The discipline of User Experience (UX) design influences how a person feels about using a system, like a website, and is a fundamental component of the patient-centric approach to online communications. UX determines how long someone chooses to stay on a website, the feeling they have about the company when they leave the website, and whether the experience was positive enough for them to want to return.
The pioneers of UX design are our friends at Adaptive Path who offer a 4-day intensive program on UX design, which I just completed and would like to share some learning from to help you better understand what goes into making a patient-centric website.
Research provides the foundation for the website structure and guides the interaction design process. Conducting individual interviews, designing surveys that include underlying motivations, and focusing on the conversations and observations of your audiences can yield rich insights into what they are really looking for.
The resulting research can help you, construct a storyline experience maps, workflows, and user scenarios that will provide the framework of a meaningful website experience.
Information Architecture (IA):
Once needs are understood and categorized, a website Information Architecture (IA) can be developed. IA can be defined as the “art and science of structuring, organizing and labeling information to help people find and manage information” (Lou Rosenfeld & Peter Morville).
This process not only establishes the content structure for the website but it also yields key words and phrase critical for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The product is usually a wireframe of the website that designers use to inform their design decisions.
While the IA takes shape another layer of design must be considered – how the site will influence the way people interact with it. The look and feel of the website is not an aesthetic choice as much as it is based on its behavior - what it does/what it asks the viewer to do. The key to finding the most meaningful interactions comes from rapid and frequent prototyping to test ideas.
Taking the time to interview key audiences, whether patients or investors, build an information model from their responses, and prototype different design directions will yield a compelling website that naturally focuses on the needs of those you are trying to reach. This approach is often called “human-centric” design and translates easily into “patient-centric” for individuals seeking health-related information.
HDMZ leverages UX design principles in our website and web application development process to maximize usability and value for respective audiences. If you have any questions on how you can improve the user experience for your patients and physicians please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.