How many times have you been researching a purchase decision and been put off by a poor or out-dated website, or poor mobile functionality? It’s what marketers call a secondary indicator: “If they are scrimping on their website, what else are they scrimping on?” This is the type of response that mobile-first helps to combat.
Mobile First is a digital design concept that uses one simple rule. Design your website for smartphones first, then scale up that design for tablets and desktops. The industry jargon for this is Progressive Enhancement, which basically means you start with the essentials on mobile, then add more functions for more sophisticated devices.
Why design for mobile first?
When it comes to devices, users are turning to their mobiles first to answer their questions, and for 25% of Americans, they are turning to their mobile only.
In Australia, research shows that 15.3m people have smartphones. A little cross-referencing with the 2011 census shows that this means roughly 96.2% of Australians between 15 and 74 have a smartphone. Tablet ownership is estimated at 11.2m, meaning around 70.4% of Australians in that age-range use a tablet.
Research by Google and Galaxy a few years ago also discovered that 74% of Australians rely on their phones at least as much as they rely on their desktops when searching for information, ideas, or advice.
So, it’s not hard to see why Mobile First as a design practice is becoming the norm.
What does this mean for medical practitioners?
It means more people are relying on the double-edged sword of Doctor Google. It also means that your website is increasingly becoming patients’ first impression of you, and in the future, your website on a mobile will be patients’ first (and in some cases only) impression of you.
Why is Doctor Google a double-edged sword?
Because patients Googling symptoms and looking for information online puts practitioners in a position to meet this need. Mobile optimised sites with helpful resources and information for patients will improve patients’ knowledge, and help position practitioners as thought leaders in their speciality.
As with any business, future proofing is essential, and businesses that adapt early will have a significant edge over their competitors. Investing in mobile friendly design now means that you’re helping to secure future business. Millennials might not be a high-value patient now, but in 5-10 years when they start having children and need a whole suite of new services, you’ll be the practice that they turn to.
When targeting millennials, a mobile strategy is no longer optional or a nice-to-have. The Google Consumer Barometer Survey from 2014/2015 showed 40% of millennials research purchases on smartphones, more than twice as many as people over 35.
Mobile-friendly features like a Google My Business page with a link to your website, photos, reviews, and a button to call you directly are becoming more essential because of this. Google My Business is already how people are looking for a local doctor and it will only continue to grow in popularity.
Mobile optimised features like online booking, cancellations, and reminders will also be a great way for practices to streamline the patient journey and make administration easier. Ultimately, what helps patients will help practitioners in the long run too.
Helpfully, Google has a test page to help see how well optimised your site is on mobile (see https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly).
Worried by the results? Contact Vividus and become mobile first today.