For the past few months or so, I’ve been working on redesigning our practice’s web page. We’ve had our old webpage for 6-years. And just like dog years, on the web, that represents like 13 years. So it was time for a little nip & tuck.
As part of my research to get ideas, I spent a lot of time online looking at other web pages. Not just those in health care. I looked at web designers web pages (which usually have the coolest web pages of all), contractors, architect firms, online services, software companies and even kids online retailers such as Gymboree, Gap Kids & Pottery Barn Kids ( I think children’s online retailers offer some of the best inspiration because they cater to the same demographic as we do).
Our first site was built in 2004, so things have definitely changed since then. For example, the core pediatric customer (I’m talking about parents, not the patients), tend to be younger than other specialties. And research shows that this demographic is doing more stuff online than any other demographic in the past. They are banking online, spending time on Facebook and doing their Christmas shopping entirely online. The expectations for this demographic is that our sites are just as intuitive and convenient as the other sites they use everyday.
I saw this trend as an opportunity to engage young parents on their turf, and establish ourselves as a trusted source of medical information. So I took that into consideration as well.
I gave the redesign a lot of thought. I asked: what is the purpose of a company website? Who’s the audience? Is it to influence potential patients to become patients? Is it just for established patients? Do we use it as a communication tool? Is it just an online business card or a place to put our telephone number and address? Should it be interactive? Should it change often? Should it include a blog? Who should design it?
Continue reading for my narrative on some of things I considered specifically.
Who visits the site?
There are two types of parents that visits our site. One group are the prospective parents. These are the parents that are looking for a pediatrician, but before making any commitments, they want to check us out. First impressions are crucial with this group. So the site had to meet the expectations of “prospecting” parents.
The second type of parent would be established parents. These are parents looking for forms, hours or maybe our telephone number because they lost it. This group is interested in the site’s convenience features. These patrons just want what they need when they need it.
We’re a peds office, but our customers aren’t children. Our core customers are mostly women . With this in mind, I wanted the site to have a pediatric look and feel, but I didn’t want it to resemble a Sesame Street site.
Experimenting With Video
With more people having access to broadband internet, online video is now easier to implement. Study shows that people will click on a video link before they read anything on a site. With this in mind, I wanted the site to include video. I wanted to use the video in two ways: as a promotional vehicle and as an educational tool.
Blog and News Update
A perfect and relatively easy way to keep the site up-to-date is with a blog. The blog would serve several purposes. For example, the blog gives the doc’s an opportunity to address issues and give broader insight into topics or issues outside of an office visit. A blog would also give people reason to come back to our site and help us establish ourselves as trusted source of information online.
But the blog sometimes doesn’t always meet all of our communication needs, so I also wanted a practice news a update section were we could quickly post interesting news articles, events, information and general practice news (i.e. Dr B is on vacation from this date to this date or here’s an interesting article on autism research).
Feature our Services
I noticed that very few pediatric sites feature their services on their websites. This isn’t the case with many cosmetic surgery sites or even dental offices for example. For those that don’t display what it is they do, I think they are missing on an opportunity to inform parents.
Many parents think that you take kids to the peds office only when children are sick and for shots. But as we know, pediatricians are prepared and trained to help parents and children with an array of health conditions.
I think we often take for granted what we know about pediatrics because this is our bread-and-butter. But I would argue lots of people don’t know the extent of what pediatricians do.
So I thought, maybe we should highlight what it is we actually do and not give parents the benefit of the doubt. With this in mind, we wanted the site to feature our services and our most common ancillary services.
So, how did we do?
Well, it finally came together. And here is the result: http://bit.ly/cRnS5d (this is still a beta site. We haven’t transfered the domain yet, but I wanted to give you all a sneak peak. Feel free to give us some feedback). I think we did an excellent job. But don’t take it from me. Take a look at it for yourself and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
It wasn’t all me
I can’t take all the credit for the site though. I have to give credit where credit is due. I enlisted the services of Alan Houser from Creative Component with the site. Alan built the site from the ground up. And I think he did a great job in translating our ideas from words to HTML (or whatever language designers uses these days on the web).
Alan was great to work with. You can tell he has a lot of patience. And what I liked most about Alan was that he is passionate about his work. He doesn’t mess around. He has my full endorsement and I would highly recommend him to anybody.