when you title the page. But this creates a confusing and frustrating user experience for a visitor who went looking for psychiatry services and landed on a behavioral health page.

Using aliases can clutter your services directory, making it more cumbersome to navigate.

A better option: Give each service line one name in the services directory. You can always conduct more keyword research if you're struggling to decide on only one.

Get help with website architecture

Structuring a healthcare website is a big undertaking. Coffey has the experience you need to get the job done right.

Our team can design your healthcare website with a site structure that's clean, easy to navigate, and well organized for both your internal team and your site visitors. Call 888.805.9101 or email us to learn how we can help.