U/X (User Experience) starts with a few basic questions:
- What do visitors to your site expect or want to see?
- Can visitors easily find answers to their questions?
For example, how hard is it to find detailed information about you or your practice, specific information about different treatments you offer, or perhaps something about a medical issue?
Web content paradox – A site with very limited content is likely to be very easy to navigate, but if it doesn’t have the answers to a visitor’s questions, it doesn’t help. A site with the answers but where finding them is too hard is no better off.
The goal should be to provide as much information as possible, but in ways that are easy for each type of user to access.
Because search algorithms favor geographic proximity, a podiatrist’s web page that has specific answers to questions about podiatric issues from nearby web users will rank higher in displayed results. If your site can’t answer the question, it may not be listed at all.
Websites are for visitors
Plan for different types of visitors
- People looking for podiatrists in their area – This is probably the most common visitor expectation among podiatrists developing new sites.
- People evaluating different podiatrists, to find one that seems to be “the best”.
- People with questions about injuries, illnesses or other issues with their feet? Many of these people may know very little about podiatry and might want to know what type of issue they have and what might be required to treat it. For many patients, learning more about foot concerns is a possible “gateway” to identifying a podiatrist who can diagnose and solve them. Yet most podiatry sites lack specific information about medical issues affecting feet.
Web design emphasizes meeting each visitor’s objectives as directly as possible, a challenge because they often have very different questions.
- A visitor searching for information on getting rid of toenail fungus shouldn’t need to go past information about treating pediatric flatfoot to get to toenail fungus. Information about this common patient complaint should be easily accessible from multiple points throughout the web.
- Someone looking for your address and a map of where your office is, should be able to get to this information very quickly, from any place on the site.
- A person with a sore heel might want to try and figure out what caused it and possible treatment options. An easy way to look for information on “sore heels” would help.
- Having recently been diagnosed with diabetes, a patient wonders if that may be the cause of the problems he is having with lack of sensitivity in his foot. Information about diabetes and possible feet issues should be easy to find.
Answers to Patients’ Questions
PodiatryNET has two sets of pages that answer questions about podiatric issues:
Difficult choice, but more is better. Although many questions are likely to be common and fairly easy to predict (argues for limited content), having more content, even hard to find, is a better option since many users may be sent directly to the relevant page from a search query. But, what happens when the visitor has a second question? The best answer is lots of content, but designed for accessibility.
Yes. A good web search system can make finding specific answers easier. But, if the visitor does not get the answer the first time, they may not be able to use the menu-ing system or other navigation options to find related information. Intuitive web pages are better for helping site visitors find not only the answer to their first question, but others they may ask.