The best websites follow the same principles – they are concise, relevant, well organised and simple to navigate, and result in customer satisfaction, memorability and efficiency. In the web design industry these characteristics are referred to as a website’s usability and utility.

So to ensure the success of your GP practice website follow our top tips:

Usability – Focus on functionality

Blinking or scrolling text, elaborate animation or intros, music and other gimmicks may be pretty to look at but only end up as distractions for the site user. Patients visit a gp practice website for a reason – to order repeat prescriptions, cancel an appointment, get directions, find a new doctor etc. So, if they do not quickly find what they are looking for they will either phone the practice for your staff to deal with an additional call or simply be a potential patient your practice has lost.

Decide what is the most important information, or frequently asked for information and feature this most prominently on your homepage and navigation.

Keep the navigation simple and positioned prominently at the top of every page. If your site contains many pages, structure the navigation into logical sections for the patient to drill down to the information they seek. At the minimum the navigation should feature Contact Us, Clinics & Services, Practice Information, Patient Services such as prescriptions and appointments, and don’t forget a link back to the home page.

Utility – Every page should have useful meaningful content

Without useful, meaningful quality content even the slickest most useable design is meaningless. Utility is very important – a medical website must be useful for patients. The goal is to become a reliable medical resource for your patients to visit regularly for their medical requirements and for potential new patients to access practice information and pre-register.

Ask reception staff what are the subjects of most enquires from patients and ensure that your website provides answers to those questions.

So, when designing a medical website for your GP practice keep in mind usability and utility. When adding or editing pages to your site think of the value of what you are adding – does it serve to inform your patients and potential patients? Look at the overall structure of the site – does it help the patient access information and services efficiently? Get the balance of usability and utility correct and your medical practice website will help to convert visitors into actual patients and enhance the service you provide to existing patients.