Website Design for Health Professionals
Your health practice’s website is often the first impression you make on patients. Here’s what you need to know about website design for health professionals.
Research by yext found that 76.3% of people looking for an individual healthcare provider did so online.
This should be a wake-up call — website design for health professionals is a crucial part of the buying process. It’s your first impression, the first step in turning the visitor into a patient.
But healthcare websites come with some unique challenges that aren’t faced by businesses in other fields. This should be reflected all the way through your website design, whether that’s structure, content, colors, or your choice of images.
Confused? Don’t worry — by the end of this post you’ll know everything you need to know. Let’s get started…
Develop a Brand Identity
Your brand is not a logo. It’s not a color scheme. This is part of it, but your brand is more than that.
To your customers, it’s your personification. It shows them what to expect from you and is a key part of their buying process.
To you, your brand is your oracle, your grounding principle. It’s a key aspect of website design for health professionals — or any other business, for that matter. If you don’t already have a clear idea of your brand identity, then getting one should be the first thing you do.
Start by defining your mission statement. What are you trying to achieve with your business? Who are you trying to help, how, and why? What impression do you want to leave on people? Try to sum this up in a sentence.
Keep your mission and the answers to these questions in mind when making any further design decisions. When faced with a design problem, just ask yourself — which option most exemplifies my brand?
After this analysis, a shortened version of your mission statement can be very useful for business branding. You can use it as a tagline on your website, business card, and other marketing materials, so that your customers know what you’re all about instantly.
Identify Trends in Website Design for Health Professionals
There’s a time and a place to be radical in creative pursuits. Website design for health professionals isn’t one of those times.
If you’re a design agency, nightclub, or a fashion brand, it might be in your interests to stand out from the crowd with a quirky, out-there design. It would show you are creative, unique, and adventurous.
But think about it — if you were looking for someone to remove your spleen, would you want them to do that in a creative, unique, and adventurous way? Probably not! You’d want someone who reliably follows the known, tried, and tested procedures.
Your design should reflect this.
Go to Google and look up some other sites in the healthcare field. You can find many such sites in healthcare directories, and if you get stuck, you can find more here.
This research will give you a feel for the trends, both in healthcare sites in general, and competing sites in your niche. Use it to inform your design choices.
There’s a tricky balance to be achieved here — while you do want to stand out from the crowd to some degree, you don’t want to go so far that you lose credibility and authority.
Which Colors Should You Choose?
Okay, so we’re following the crowd when it comes to design. What’s the crowd up to, then?
Business websites match the color scheme of the logo (for brand consistency). So, a great way to see what the color trends are in website design for health professionals is to analyze their logos.
Design brokers 99designs did just that. They analyzed 900 healthcare websites and looked for commonalities in their color schemes.
They found that leading brands in the healthcare industry used the following colors:
- Blue (85%)
- White (36%)
- Green (22%)
- Red (22%)
- Black (17%)
Further analysis revealed that most of the logos with red in them were retail business — pharmacies and the like. This, plus the fact that red is often associated with blood and danger, means we can probably exclude that one.
That leaves blue, white, green and black as your primary choices. Let’s call these the “Core 4.” Stay close to these colors unless you have very strong reasons not to.
Are there ever times when colors beyond the Core 4 are appropriate? Sure! The key word here is “appropriate” — it depends on what niche you’re in.
- If you’re a pediatric doctor, it might be more appropriate to include brighter, more playful colors that stray from the Core 4.
- If you deal with women’s health issues exclusively, a soft pink might be appropriate.
- If you’re a provider of alternative healthcare services, you might try purple, as it is often associated with spirituality.
- Other colors could be used successfully as secondary or accent colors. For example, you could choose, white, three shades of blue, and a shade of yellow as a five-color palette.
Generally, the closer your work is to serious healthcare issues – if you’re a surgeon for instance – the closer you should stick to the Core 4.
Keep Your Marketing Plan in Mind
Your website is your digital reception desk to the world. So, a solid website design for health professionals should not be separate from its digital marketing plan.
Integrate your social media presence with your site. As a bare minimum, you should include prominent links to your social media accounts — ideally, after you have already identified which social media service your target audience prefers to use!
You can go further than just buttons and links. One way to do this is to integrate your social media content into your site. For example, you could display your most recent tweet on your home page, or your most recent instagram post.
If you don’t have a YouTube account for your business, consider setting one up. A short video, professionally produced and embedded on your homepage, is a superb way to increase engagement with your website and gives you another medium through which to highlight your unique selling points.
Don’t forget about mobile users, either. A larger and larger proportion of internet users access the web through mobile alone. In order to increase your reach, ensure the website design is responsive — that is, make sure it works as well on mobiles and tablets as it does on larger screens.
Build an Effective Landing Page
Your landing page is a visitor’s entry point into your site, and it will often be your home page. An awesome website design for health professionals needs to include a landing page that converts.
On your landing page, make the headers large and clear, with a good contrast between the font-color and the background. Try setting the font of the headers to your primary branding color. This will create consistency in your design.
Keep your landing page clean and uncluttered. Use generous and consistent amounts of whitespace between the elements on the page.
Oh, and be sure to include customer reviews and testimonials on your landing page! This can help build trust and authority. To avoid taking up too much real estate, you can display these as a slideshow.
How to Use Images Appropriately and Effectively
Website design for health professionals has some unique issues around images that other fields don’t face.
Namely, if you use inappropriate images, it can actually prevent your website visitors from understanding the text around them!
The National Institute of Health conducted an eye-tracking study, which found that if there is an irrelevant image next to text on a web page, it actually hinders people’s understanding of the text — especially if they are not experts on the topic to begin with.
In the study, they used a picture of a person smiling as the irrelevant image. And what image do you find on a large number of healthcare websites? Yep — people smiling!
Now, if you’re a dentist, that’s probably fine, but if you’re writing about arterial plaque, smiling, attractive people are only going to be a distraction. A relevant medical diagram would be more appropriate.
There is a time when a photo of a smiling person will work, however — when it’s you!
Because people may be troubled with sensitive personal issues, building trust and rapport is super-important in website design for health professionals — more so than in other fields. A professional-looking headshot makes you real, instead of just text on a page.
If you can get a photo of yourself in your clinic, talking to a patient (you can take it from behind the patient, to protect their identity), that’s even better. This not only creates credibility by showing you in action, but it shows people what they can expect.
Ready to Get Started?
Hopefully you now have an understanding of the key aspects of website design for health professionals. So now, get to work on your design! And remember, if you need any help with your website or any other aspect of your business, leave a post in our Small Business Ideas Forum — it’s an awesome community of over 100,000 people who are happy to help, so make sure you drop by!