Having an effective hospital website is absolutely critical these days. Making it easy for patients to find what they are looking with a clean design and simple navigation is the first step toward an effective hospital website. We have all been been frustrated by websites with navigation that is so complicated we could not find the simple things we were trying to find. Usually lack of content is not the problem. Often it is because too much content is jammed on the home page and the user simply does not know where to start.
I look at numerous hospital websites on a daily basis. I am excited to see many hospitals starting to revamp their website design and navigation. This is important because in many cases, your hospital website makes the first impression on potential patients.
Yes, this seems like common sense, but often the intention to keep the design clean is compromised as more stakeholders have input into the home page content. Each service line wants equal exposure. The oncology service line wants equal space as that of cardiology, and the sleep center, and your wellness center, etc. They all have goals they need to hit as well. The challenge for the hospital web team is to design a site that concentrates on your key service lines that will drive the most patients to your facility.
Inova Health is an example of a user-riendly, effective hospital website. If you go to their website at www.inova.org, you will find a very clean website that will allow the user to find what they are looking for very easily. They have a rotating banner ad across the top where service lines can share the space and exposure, as well as a location for users to find services and locations on the top. Prominently placed in the center of the page is where they can find a doctor or location. At the bottom there are other links for social media, news items, and more information. Very clear, un-cluttered, and easy to navigate.
Of course, it also helps when you partner with an agency that understands the industry. Inova worked with Interval in creating the design and layout of the site. When working with an agency that understands and has many clients in the industry, there are many best practices they can pull from and they can bring a fresh perspective to your organization from the outside.
Once you have a great, fresh web site, be sure and get your employees excited about it. They will mention it to their friends or share it through social media, which in turn drives people to the site. Here is a fun video that the Inova web team put together promoting their launch. We can all learn from a job well done.