In the past, website design was often an afterthought. As this school of thought changed, so did the scope of how websites in general looked. The trend turned to pages that were wide with huge visuals. This meant that monitors had to evolve from the small boxy monitors we used to have to the wider monitors we have today.
When users began to use their smartphones and tablets for web searches, everything changed again—and not always for the better. Websites were handled one of two ways: 1) copy was deconstructed, content was downsized, and typically photos were eliminated altogether or 2) businesses failed to accommodate mobile devices at all.
Today, however, things have changed again. Three-quarters of web searches take place on either a smartphone or a tablet. This means that everyone from big businesses to your local doctor’s office should plan their websites with mobile viewing in mind.
Designing for Mobile First
The last thing your medical practice wants to do is to chase away potential patients with a website they can’t navigate if they’re using a mobile device to locate and/or research your medical office. In order to ensure everyone who researches your practice is covered, make sure that whoever designs your website designs with your mobile users in mind from the beginning, not as an afterthought.
Moreover, it is also important that your mobile website isn’t so far removed from your desktop site that your brand is lost. Your goal should be for your potential patients to be able to view either website and instantly be able to tell that the two websites are for the same practice.
When you’re designing your medical website, it’s important to be thoughtful about the placement of the most commonly looked for page elements, like the menu button and contact information. For desktop sites, the menu button is located at the top of the home page and at the top of the subsequent pages of the website. Likewise, the contact information is typically found at the bottom of the page.
To save space on mobile sites, many developers use what’s called a “sticky menu,” which becomes visible any time your visitor scrolls upward. This sticky menu typically contains the most vital information, like the practice’s name, a stacked menu icon for quick access to specific parts of the website, and a direct link to the practice’s phone. Again, to save space, when the visitor scrolls down, the menu disappears.
The importance of including pictures on a business’s website is widely known. This is just as true (if not more so) for medical practices. Not only can adding photos help show how specific treatments works—for example dermatology practices who use IPL for broken capillaries and age spots—but adding photos of the physicians in the practice can help patients feel more at ease.
Websites that utilize numerous photos on their mobile website need to take care to ensure that the images are optimized so that the page(s) don’t take too long to load.
Ready to design your medical website? Read our four tips on how to make it successful.