With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine developments, the upswell of telehealth, and other important health issues taking center stage, accurate and accessible healthcare information is more crucial than ever. Whether your organization is a health institute, medical school, or hospital, your website is an important resource for your community.
That’s why optimizing your healthcare website design matters. A strong healthcare website:
- Grows awareness of your brand. A robust, well-designed website establishes your organization as a credible, knowledgeable institution.
- Builds trust among current audience members. When visitors see that your website is professional and comprehensive, they’ll place more trust in your organization as a whole.
- Offers your audience convenience. A robust healthcare website gives community members access to a 24/7 resource that’s available with just a few clicks.
In this guide, we’ll review healthcare website design frequently asked questions, best practices, and top examples. Whether you’re creating a new healthcare website or optimizing your current site, this guide offers advice for every stage of the process.
Healthcare Web Design Q&A
Q: What is a healthcare website?
A: A healthcare website is any website that offers healthcare or medical information and/or services. This encompasses more than just hospital websites. Health institutes, medical schools, and healthcare-related nonprofits may also fall into this category.
Q: What should a healthcare website include?
A: Your healthcare website should include the following features:
To connect visitors with the information they need quickly, your healthcare website must be easy for anyone to use. Here are a few user-friendly design elements to include:
- Simple navigation. Ensure your navigation menu is streamlined and only includes 4-6 main items. Any more than that can look cluttered and confusing.
- Straightforward design. Your healthcare website isn’t the right platform to test out avant-garde designs or eccentric page structures. Your site should have a straightforward, professional design with plenty of white space. This helps funnel visitors’ attention to the information they’re looking for.
- Clear essential information. Some of the most important information on your website includes phone numbers, location addresses, and information about diseases or health issues. Healthcare is stressful, so consider your visitors’ state of mind when designing your website. Users in a crisis may not be thinking clearly, so you must make this vital information as obvious and easy to find as possible. Use large buttons on your homepage and menu items to point visitors in the right direction.
An easy-to-use internal search function
An internal search bar allows visitors to find what they are looking for quickly, whether it’s a specific doctor, location address, statistic, report, or online service such as a patient portal.
Your healthcare website should be user-friendly and easily navigable for everyone, regardless of their age or ability. Community members with disabilities often require healthcare services the most, so they should be able to access and use your website with ease.
Accessibility is highly encouraged for all websites, but for most healthcare organizations, compliance with accessibility legislation is a firm requirement.
To create a fully accessible website, implement the regulations laid out in Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Some of these guidelines include:
- Alternative text options for photos and videos
- Audio descriptions for text blocks
- Keyboard-friendly navigation
- Sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors
- Plain language that avoids the use of jargon or idioms
Click the Section 508 and WCAG links above to review the full list of accessibility requirements.
Heightened security for sensitive information
If you’re creating or revamping a hospital website, you’ll need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). These laws prevent confidential patient information such as names, social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and health information from being shared without their knowledge or consent.
Keep in mind that if you’re creating a hospital website, compliance with the ADA and WCAG as well as HIPAA and HITECH is mandatory.
Our hospital web development guide has all the information you need to ensure regulatory compliance. Review that resource for information on the best strategies and safeguards to use to meet these requirements.
Your site should be accessible on every device, whether visitors are using a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Choose a responsive website theme so your website’s design automatically adjusts to match any screen size.
Q: How do I create a healthcare website?
A: There are two ways you can approach your healthcare website’s development and design:
What this approach entails: Your organization creates or redesigns its website in-house using your in-house web development team.
- This option tends to be less expensive.
- You’ll have total control over your website updates.
- This is a major project that your digital team may not have time for.
- You likely don’t have many (or any) web design professionals in-house with the right expertise to create a complex website that includes necessary security measures to protect users’ privacy and billing information.
- This approach risks creating a poorly designed website, which could lead to mistrust and frustration among visitors.
What this approach entails: Your organization partners with a web design firm (like Kanopi!) to create an effective design for your healthcare needs.
- You’ll gain access to expert advice and services, from SEO best practices to audience research and testing.
- You’ll benefit from a continuous improvement approach that ensures your website stays up to date with the latest updates and improvements.
- This option tends to be more expensive.
- You may have to communicate any desired changes to your web consultant before they’re implemented, which could lead to delays.
For most healthcare organizations, especially larger ones with more complex needs, it’s recommended that you work with a web development firm to create or redesign your website. This ensures that you can develop a site that complies with all regulatory requirements and serves your community effectively.
4 Healthcare Website Design Best Practices
No matter what process you use to design your site, implement the following website design best practices to appeal to visitors’ interests and enhance your site’s professionalism:
1. Use clear CTAs to help visitors navigate your site
A call to action (CTA) is a button or link that directs users to a certain page to find more information or take a specific action. Including prominent CTAs on your website homepage helps users navigate your site faster.
For instance, take a look at the following CTAs on the Cleveland Clinic website homepage:
These CTAs appeal directly to website visitors’ most common intentions.
As you create your CTAs, think about the information your website visitors look for on your site. For instance, your visitors may be interested in booking a clinic visit, researching a certain disease, reviewing doctors, making payments, or donating to your fundraising efforts. Ensure your CTAs guide visitors to your most popular or valuable pages.
In addition, make your CTAs stand out from the rest of the page by using contrasting colors between the text and background and large or all-caps text.
2. Include vibrant images and valuable graphics to convey important information
Just because your website has a clean, straightforward design doesn’t mean it has to be boring. The images and graphics you choose to include can bring your website to life and captivate visitors.
Images of people and bright colors capture users’ attention. Also, you can use infographics to explain complex topics or present statistics in a more interesting way. Don’t forget to include descriptive alternative text for all photos or graphics on your website.
3. Keep your website’s content up to date
As an essential resource for healthcare information, you must keep your website’s content up to date. Depending on your organization, this content may include:
- Contact information for your various clinics or doctors
- The latest COVID-19 updates or advice
- Updated blog posts about your organization’s initiatives and programs
- Recent reports and statistics on relevant health topics
Keeping your website updated maintains trust with your visitors and helps establish your organization as an authoritative voice in your field or community.
Designate a few team members to update your website pages and blog regularly with the latest news and information.
4. Unify your site around your brand messaging
What is your organization’s core message or story? Identify your brand’s personality and make design decisions based on that information.
For instance, if you’re a children’s healthcare provider, perhaps your site features bold colors and a rounded font like the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta website. By contrast, major, world-renowned institutions such as the Johns Hopkins Hospital use a serious tone and a more formal serif font to get their message across.
Ensure your website is branded with your organization’s unique:
- Color palette
Incorporating your brand elements into your healthcare website ensures visitors will instantly recognize your site and associate it with your organization as a whole. This helps boost brand awareness and trust among your audience members.
4 Healthcare Website Examples
When designing a website, it’s helpful to look at what similar organizations offer on their sites. Let’s take a look at a few top healthcare website examples to help generate ideas for your website:
1. San Francisco Health Service System
The San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS) provides medical benefits and care for the city’s government employees. Their website offers services and information for different types of city employees as well as general information about the organization as a whole.
Top features of this healthcare website include:
- Services and frequently asked questions clearly listed on the homepage
- An updated blog and event calendar
- A high level of valuable information for employees
Review our SFHSS case study for a full explanation of the design and development improvements and Kanopi’s role in the process.
2. Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic is frequently ranked as the top hospital in the United States. Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the clinic is a combined healthcare, education, and research facility.
The Mayo Clinic website serves patients and other visitors by keeping important COVID-19 information at the forefront of every page, streamlining navigation with a simple design, and offering a robust catalog of medical information.
A few stand-out features of this site include:
- A powerful search function
- Clear CTA links on the homepage
- A comprehensive digital encyclopedia of diseases and conditions
Check out the Mayo Clinic’s website to see what these features look like in action.
3. The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to achieving health equity in Colorado using grantmaking, policy advocacy, health education, and capacity building.
The Colorado Health Foundation website clearly points to information about the organization’s history and mission, recent news, and opportunities to find grants using CTAs and graphics on the homepage.
Other effective features of the website include:
- Captivating, bold imagery on the homepage
- A streamlined main menu
- Eye-catching statistics and CTAs
Head to the Colorado Health Foundation website to explore everything the site has to offer.
4. Global Brain Health Institute
The Global Brain Health Institute is an organization dedicated to protecting aging populations from the effects of dementia.
The GBHI website homepage highlights relevant statistics, background information on the history and mission of the organization, and the latest news from the field.
Effective elements of this site include:
- A clear mission statement
- A prominent search button
- A user-friendly directory
Review our GBHI case study for details about the site’s optimization and relaunch and Kanopi’s role in the process.
How Kanopi Can Help with Your Healthcare Website Design
Here at Kanopi, we’ve helped a wide range of organizations develop new and improved websites using our continuous improvement approach to website design. No project is too large or complex for our experienced team of web designers. Each of our team members has at least ten years of experience in their specialty.
We offer a wide range of services to help optimize your healthcare website design, including:
- Website design planning. This includes getting to know your brand on a deeper level, prioritizing accessibility, and creating a detailed, interactive design layout.
- User testing. We use an iterative process to ensure your site is optimized to help users find what they’re looking for. We adjust our approach based on what’s working and what isn’t to move forward with only the most effective strategies.
- Customized plugin/module creation. We modify your website with the tools and features you need to expand your site’s functionality.
- Third-party and custom integrations. We can create custom integrations with any third-party health portals your organization uses.
- Search engine optimization strategizing. We help optimize your site’s content and structure to boost its performance in search results rankings.
- Ongoing support and staff training. We stick with your team to carry out our continuous improvement approach, create a pattern library for current and future projects, and train your staff members on how to use your content management system (CMS) effectively.
Our team specializes in three major content management systems:
- Drupal: Drupal is a powerful CMS that all types of organizations use to create complex websites. If you’re looking to build a Drupal site from scratch or upgrade your existing site to the latest version, Kanopi can help manage your project.
- WordPress: WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms, powering about 40% of all websites on the internet. The Kanopi team can support your WordPress website at any stage of development.
- Mukurtu: Mukurtu is an open-source CMS geared toward meeting the needs of indigenous communities. Kanopi has played a role in developing this CMS and can help organizations using Mukurtu build and develop their websites.
No matter which platform you’re using, we have the experience and expertise to guide your healthcare website design plans in the right direction.
- Hospital Web Development: What You Need To Know. A hospital website redesign requires careful planning and implementation. Review our hospital web development guide for insight into the process.
- Demystifying Website Accessibility Compliance. Looking to improve your healthcare website’s accessibility? Here’s what you need to know about relevant accessibility regulations.
- Continuous Website Improvement for Long-Term Growth. Interested in working with a web design firm to create or redesign your healthcare website? Read more about Kanopi’s continuous improvement approach to web design and support.