Five Trends Shaping Healthcare Web Design

by , Dec 6, 2013, 1:05 PM
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According to Pew Research 72% of U.S. Internet users have gone online in the past year specifically for health-related information – a number that will surely grow with the continued rise of healthcare consumerism. It has never been more important for health brands to deliver engaging digital experiences. Here are five web design trends that can help your organization do just that:

1. Responsive Web Design

U.S. smartphone penetration is now at 56%, and 52% of smartphone owners use their devices to look up health or medical information, says Pew Research. With a growing number of patients and caregivers turning to mobile for health related information, it’s critical that healthcare websites respond to a variety of screen sizes, and responsive design does exactly that. Whether a user switches from their laptop to tablet to mobile phone, a responsive site automatically delivers the optimal user experience regardless of screen size. 

Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance, thrive.kaiserpermanente.org, has a responsive website that features a lot of content, but even on smaller screens, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. It has all of the basic elements of good web design, including strong content hierarchy, and ease of use.

2. Flat Design

Flat design presents an approachable and engaging interface, and strips down the visual elements to expose their essential functionality, thus focusing on content and the user experience. The clear and usable interface uses flat colors, white space, minimalism and crisp typography. This approach works well for content rich healthcare sites, where design is an important element but shouldn’t overpower the content. A good example of flat design can be seen at standbuy.us. Standbuy is an organization that eases the financial burdens associated with cancer. Its website is the epitome of flat design, with minimal gradients, patterns and 3D effects used. Uniting the design with great typography and eye-catching images really makes the website pop. It’s simple, but not boring. 

3. Strong Typography & Visuals 

In the past few years the selection of web fonts has exploded - leading to greater and more advanced typography in digital solutions. 

Paired with crisp typography, a large visual or video background on your healthcare homepage will create a strong impact and convey a powerful message. Aetna’s Our Healthy website ourhealthy.com, which focuses on raising awareness about its efficient Accountable Care system, combines strong typography with impactful visuals. It engages users with bold headlines and visuals, and its use of flat design brings in elements of simplicity to the content.

4. Dynamic Navigation

Navigation is one of a website’s most critical elements. It must be easy to access so users can reach the information they need quickly. Many sites have fixed header bars that are only accessible at the top of the page, requiring site visitors to waste time scrolling back to the top to access more content. 

Today’s navigation options are much more sophisticated with headers that stay in place as you scroll down the page, in interesting and different placements, and sometimes even disappearing completely or sliding behind screen edges. 

UnityPoint Health’s website, unitypoint.org, has a dynamic navigation that adds to the user experience. As a user scrolls down the page, the navigation bar migrates with them – it’s accessible and not intrusive. It also flows well with the style and content of the website. 

5. Single Page Scrolling 

The single page website trend has grown in popularity and is a great way to add depth and interactivity to a website. It is an opportunity to engage users with animations, transitions, parallax and other effects based on the page’s scroll position. 

Single page scrolling is ideal for mobile and tablet use, where site visitors can use simple gestures such as the pinch-zoom and swipe to scroll up/down or left/right within a website. It’s not just how the site looks, but how it feels and moves.

A great example is Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “What Matters” website whatmattersbywellmark.com, a new resource for consumers to help understand healthcare reform and insurance all in one scrolling, interactive website that tells a singular story. It’s a powerful way to navigate content and give an interactive and immersive experience on the web. It also features the other four trends we’ve outlined above - responsive web design, flat design, strong typography and visuals, and dynamic navigation.
Consider incorporating some of these design trends into your healthcare website and they will surely translate into more engaging online experiences for your visitors. 

1 comment on "Five Trends Shaping Healthcare Web Design ".

  1. mike mm from pvt
    commented on: April 2, 2014 at 1:54 p.m.
    This website http://www.ihealthspot.com/ deals with medical website design. Does anyone know if they are the best resource for medical website design? I was looking for a site that has had a lot of real user activity or stats to back up what they do. www.ihealthspot.com is very helpful for you.

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