Define your website’s purpose. This is one of the first and most important steps of web design. The obvious purpose of your plastic surgery website is to turn site visitors into patients. But this is different than other websites out there. You are not selling a product or service directly through your site, something that visitors can click on and buy right away. Instead, you might look at the purpose of your site as providing an introduction to yourself and your offered services in order to develop a future relationship. In addition, because the services you’re offering are expensive ones, even more relationship building will be required than for, say, an impulse purchase. Another purpose of your plastic surgery site is to provide visitors with information. Potential patients will use the Internet to research plastic surgery, including the details of particular procedures and to find a qualified surgeon. Once you have determined your site’s purpose, always keep it in mind.
Determine your site’s structure. Once you’ve determined your site’s purpose, develop a structure that follows a natural and logical progression for your visitors to navigate through your site. Be sure that you are allowing visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for in an easy, quick manner. A search tool can be very helpful in this regard. It’s best to keep the information on your preliminary pages short, allowing every visitor to find what they want, while providing a link for further information. Overall, keep the structure and progression of your site as logical and simple as possible.
Determine your site’s layout. Going with a commonly used layout is often a good idea because people tend to expect it and are immediately more familiar with your site and its navigation. One of the most common layouts includes navigation running down the left-hand side of the page, your practice logo graphic across the top, and content below and to the right. Another common layout design has both the logo and navigation along the top with the content beneath it. Coming up with your own layout that is completely different from these can be confusing to your visitors.
Take care with graphics. Too many moving graphics can be distracting and are best used with care or not at all. Logo-only entrance pages should be avoided as they tend to delay visitors and simply annoy them. Remember, too, that anything overly ‘cute’ or even ‘cool’ can negatively impact your credibility and your professionalism.
Take care with colors. Your text and background should be comprised of contrasting colors. Black or blue text on a white background is often best. Avoid patterned or busy backgrounds as they can make text more difficult to read. Be sure to check the colors of your text links. Overall, keep the color scheme clean, simple and complimentary.
Take care with text. Use a typeface that is easy to read. Avoid the overly creative typefaces as they can make reading a challenge.
Use white space. White space is a beautiful and essential design element. It can break up text and highlight important elements.
Keep all pages consistent. Make sure that all of your pages are consistent. This includes the colors, typeface, text size and navigation.
Provide good content. Once your site design has persuaded visitors to stay on your site, it’s your content that will keep them there. Make sure that your content is valuable and accurate. Get right to the point with essential information. Keep your pages short so that visitors don’t need to scroll down, breaking up large amounts of text into multiple pages. Be sure to double check all facts, spelling and grammar.
Check download speed and browser compatibility. It’s important that you website loads quickly at various connection speeds. You may have a fast connection, but not everyone else out there does. Also make sure that your site is compatible with different browsers and at different screen resolutions.