In today’s digital landscape, users are less forgiving of poor web construction than ever before – and for good reason. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of false or irrelevant information on the web, and it’s just as accessible and pervasive as the truly beneficial, crucial facts that users want to find. Thus, it’s critical that your physical therapy website begin establishing user confidence from the moment someone lands on one of your pages.
Consider, for instance, the structure and aesthetic of a physical therapist’s office. The layout, building components, paint, and interior design probably don’t directly influence the quality of the services the therapist provides. However, these elements do help put patients at ease—making it easier for them to trust in the level of efficiency and skill with which the clinic operates. If the office is disorganized, patients are more likely to be dissatisfied with the care they receive.
The same goes for a company’s web property: the better you develop and optimize your website’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), the more confident in your services your visitors will become. Let’s take a look at how each of these facets influences the success of your website.
1. User Interface
The UI of a website is defined by its front-facing design, or the look and feel of the site. Elements of UI include style guides, design element consistency, and placement.
Regularity (not to be confused with strict uniformity) with your design ensures there are no incongruous elements that could be jarring to the user. Each section should move seamlessly into the next. Imagery should be carefully chosen, along with typeface, alignment, and spacing.
We recommend beginning your build with wireframes to nail down placement of images, text, and site navigation before moving into full-fledged design work that incorporates your written copy, color, and technical design elements. This is the most efficient process; it’ll save you time in the long run.
2. User Experience
UX refers to a website’s functionality and user flow. This part of the development process informs the UI with respect to the strategic flow of the site and the eventual layout of the site’s design.
This process helps the developer decide how the business’s desired site features will be translated into reality. A few elements to consider as you architect UX: user groups (or target personas), calls to action, and site navigation.
Once the developer finishes the UX process, he or she strategizes with the designer to create a fluid, comprehensive site structure.
A responsive framework provides visiting users with a website that seamlessly adapts and delivers an optimized viewing experience across all devices. Responsive site setup requires more development time upfront, but it is essential in today’s digital space—especially in the healthcare field, which is becoming increasingly mobile. Plus, a responsive web experience factors heavily into Google’s page-ranking algorithm. The best-optimized sites provide this mobile-friendly experience in line with the tenets of UX and UI—and without substantially slowing down page speed.
Another important factor to consider as you construct your site is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO involves taking advantage of specific search keywords in order to increase the organic traffic of visitors to your site. Plug-ins like Yoast for WordPress can help you match your focus keywords to page titles, alt text, and meta descriptions. With a fully optimized web property—and a maximized page rank—users will be able to find your site more easily.
Some might argue that adding new features to your site is the key to solving user engagement problems. However, the truth is that you cannot build a strong house on a weak foundation. Better tools are one thing, but adherence to the factors above will be more beneficial to your website in both the short- and long-term. By incorporating these techniques, you’ll establish your professionalism and credibility more concretely. Plus, the optimized experience will not only satisfy modern user expectations, but also increase the probability that visitors will return to your site.
Alex Carel is a digital communication specialist at Pyxl.