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Why User Experience Research is Key to Optimizing Healthcare Websites

Improve your health system’s website performance by implementing user experience (UX) research throughout your UX strategy and UX design.

Wish you knew your site visitors’ thoughts and preferences about your site? Or points of frustration and confusion that users face during critical conversion paths? You can. You need user experience (UX) research. It’s the key to optimizing your website’s digital experience during any stage of the design process. If you’re embarking on a redesign, it’s the first step to ensuring success. And if you’re iterating on your current site, it’s the key to true continuous improvement that will drive revenue and impact your bottom line.

Advantages of UX research

UX research serves many purposes throughout the design process. It helps identify and prove or disprove assumptions, find commonalities across target audience members, and recognize their needs, goals and mental models.

When you bring your consumer data into the conversation through implementing UX research early and often, your health system will:

  • Save money by getting your design strategy right the first time
  • Build brand loyalty by giving web users what they want
  • Save time by optimizing solutions before launch
  • Increase conversions by helping consumers find what they need
  • Improve your search engine optimization (SEO) through user-engagement metrics like time spent on page

Types of research methods

As healthcare marketers, we rely on Google Analytics (GA) to help determine if our website is effective for our users. However, GA doesn’t always explain how to fix the problems to make it more user-friendly. That’s where UX research comes in, to help drive optimized solutions. User research methods include:

  • Quantitative data, which are numerical measurements and observations
  • Qualitative data, which are subjective motivations and desires (the “why”)

Why UX research works

Quantitative and qualitative data informs you of your web visitors’ behavior online and what they think about their digital experience. UX research brings valuable insight during each phase of UX strategy and UX design, such as:

  • Planning – Drives strategy and design with up-front research that helps you understand your users
  • Building – Tests strategy and design to give you direction on what’s working well and what to iterate
  • Launching – Brings validation to your strategy and design to help you maximize your efforts
  • Ongoing – Continues to test solutions in real-time, post-launch to keep your site optimized for consumers

Eliminate expense & save time

It costs your organization money when you don’t get things correct the first time, especially when you don’t meet the demands and expectations of your website visitors. This is called UX debt and can happen when you skip user testing, design by committee, or disregard brand and style guides. According to experts in research-based UX, the Nielson Norman Group, UX debt can pile up over time and, if left unaddressed, leads to compounding user problems and costly cleanup.

UX debt you can avoid

It costs your organization money and time if you have to:

  • Redesign and recode
  • Fix elements to meet accessibility requirements
  • Rewrite content for clarity
  • Rework your information architecture
  • Recreate the customer journey

When done correctly, UX research can save you money and eliminate future expenses by getting your website to hit the mark for your target audience and organization before launch.

Build brand loyalty with a competitive advantage

It’s no surprise that since the pandemic, consumers have been more digitally focused. Even people who weren’t tech-savvy before became tech-savvy through frequent online transactions like online shopping and grocery order pickups. Because of this, your website consumers have new, higher expectations of an easy-to-use, intuitive digital experience.

To gain a competitive advantage and give people a site they love, you need to create an experience that gets at the heart and minds of your consumers.

The path to putting you ahead is UX research because it will tell you:

  • What consumers think about your brand or a competitor’s brand
  • Past experiences that lend insight into the patient journey and decision-making, both online and offline
  • Consumers’ first impressions of your website’s design (imagery, colors, layout) and how it reflects on your brand
  • How consumers currently find care online, and how consumers prefer to find care online
  • Which parts of the user journey are the most difficult or confusing to consumers
  • Barriers to the user journey along the most critical conversion paths
  • How the website does or doesn’t meet the user’s expectations
  • Where to invest your dollars based on real consumer feedback

At its core, UX research helps you uncover problems early and capitalize on them as design opportunities.

Improve SEO

UX research drives a robust UX relevant to your users and provides them with a positive digital experience. These custom experiences won’t go unnoticed by search engines.

SEO now factors in the user-friendliness of your website when ranking searches for users. User-friendliness through the lens of SEO looks at factors such as:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Core Web Vitals (loading, interactivity, and visual stability)
  • Safe browsing
  • No intrusive interstitials or pop-ups
  • Page load speed
  • UX metrics (dwell time, bounce rate)

When more people can find your healthcare system’s website in organic (non-paid) search results, you’ll increase overall site engagement and continue to make a favorable impact on your users.

Drive conversions and revenue

Once search engines and your consumers see you as a trusted source of information and your website provides a good UX that helps meet their needs and solves their problems, you’ll see an increase in online conversions.

Your website will leave an impression after each initial visit. That’s because consumers are looking to connect with a website that’s easy to use. Once they find one, they’re likely to return even if they don’t convert the first time.

What’s more, if you’re dedicated to iterative optimizations even after site launch, you’ll see a continuous improvement that will help you drive revenue and impact your bottom line.

Hit the mark the first time

Ready to dive into the behavior and minds of your consumers? Contact us – we can tell you how your users behave and how they feel about your services with real-time UX research. You’ll get the chance to be involved in the whole process and benefit from working with a partner who knows what to look for, pitfalls to avoid, and how to translate the results into an optimized digital experience.

Why User Experience Research is Key to Optimizing Healthcare Websites