5 elements users are looking for from healthcare websites

On a scale of one to five, one being certain a website visitor would not find your healthcare website useful and five being certain they would, what number would you assign your current website? If you’ve chosen a number between one and four, perhaps it’s time to revamp your website strategy. 

Exceptional web design is essential for potential patients to find you, as five percent of all Google searches are health-related. This roughly amounts to around 100 billion health searches per year. Since users are already looking for organizations like yours, you should cater to their needs and expectations. 

Although each user is searching for a different health-related answer, they all expect to find reliable resources. In this guide, we’ll cover the top five elements you can incorporate into your website strategy to exceed user expectations. Let’s begin!

1. Responsiveness 

When visitors click on your website, they expect a speedy load time. In fact, a page’s bounce rate increases by 90% when load time increases from one to five seconds. This is especially important to keep in mind when considering a user’s physical and emotional state, as healthcare searchers can be anxious or feel physically unwell. 

To keep your site responsive, incorporate these best practices:

  • Optimize image files. Compress images before uploading and use the correct file formats that offer optimum compression. For example, WebP can offer enhanced compression in comparison to JPEG or PNG. 
  • Use browser caching. Store web page resources locally to make it quicker for returning users to access your site. 
  • Audit your linking strategy. Links that lead to 404 error codes or unoptimized pages not only hurt your site’s SEO performance but also contribute to a poor user experience. Audit your links regularly to ensure they lead to their intended location.

These tasks can be easily completed using a robust content management system. Systems such as Drupal offer an exceptional option to keep back-end data clean while maintaining a user-friendly interface. These systems also provide built-in browser caching and image compression, enabling you to quickly update your site without the need for extensive coding knowledge. 

2. Contact information

Often, online users are ready to book an appointment as soon as they land on your site. Make this process easy for them by clearly providing your contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses. 

For instance, Kanopi’s roundup of top healthcare website design examples highlights the Cleveland Clinic’s intuitive navigation. This clinic has over 300 locations and has adopted a dedicated location filter that lets users filter by specialty, location, and service type. Therefore, a user wanting to test for COVID-19 could book a Covid Testing Appointment by service type at the most convenient location for them. 

If your practice also offers virtual appointments, make it easy for users to identify and schedule virtual visits online or receive a virtual second opinion. For users who are unsure of where to seek care, clearly explain the main differences between your services (primary care, virtual care, urgent, emergency, etc.), so they can make an informed decision. 

3. Branding and trust signals

The look and feel of your healthcare website greatly contributes to visitors’ perception as most people form an opinion about your organization within 50 milliseconds. Nail your first impression by including elements that enhance your credibility. These include:

  • Reviews and testimonials, such as patient reviews and third-party testimonials, indicate your organization’s expertise and high level of care. 
  • Services and specializations that outline the scope of the organization’s offerings with accompanying medical staff qualifications and specializations. 
  • Professional design that includes a clean, user-friendly interface with a logical layout; a cluttered and outdated look can cause visitors to question your organization’s validity. 
  • Clear branding that prominently displays your organization’s logo, tagline, and brand colors. Webpages with cohesive branding put visitors’ minds at ease. 

To start refreshing your website’s trust indicators, ensure your homepage, header, and footer include clear navigation and branding signals. This will communicate your healthcare practice’s value from the get-go while keeping your main site touchpoints responsive and well-branded. 

On the other hand, if you’re unsure where to start or feel that your site could use a more extensive rebrand, consider reaching out to healthcare web design professionals for expert strategy tips. They can help you strategically build brand awareness by incorporating the top-notch branding and responsive design users expect. 

4. Intuitive navigation

No one wants to spend additional time sifting through a poorly designed site, especially when they are sick or urgently need health information. Combat this by including intuitive site navigation to make it easy for all types of website audiences to find what they are looking for quickly. Ensure clear navigation by incorporating:

  • Breadcrumb and sticky navigation. Breadcrumb navigation gives users a trail of their navigation history, allowing them to backtrack to previous pages if needed. Sticky navigation keeps the navigation bar visible at the top or side of the page at all times to prevent excessive scrolling. 
  • Mobile-friendliness. Ensure your content loads quickly on mobile devices. Consider incorporating a collapsible menu or optimizing touch targets for easy navigation. You can use tools like Lighthouse to double-check your mobile navigation. 
  • An advanced search function. Incorporate a symptom checker to proactively answer visitors’ health questions. For example, the Mayo Clinic enables visitors to search by disease or condition to find more information. 
  • Clear labels and CTAs. Use descriptive menu labels that indicate exactly what page or feature they lead to. CTA (call to action) buttons like “Book an appointment” or “View our locations” are essential for leading users to the right place. 

In addition, if your organization relies on donations to fund research or keep your doors open, NXUnite’s healthcare website guide suggests using a clear call to action for site visitors to donate. Doing so will enable more people to give without too much digging. 

5. Succinct and reliable health information

71% of patients will search for a new provider if a website lacks information. And, with a lot of unreliable health information circling the web, your website’s content needs to be as updated and informative as possible. With this in mind, it’s important to craft user-friendly content that effectively answers common health questions. 

For instance, your site could include patient resources that cover general wellness tips, cancer prevention and care, or fitness and rehabilitation center locations. Of course, the types of resources you provide will depend on your specialties. Just be sure to maintain a regular publishing schedule, incorporate accurate statistics, and cite research to give your resources credibility. 

Other helpful resources you can include involve health-related classes and events or tips on how to prepare for a patient visit. These elements will encourage patients to trust your site’s expertise and take the next step, whether that’s completing health research or booking an appointment. 

Arguably, your healthcare website is your organization’s most important marketing tool for expanding your online visibility. By anticipating what your online visitors are looking for, you can structure your site in a way that consistently brings value. Follow these five best practices to enhance your current site and upgrade your user experience.

Anne Stefanyk

Anne Stefanyk

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions. Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.