When creating a website, every user experience (UX) designer considers exactly who the audience is, what their needs are, and what we’d like them to do. This is especially true when developing websites focused on patient populations. Hiring a UX designer who specializes in patient websites isn’t mandatory as long as a few standards are taken into account.
Content appearance. More than most types of websites, the page geared toward patients should be as clean as possible. This includes taking steps to optimize user experience such as:
- Formatting the content into concise paragraphs
- Using bullets to draw a reader’s eye to important information, and to break up the monotony of paragraph after paragraph
- Separating paragraphs with high-quality photos, again to break up an overwhelming amount of text
- Keeping the content short and easy to understand, without too much medical jargon
- Employing explanations of medical terms and possible side effects
Accessibility compliance. The need to be compliant with accessibility guidelines isn’t necessarily breaking news, but unfortunately, it is often an oversight. When designing and developing a patient-facing website, it’s best to research what special needs the users and what that might mean in terms of requirements. For instance, high contrast colors, a larger font size than the recommended standard for body copy, and larger buttons would be desirable for patients over 60 years old or who might have trouble with their vision. There is an endless number of plugins and widgets a developer can use to verify compliance – which also add functionality to sites, such as custom logo positioning, highlighting all links, or removing duplicate title tags for the vision impaired.
Hero image with a call to action. The hero image on the homepage with a catchy yet to-the-point headline should be followed with a clear call-to-action in the form of a button. By specifically telling the user what they are there for and what they need to do eliminates irrelevant traffic and improves overall click-through-rate.
Ease of use. If the patient-facing site includes a survey, questionnaire, or an extensive form, using some kind of progress bar is recommended. Indicating how far along one is in a survey is not only appreciated by a user, but will also decrease the rate of abandonment and the number of incomplete submissions. The same concept applies if the site is in a single-page style with an extensive amount of information. A sticky navigation that remains at the top of the browser window as the viewer scrolls highlighting each section or allows the user to quickly jump to a section helps with comprehension – and ensures the amount of content doesn’t overwhelm the audience.
Mobile-friendly. The preferential use of a mobile device over the traditional desktop or laptop will only continue to grow. That said, testing every element, whether it’s a button, image, or paragraph on every page and everything in-between, to ensure that it scales and flows appropriately is a must. The information that is most valuable needs to remain “above the fold” – visible at the top of the page without scrolling. These elements include the headline and subhead, as well as the call-to-action button.
Ready to implement UX for patient websites?
If you want to make sure that your next study includes the recommended elements of UX for patient websites, contact Praxis today. We’re skilled at creating attractive and intuitive sites for a range of uses.