There are numerous factors that are used to evaluate your medical website; both by search engines and your target patient audiences. Google itself looks for websites that check off its list of optimization and accessibility and then considers them satisfactory enough to display them to its users. When patients are directed to your medical websites, they determine their first impression based on the landing copy, the website’s appearance, features, and overall website accessibility.
Your healthcare practice’s credibility, its medical services, and your patient service are also evaluated based on how your medical website looks and works. However, despite being such an important factor in digital medical marketing, it’s one of its most underlooked aspects. In a recent study, it was estimated that over one million websites don’t pay any attention to accessibility features and have an average of 51 accessibility flaws.
Any online business that wants to reach all of its target audience must make its website accessible. This is why learning the true definition of website accessibility, its importance, and its practices is essential for doctors and online medical business owners to help them achieve optimal healthcare website accessibility and reach all of their target patient audiences.
There are hundreds of people among your patient base that may have visual (e.g color blindness) or auditory (e.g hearing difficulties) accessibility issues. Developing and maintaining your medical website so that all kinds of your existing and potential patients despite their disabilities can access, understand, and interact with your medical content is known as website accessibility.
This entails implementing navigation features for anyone viewing on any kind of device with any disability can access and understand the information on your medical website. All your medical website’s features must be optimized, the landing copy compelling, and the appearance aligned with your medical brand.
According to Website Accessibility Material Guidelines, a properly accessible website must be perceivable (content must be communicated to your patients in a way that they can understand despite their disabilities), operable (A website’s user interface and navigation must function in a way to boost your patients’ experience), and robust (all of the website’s content must be reliable, original, and engaging).
If your medical website cannot be viewed by all kinds of users, you face the danger of alienating your audience, losing potential customers, and possibly even facing legal action. Your patient audience is made of all kinds of users with various disabilities. The WHO estimates that over a billion people worldwide have a disability. This is why it’s crucial to develop your medical website in a way that doesn’t alienate these people.
Google takes website accessibility seriously when it comes to ranking your medical website for SERPs. It evaluates your medical website and all its pages for accessibility errors and decides upon your medical business’s authority. It takes time, work, and effort to ensure that your website and medical content are as inclusive as possible. While it may seem impossible, you can achieve complete website accessibility by implementing some smart strategies.
To keep your medical website accessible, you must pay attention to its design components; including your website’s fonts, medical content, and overall layout. Here are some important accessibility practices that can ensure your healthcare website’s accessibility:
1. Decide On The Correct CMS
The most fundamental website accessibility practice is deciding on the right CMS to use to manage your medical website. A good content management system (CMS) works with all of your patients and assists you in website development and maintenance procedures. If your healthcare practice has a limited budget for online medical marketing, picking a simple yet inclusive CMS can help you develop an accessible healthcare website.
When it comes to the most popular and used CMS for healthcare websites, WordPress is the one most medical marketers go for. It has a variety of accessibility features that are easy to understand and can help you manage your medical website. You can also opt for Drupal, which is another popular CMS choice, however, you might need web development assistance to use it properly.
2. Sort Your Headings In The Right Order
As they communicate the importance of a section of your medical website’s content and introduce new sections in an article or blog, headings are crucial for organizing the content. How you choose to use your headings is decided by your medical brand’s style manual. But, headings are much more than just text dividers.
They are an essential HTML element and help your patients understand the medical content’s organization and the importance of its many sections. If you don’t use headings in your medical website’s content, it’s important that you start implementing them now. Keep your headers in order, following consecutively from H1, H2, H3, H4, and H5 as necessary and use the same heading type to specify the similar content sections.
3. Implement Alt Text Anywhere Necessary
For a website to be accessible, the use of alt text is necessary. Patients will use the text, which is normally requested for all images inside your CMS, to interpret your image for someone who is unable to see the visual on your medical website. The purpose of alt text allows disabled patients to navigate the content on your medical website easily. Because alt text affects how Google interprets the visual content on your medical website as well, it is also a crucial component of your on-page SEO checklist.
4. Make Sure Your Fonts Are Readable
The first impressions often rely on visuals. If your medical website uses a tiny and minimalistic typeface, it will be hard for all of the patients visiting you to interpret what message you’re conveying. Pick a font style that is readable yet attractive. Readable fonts on a website play an important role in marketing psychology. If anything is difficult to read, it is automatically less credible in the eyes of your patients.
5. Don’t Rely Solely On Visuals To Convey Information
Any content that must only be conveyed through graphics or visuals automatically brings down the accessibility of your medical website. Websites that only rely solely on videos, gifs, or infographics lose a big number of audiences who are unable to interpret the content.
Google also likes to see a website that offers its content in various forms instead of only using one. For infographics, videos, or images, offer a text description. Similarly for textual content, you can use audio descriptions to reach your visually impaired patient audience.
6. Ensure That All Navigation Is Keyboard-Friendly
To ensure that your patients engage with your medical content, browse through the pages on your medical website, and subscribe to your emails, you must enable keyboard navigation to make your website accessible. The Tab key is frequently used by keyboard users to navigate websites. It takes testing and some coding setup to navigate your medical website using this key successfully.
Website accessibility is now being considered mandatory for all online businesses as the standards of digital marketing and the guidelines of search engine algorithms change. Especially as a doctor and a medical business owner, you know the importance of inclusivity among your patients. It is important to prioritize healthcare website accessibility if you want to make sure your medical business and marketing strategies reach all of your target patient audiences and help them receive the medical services they need.