It’s amazing how many healthcare blogs and microsites go live with no input from patients. Even if your website vendor has done user testing, here’s why your healthcare marketing team should still do some testing too:
- You and your healthcare marketing team are ultimately responsible for making sure patients get what they need from your website.
- You’ll find out if your website vendor did the job right.
- You save yourself from working late and on weekends backtracking to redo things.
Here are 7 steps to do insightful testing on healthcare blogs and microsites:
Keep in mind these 7 steps are for blogs, microsites and other smaller sites. Hire a professional user experience designer for your healthcare organization’s flagship site.
Grab a patient
Ideally, this patient should fit the target audience, because this is the person who will test your site. Don’t grab another marketing or web professional. They know too much. For example, they might know that this symbol: is for the menu on a mobile device. Others may not.
Whip out your content strategy
If your content strategy was done correctly, it should have identified the key actions and take-home messages for your healthcare blog or microsite. If you did not do a content strategy before developing the site, take a moment to identify 3 key actions you want from the site’s visitors.
Go to Yahoo or TMZ
Stand behind the patient, so you can watch what she does. Ask her to find your healthcare blog or microsite, but don’t give her the web address. Observe how she navigates from the Kim Kardashian story to your site.
If she used Google, what did she type in? Did your site pop up on page one? Do her search terms match the keywords in your content strategy?
If she typed in your healthcare blog or microsite’s web address, how many tries before she got it right? Ideally, the answer is one.
Ask your tester to poke around
Give her exactly 60 seconds. You want to see what her immediate actions are. Does she automatically scroll down, click a link, or take time to read something? Ask her to think out loud.
Take notes on which actions are immediate and intuitive. Do those actions match your goals for the site? If, for example, she immediately went to your featured content or find a doctor link—great!
Give a pop quiz
Based on the 60-second scan, ask:
- Who is the site’s target audience?
- What is this site about?
Your content strategy should have prioritized what you want to promote. If your tester can’t immediately answer these, then the site has a major identity crisis. And you have a lot more work to do.
(FYI: Might want to start by taking off those dated press releases, esoteric clinical awards and dry letters from the president.)
Ask your tester to perform your key tasks, one by one.
If your tester didn’t perform certain key actions while poking around, ask her to do so now. Key tasks could include subscribing to the blog or finding the clinician’s bio.
Again, don’t tell your tester how to do it. If she takes more than 3 clicks to perform your key actions, then the most important content is probably buried.
Rinse and repeat
You or members of your marketing team should do these same seven steps with:
- Somebody on an android tablet
- Somebody on an iPad since web pages open differently on different operating systems
- Somebody on an Android smartphone
- Somebody on an iPhone
If you’re in a time crunch, at least do this:
Get the nitpickiest 80-year-old you know to test the healthcare blog or microsite site on an iPhone.
Why? Because there are a million things that can go wrong on iPhones:
The internet connection drops more easily on smartphones
Not good if your most important pages take forever to load. Only iPhone 5 works with a 4G network, so the connection for older models is still lagging behind a bit.
The screen is itty-bitty
iPhones tend to have one of the smallest screens on the smartphone market. On the image below, the first two phones are iPhones. The red space on the other smart phones shows all of the extra screen real estate people get with other brands. If people can find your content easily on an iPhone without too much pinching, zooming and flicking around, thumbs up.
There are several ways to navigate
On a phone, you can navigate a website on the actual landing page or with the screen’s pop-up key pad. There’s also the go key, the enter key or tab key. They should all offer smooth navigation.
If there are no major issues and the website vendor can’t get to the smaller bugs before the launch date, go live anyway. After all, you’ll be testing your healthcare blog or microsite and making regular updates from now on, right?