Why Should My Medical Practice Care About Responsive Design?
The web is changing, and medical providers having “mobile-friendly” websites isn’t enough. First, to clarify, “mobile web design” and “responsive design” do not mean the same thing.
- Mobile-friendly web design may simply mean that one version of a medical practice’s website loads on a smartphone while another version of the website loads on larger tablets and desktop screens. This means having multiple versions of the same practice website.
- Responsive web design enables your patients to load a webpage using the same version of a website because the layout will dynamically adjust depending on the size of the display. This translates to having one version of the website loading for any screen size from a small four inch smartphone to showing off your website in your practice’s lobby on an 80 inch television screen.
If you are reading this on a desktop computer or laptop, you can see responsive design for yourself by making this window bigger and smaller! You will see how the elements of this blog post adjust to your window size. So technically responsive web design is mobile-friendly web design, but mobile-friendly web design may not be responsive if there is a separate mobile version of a site. (Think of it as all pinkies are fingers, but not all fingers are pinkies.)
Why Were There Non-Responsive Mobile-Friendly Medical Websites to Begin With?
Many years back, websites were only made for desktops. In fact, back when the original iPhone launched in 2007, Apple’s original press release for the first iPhone highlighted that users could “see any web page the way it was designed to be seen, and then easily zoom in to expand any section by simply tapping on iPhone’s multi-touch display with their finger.” Just being able to browse the web on a small screen in itself was amazing that having to jump through hoops to read content on a web page was still considered a great feature!
At the time of the explosive growth of smartphones, there weren’t many smartphone size variants due to the market being so new. Tablets like Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface tablets didn’t exist yet. (Some tablets existed, but they were not very mainstream products.) Web pages mainly needed to be optimized for desktop displays and small phones. Responsive web design was not as necessary.
What Has Changed for Patients for Doctors to Need Responsive Web Design?
Consumer technology continued to evolve. There were newer smartphones of varying sizes, tablets started gaining popularity, desktops were still being a large source of web traffic, and emerging smart devices even allowed our refrigerators to browse the web began hitting the market. These new and evolving technologies raised the need for our websites to adjust – not the other way around. Rather than having different medical websites for different screen sizes which would increase maintenance and costs for medical practices, a newer form of web design rose in popularity called responsive design. As mentioned earlier, websites using responsive design will adjust their layout on-the-fly based on the screen size to look great on any display.
So whether you browse the web using a 1.5 inch smartwatch or putting a large TV proudly displaying your website on the waiting room’s wall, a proper responsive website for your medical office will look great anywhere and on anything!
If My Medical Website is Mobile Friendly, but Not Responsive, is it Worth a Redesign?
In short – yes! There are many benefits to going responsive for your practice. Here are some of them:
- It makes you more money! Google has multiple case studies even dating back to 2013 showing how going from mobile-friendly to responsive increases in conversions. You can read more on their case studies from Baines & Ernst, Pusnet, and Towergate.
- It’s less costly to maintain. Having multiple websites to show the same content on different screen sizes means more maintenance to each version of the website.
- It is designed for the current implementations of display technology. With so many devices with different screen sizes, it allows your site to look great on almost anything!
What’s the Point When Your Site Still Looks Fine on Desktop and Mobile?
It’s important to be present online because not being present means not being found. However, being present and not on the latest trends will also cost your practice. Google’s documentation recommends responsive design for SEO benefits as well. If you’re not there, then your competition is. If you’re not keeping up though, your competition will.
In several years from now, we may be talking about optimizing your website for virtual reality! The reality is (pun intended), technology is always growing. There’s no such thing as “finally winning” the game. The best way to win is to keep playing! Having an old website that technically is mobile friendly, but not using modern web techniques, is not good enough. That website may pass Google’s mobile friendly test, but there’s a difference between doing the bare minimum to stay afloat and proactively giving great experiences for your patients both in and out of the office. You owe it to your practice and your patients to have a modern website that offers everything your patients need.
With foldable phones hitting the market, this may be the next “big thing” for mobile tech! With features such as multi-window and different screens sending app content back and forth from the back of the phone to the “inside” of the phone for a tablet view, you’ll want a responsive website for your medical practice so you’re ready. Let your website do the heavy lifting with a responsive website from Practis!
What Are You Waiting For? Let’s Get in Touch
Practis makes websites that are fast and responsive so that your medical practice can be there for your patients in a way that follows modern design guidelines. See examples of our responsive web themes for doctors that are designed and marketed to help connect you with new patients.