Functional Website Design: More Than Just a Pretty Face

Picture this: You’re meeting with a new patient to discuss treatment options for her badly stained teeth. As you prepare to launch into a discussion about the benefits of in-office teeth whitening, you notice that her teeth have been all but destroyed by decay. Technically you could make her teeth appear whiter and more beautiful, but wouldn’t it be better to focus on restorative dental work before addressing cosmetic concerns?

Website design and dentistry have more in common than you might think. The same principle applies to designing an attractive, effective dental website. A pleasing color scheme and high-quality images may site visitors’ attention, but functionality keeps them on your site and ultimately drives them to make contact. For now, let’s focus on principles of functional dental web design; we’ll look at aesthetics in a later post.

WHO will visit our website?

Patients, obviously, but let’s break it down further. Does your practice generally cater to a few clearly defined demographics? If dental implants are your signature service, your audience will most likely be older adults. A pediatric dentist would design a website that speaks to parents, especially mothers. Are they tech-savvy?

WHY are they visiting our website?

Remember the days when the search for a dentist began with a long list of names and numbers in a phone book? Information was limited at best with no indication of a dentist’s specialty, exact distance, patient satisfaction, or accepted insurance providers. It wasn’t that this information wasn’t important then, rather a matter of space constraints. Ideally, your website should present this information in a logical, easily navigated format. Drop-down menus and toolbars come to mind.

HOW do they visit our website?

Ten years ago, it was as simple as designing for a laptop or desktop screen. Today, your patients access the Web on smartphones and tablets with varying screen sizes and loading times. Responsive web design–design that accommodates a variety of browsers and devices–is critical. If your site isn’t optimized for different viewing experiences, you’ve alienated a sizable chunk of your target audience.

About Jill Nastasia: Jill is CEO and director of business development at MDPM Consulting, a marketing firm catering to the unique needs of dentists. To learn more about web design, blogging, and SEO for dentists, email or contact us at 972-781-8861.