There’s no getting around it. The user experience you provide online affects your bottom line. How people feel when they interact with your website, and how easily they can find what they’re looking for, are big factors in whether they’re willing to put trust in your brand.
So, of course, this is HUGE for doctors and lawyers.
Good experiences boost your business; bad experiences drive away potential contacts, negatively impact your search rankings, and—frankly—just make you look bad.
It’s one of those things that makes perfect sense when you think about it, but not everyone is thinking about it. Are you?
What Is UX Design?
Although it’s important to keep Google in mind when you design a new website, it’s even more important not to lose sight of what your potential clients want and need from you online. Paying attention to search engine rankings and the latest SEO trends can certainly help you drive more traffic to your law firm or medical practice website. However, that traffic won’t really help your business if the people finding your site immediately click away or leave frustrated.
If you want to make your potential clients or patients happy and put them in a “buying mood,” your website should be built with their needs in mind. And that’s what UX design is all about.
“UX” is just marketing lingo for “user experience,” so what we’re really talking about with “UX design” is designing and optimizing the elements that most impact your users and the ways they interact with your website. As you’ll see, this can play into just about every part of your website’s overall design, from the backend technology you choose to the buttons on your contact forms.
We’ll definitely get into some great tips for incorporating positive UX ideas into your own website below—but, first, let’s talk about why you even want a design that focuses on the user experience.
The Benefits of UX Design for Legal and Medical Websites
When your website makes users happy, they are much more likely to:
- Contact you for help. If you make a great impression online and provide a peek into your excellent customer service, potential clients or patients are more likely to contact you in person.
- Remember you when they have a legal issue. Even if an online visitor isn’t ready to contact a lawyer or doctor, a great website experience means they’ll think of you when they ARE ready to take the next step.
- Recommend your site to family and friends. If you provide great “virtual” service to one online visitor, he or she is far more likely to spread the word to other contacts.
- Think of you as an authority. If you provide the answers your potential clients are looking for, then they will look to you as the go-to authority on their legal or medical issues.
By knowing who your potential clients or patients are, knowing what they’re looking for, and making your site relevant to them, you’re more likely to turn your website visitors into real-life, paying clients.
This is why we focus so much on your “perfect client” in both the design process and our ongoing marketing services!
While having a lot of traffic to your website is great, getting more targeted and relevant traffic to your website is even better—and it’s far more likely to bring in the kind of results you want from your online marketing strategy.
And, if you really want it to work for your practice, then it’s critical to recognize that an excellent user experience is built from the ground up.
5 Ways to Design an Excellent User Experience for Your Potential Clients
A great user experience is almost invisible, and that’s why it often flies under the radar until something goes wrong. People don’t really notice when everything works as it should and delivers what they want and expect.
However, they ALWAYS notice when your site is hard to use, frustrating to interact with, or impossible to navigate. So, when you start building a website, you need to start by thinking about your perfect clients or patients and how they will use it.
Here are some tips from our UX-savvy team that will improve the user experience your website provides, both today and over the long term, so that you can start making people happy:
1. Everything should work right.
A website should work as intended, whether you get there on a desktop computer or a mobile device. It’s the simplest expectation your users have coming into the experience, and it’s the easiest thing you can do to make that experience pleasant. If people encounter broken links, broken elements, slow load times, or other technical issues, they aren’t going to be patient and come back later. They’re going to move on to a competitor’s site that does work for them.
Start fixing it today: At the minimum, you need to make sure you have a great design foundation that’s running on current technology, and you need a plan for identifying and correcting potential problems that sour the experience over time.
Find out when and why to redesign your website.
However, you can get that started on that project in a matter of minutes by trying to use your own website—especially your mobile website—and trying to Google your practice. What problems do you see? What do you have trouble doing? How can you prioritize and address the issues you found? It’s great to put your own eyes on it regularly because—after all—you’re a user, too! Once you have a list of action items, it’s a lot easier to get with your design team and actually make them happen.
2. Everything should be findable.
If your design makes it hard to navigate to key information or leaves “orphan” pages that no one can get to, your design isn’t providing a good user experience—no matter how flashy or attractive it is.
Ultimately, people turn to search engines because they want real answers to their questions—not just a pretty interface. And they definitely don’t want to dig around for those answers, either.
Start fixing it today: Pull up your site and try to find some of the content you’ve recently posted—or let a friend or family member take a look. If you’re confused about where to go, what to click, why things are organized the way they are, or what to do, then you know it’s time to think about a navigation overhaul and some clarity tweaks.
3. Everything should offer digestible value.
People come to your website because they have questions or need information related to your practice. If they find a lot of confusing information that uses language they don’t understand, they will move on to someone else. If they can’t find anything of value, then they won’t stick around—even if it’s free.
Ultimately, content is the real “meat” and value of your website, so it needs to be well-written, relevant to your users, and formatted to be easy to scan and digest. Huge, in-depth studies with no visual break are probably too much, but thin or irrelevant content is too little.
Start fixing it today: How you highlight and place your content on your website’s greater design is a big conversation. While there are some standards we prefer, there’s a lot that is unique to each practice we work with. However, don’t be daunted. Just start small!
Decide what your five most important landing pages or pieces of content are. Proofread those pages carefully, and insert headlines and images to break up big blocks of text. Update any inaccuracies, and flesh out (or dial back) pieces as needed. Make sure the design of each page matches the overall design of your website, and make use of sidebar features, panels, on-page contact forms, and other little touches that help visitors connect with you and your message.
(If this is something you struggle with, DSS makes it easy to make quick updates or even delete pages that are no longer useful, and those changes go into effect almost instantly!)
Getting the design and content on just those five pages “just right” offers a big value increase for visitors, and you can send people to them from the main pages of your site. With just five pages perfected, you’re already sending more visitors toward “the good stuff” and showing your valuable expertise at its best.
4. Everything should make you look good.
Every aspect of your website design and online presence should reflect your personality, expertise, professionalism, and experience—in other words, it should radiate trust and authority to your potential contacts. Outdated or confusing designs, poor-quality video and photographs, and unedited or irrelevant content make you look sloppy and unprofessional, even if you provide top-notch services in reality. Your image needs to be consistent and professional across the board if you want to impress your perfect clients or patients.
Start fixing it today: Use the same logo, brand colors, and brand messaging on your website that you use in your other marketing and print materials to create visual cohesiveness. Feature testimonials, reviews, and case results in your sidebars and throughout your site. Look at other professional websites and get a feel for what people are seeing in comparison. A lot of these little tasks are quick to do and don’t require a major redo.
Over the long term, you’ll also need to develop a plan for regularly updating your design, images, videos, and any other rough edges that might drag you down if they slip out of date. What makes you look good right now could look terrible in three years—that’s just how fast website design trends move!
5. Everything should lead potential clients to your door.
Let’s end with an easy one—if your contact number and business information are hard to find, then people won’t reach out. And, if you don’t ask people to contact you, then they probably won’t.
One of the major reasons people search for businesses online is because they need help RIGHT NOW. Your design should be ready to meet them and deliver fast action.
Start fixing it today: Start with the basics. Your phone number, physical address, and even map location should be clearly available on your website. Make sure you’ve claimed your business listings and that your profiles are complete and accurate. You need to make sure your name, address, phone number, etc. are exactly the same everywhere you appear online. While those outside sites aren’t a part of your website design, even small inconsistencies have a big effect.
You should also add a compelling “call to action” to nearly every page of your website, including practice area pages, blog posts, FAQs, videos, and more. When someone is ready to reach out or take action, they’ll have the means right in front of them—and that means happier users AND better a conversion rate.
You Don’t Have to Please Everyone, But…
Remember that you don’t necessarily have to please everyone, but you definitely need to impress your target audiences and “perfect clients.” To do that, you need to have a user-focused strategy in place to reach them, and that means knowing who they are, where they live, what they want, and how to give it to them.
It sounds like a lot, and it is. But the rewards that you reap from an effectively designed website and pleasant user experience are nearly too great to quantify. If you don’t provide a good user experience, or if you don’t know whether you’re providing a good experience, then we can safely say that you’re already losing potential contacts and clients or patients.
Need help making your user experience pop? Contact us for a website design consultation and additional UX guidance from our award-winning design team.