Have you ever experienced déjà vu? Health communicators who have worked in or with marketing know this strange feeling very well. We often sit in different meetings in all too familiar conference rooms, where we’re facilitating very similar conversations.
As we concept campaigns with team members representing both the clinical and creative side, it can be hard to find a happy medium where everyone feels adequately represented. For website projects in particular, the clinical side is usually concerned with accuracy and how well their information is received. The creative side is looking for a “wow” factor. It’s hard to get everyone on the same page.
Throughout past 10 years, I have been able to work on a lot of digital-driven hospital campaigns, and although they’ve always worked out, helping the team come to a consensus when working on a web project is almost an art form. Both sides are trying to navigate roadblocks like industry-specific regulations or budget limitations, and as health communicators, we understand how equally important these concerns are.
Websites that are well thought out and designed are crucial for the way your information is presented and the success of the message. When we are working with content that is related to health or services related to health, we are met with a lot of simple navigation and “boring” web pages. That’s because the material has to be appropriate for an audience that has a wide-range of reading levels, physical disabilities, and a host of other needs and concerns. .
Our blog recently shared an article from Fast Company on Facebook and Twitter that resonated with a lot of our followers about user experience and designing with accessibility in mind. Experts from Google suggested that it actually takes more imagination than usual to reach the more than 1 billion people in the world who have a disability. The colors you choose, the way your information is read on different devices, and how you label things can make all the difference for someone who cannot see or read very well.
Evidence shows that good design even improves business performance, and ignoring critical details might make it hard for you to stand out from the competition. Health care providers are more limited than most industries when it comes to design because they have to consider current patients—who are more likely to have special needs—and future ones.
Right now, only providers like county hospitals and public health departments that are government owned are required to adhere to ADA guidelines when it comes to their websites. If they haven’t already, privately owned entities should consider adopting some of the ADA’s best practices to be more inclusive.
Advertising to a targeted audience in health care is a way of the past, and that’s good news for us health care folks! With so many new devices to play on and platforms from which people can get their information, there’s something to make both our right- and left-brained teammates happy.