Veterinary Websites: Intuitive Layout and Navigation
When building veterinary websites, it’s important to keep the viewer’s experience at the forefront of design considerations. If a visitor can’t find what they’re looking for quickly and easily, they’ll grow frustrated and leave. When done right, however, the site visitor won’t even notice or think about layout and navigation, because they’ll be too focused on consuming your site’s content. That’s what you want.
While every site is different in its own way, there are basic fundamentals that sites with good layout design practice. Most of us have unknowingly internalized it. That’s why when someone does come across a site poorly laid out it’s often a jarring, frustrating experience. A typical desktop layout looks something like this:
The human eye reads information from left to right and up then down. This simple layout puts things in order of importance. You only have to imagine the navigation bar in the center of the page and the logo at the bottom to understand how important the layout of your site is.
With the rise of mobile, websites have had to adapt. Modern websites are coded to be what’s called responsive, meaning the layout changes depending on the device it is being viewed on. The above layout would be compressed into a single row to fit the smaller screen of a smartphone. Importantly, all of the content would still be there, so mobile visitors do not miss out on anything or have a subpar experience.
The navigation bar should consist of five or six categories max, with attention paid to grouping topics logically and streamlining user experience. Some of the most common top level navigation categories are services, bios, contact information and virtual tours. Simple is always better, so don’t overthink it. Avoid cute or clever categories and stick with descriptive and literal. Hovering over a category will then produce a drop down menu of sub level items to choose from. Alphabetize the list if there’s nothing else to guide the order. It is not recommended to have additional drop down menus from these sub level items.
Callouts are visually eye-catching buttons that are hyperlinked to other pages on your site or other websites all together. They’re called callouts because they are calls to action that encourage a visitor to click. Typically, callouts are used for the direct purchasing of a service of product (called a conversion), for emergency information, or for services pulled out from the navigation bar a business wants to highlight. But they can be used for anything, as seen below.
Veterinary Websites Are What We Do
Above all, the visitor should be able to intuitively navigate the website. Highly sought-after information should be easily accessible. Always approach layout and navigation from the perspective of a site visitor, and remember to keep it simple. We are happy to discuss your layout and design questions when it comes to veterinary websites, and work with you to meet your practice’s digital marketing goals.