A mum and her 7-year old daughter walk into the dentists … that’s how the story starts. Or used to, anyway. Today, your potential clients are much more likely to look you up online prior to the visit. More to the point, 72% of local consumers rely on an online search to find local merchants, stores, and professionals.
That is why, as an accomplished dentist, you need to add user experience and user interface to your lexicon. They are what will take your practice to the next level of success, assuming you already had your dentist’s website online.
User Experience (UX) for Dentists
User experience is so much more than the quality of interaction between your customers and your website. There is a whole lot of science, psychology, and anecdotal evidence behind that it has been refined into a major subject.
If you were to come across a web design manual from 10 years ago, you would find very little on UX or UI. That’s because back then, what mattered was functionality. So long as the website worked, everyone was happy. Except the user, who had to deal with unfriendly operation, lifeless graphics, and listless copy.
These three things are the life of user experience. Ease of functionality, graphics, and compelling copy will make a unique first impression with a better chance of converting them than having a cheesy website that looks suspicious at first glance.
In case you haven’t noticed, the game has changed entirely. Today, the website is the face of any dental practice. Most of your potential patients interact with you indirectly through your website and make a decision by first impressions.
Invision interpreted data from BCS to find that 75% of consumers judge a site’s credibility based on its aesthetics. Which brings us to the most important benefit of a positive user experience: trust. Your clients need to trust you before they can come into your doors.
For that, a clean site designed to inform rather than sell is your best bet. Having a consistent theme, intuitive web face and pertinent information will almost always make a good impression. But now we come to the actual implementation of these features.
User Interface (UI) for Dentist Websites
User Interface, or UI, is the actual link between the user and your practice through which you can interact. A phone call, an email, or a chat with your smart assistant. More technically, UI refers to the controls on your website through which the user interacts with your site.
UI and UX are always judged from the viewpoint of the user, but the UI also has a lot to do with the developers and owners of the site. That’s because user experience also impacts directly on development and maintenance costs, and it has to be a balance of these. A website takes lots of testing and experimentation before it reaches the levels of satisfaction needed.
Take the example of image sliders, also known as an image carousel. From a purely theoretical point of view, image sliders are a fantastic way to showcase your practice with pictures. Everyone loves them, right?
Wrong. Research shows that only 1% of users actually click on them, preferring to learn about your site from either your blog, videos, and even user reviews. Combined with the fact that these carousels eat up a lot of space and slow down page loading, they can be catastrophic if not implemented properly.
This example serves to show that UI is a highly dynamic and subjective facet of website design. Yet dentists need to keep up with user interface design if they are to remain competitive in the industry.
UX, UI, and Other Aspects of Web Design for Dentists
It is apparent to anyone that UX and UI are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are highly interdependent and sometimes the lines get blurred. While UX refers to the emotion and feeling that your site arouses, UI is the actual interaction. These two aspects are just one aspect of the massive monster called digital marketing.
Other aspects that help you to successfully market your dental website is SEO and local SEO. Impeccable UX and UI won’t matter a whit if your website is invisible to the eyes of search engines, which is why SEO must be built into your website at all levels.
SEO and Local SEO for Dental Websites
Search engine optimization is all about showing search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing that your dental practice is the best fit for users who use certain keywords. For example, a user will typically begin with a term like ‘dentists near me.’ By incorporating the user’s location, the engine can recommend a practice for them.
Building local SEO into your website is thus one of your best bets if you want to remain discoverable to patients looking for dentists near you. To do that, you need to have compelling web copy.
Web copy is the written content that forms part of your website which is designed to inform readers what your practice is all about. It needs to answer their questions, edge them towards choosing your practice over the hundreds or thousands of other options available, and, most importantly, market you with terms like ‘dental practice near Seattle’.
So yes, I’ll answer the question that’s forming in your mind. Great content is an indispensable part of user experience and user interface. Poor content is unprofessional, confusing, and plain repulsive. Having an all-rounded approach is part of achieving your web design goals for your dental practice.
Implementing Good UX and UI in Dental Websites
The case for UX and UI in designing dental websites can scarcely be made any stronger. But how does one implement these in actual web design? You don’t usually have to worry about that – your web developer will do it for you if they know what they are doing.
However, since the goal here is to know what the goal you’re aiming to achieve is, join us in exploring a few ways of implementing great user experience and an intuitive user interface.
How to Implement UX in Dental Web Design
To reiterate, user experience is about what feelings and emotions you can evoke with your site. The emotional attachment formed with your patients is what makes them take the leap.
User experience for a dental website is very different from what you expect to find at an eCommerce shop or even a general health and wellness site. It’s the same difference that made you take a master or even doctorate in dental medicine/surgery. You have to know what you’re doing and be able to prove that you know it.
Apart from the already mentioned graphics, text, and ease of interaction, other elements of great UX for a dental website include:
Clarity and simplicity
your dental practice is, by nature, highly technical. However, you don’t inspire trust by throwing sophisticated terms around. You do it by being friendly and reassuring, just like you learned in dental school. Your website needs to reflect that as well.
Amid all the many options available to users, yours needs to stand out. One of the best ways to do this is by having better organization and more appealing graphics.
the ultimate reason that a user visits your site is in search of information. Answering their ‘hows’ should be priority number 1. They’re wondering how to find help for their problems, why you’re better than others, how much it will cost them, how long it will take, and many more questions.
Use typography, color themes, blocks of text, and many other elements to create an appealing contrast to your site.
The elements of a good UX design are input controls, navigation components, and information components. Use these effectively, and also make sure that your designer is up to date on the latest trends in the industry.
Implementing Good UI on Dental Websites
The user interface is about being proactive and creating an intuitive website. You have to predict what the user wants and bring to them as simply as possible.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to use standard controls that users are already familiar with. Standard buttons, standard texts, and standard operations instantly makes the user feel familiar. One trick web designers use is to take elements straight off major sites like Facebook and Google, because most people are already conversant with them.
That being said, implementing a proper user interface is more of a trial-and-error process than an exact science. You have to be willing to put in the hours and effort needed. Most importantly, you need to listen to your patients. Get their feedback about your site, implement, listen some more, analyze performance, and continue improving.
We Can Help
If implementing perfect UX and UI sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Some established sites have been doing it for years and yet to be satisfied. You need a skilled and experienced partner to hold your hand along the way.
Here at Search Business Group, dental web design is our specialty. Focusing on it as a niche allows us to be more effective than 99% of companies that offer user general experience and user interface solutions for websites.
We are passionate about lifting your dental practice out of the backwaters of ‘regular’ practice and bring it out into the open where success awaits.
Get in touch with us today and a free evaluation of your dental website – no obligations attached!