Insights

5 disease websites examined, analysed and reviewed

For a pharmaceutical company, health care service provider, medical producer or industry association it is important to develop a website on a medical condition. This kind of website is a clever way to provide the target group with reliable and relevant medical information and enhance the online presence of the organization. Through a disease website a pharmaceutical company, health care service provider, medical producer or industry association is able to provide its target group with information on a disease and encourage them to take action. To discover what the quality of these websites is, I examine, analyze and review 5 websites on medical afflictions.

What will i pay attention to?

To judge all of the websites on medical afflictions in the same way, i drafted review criteria in the form of 10 questions:

  • What is the goal of the website and is this clear on sight?
  • Is the website coherent?
  • How is the navigation set up?
  • Are there enough conversion elements built in?
  • What is the design like?
  • In what way is the text implemented?
  • Does the content look reliable?
  • Is the content relevant?
  • Is there a blog present?
  • Is there a forum present?

For the purpose of this article i examine the following 5 websites on medical afflictions: crohn.nl, Kanker.nl, Pandasweb.nl, Ziektevanparkinson.net en MSweb.nl. I analyze them on the basis of aforementioned criteria. To conclude i share general advice for if you want to create a website on medical afflictions yourself.

1: Crohn.nl

Crohn.nl is a website of this day and age. This shows from the modern design that uses a large and wide image on the homepage and symbols that give the content a more powerful and clear look and feel. The goal is to offer information on the affliction of Crohn and make sure that visitors click through. The information that is offered is easily attainable due to the easy navigating from page to page. The contemporary website is very clear. The headlines appear instantly and images are widely used.

Crohn.nl, an initiative of AbbVie, is a website where the visitor is encouraged to click through. The questionnaire helps you to inform yourself of the affliction and provides the relevant information one is looking for before they visit a doctor. The information on the website seems reliable because the professional organization AbbVie is the author. Besides this, the sleekness of the design projects the image that the website is created by professionals.

The texts on Crohn.nl are informal and very accessible. You read through them quite easily and they are very informative. On almost every page elements of conversion are built in like submitting a request for a brochure or your contact details. The texts trigger something: you are pushed to answer questions and inform yourself of the Crohn disease. Because there is no blog or forum present, it is hard to know how relevant the content on Crohn.nl is. SEO-wise the websites passes up on opportunities this way.

2: Kanker.nl

The first impression of Kanker.nl is a good one. The website seems very detailed and the goal seems to be to inform the target group. Through the quote that appears on the homepage, it is clear that Kanker.nl offers all relevant information on cancer and you can share experiences with people that are looking for information on this affliction. Besides giving information there is definitely room for interaction with other visitors.

Kanker.nl, an initiative of KWF Kankerbestrijding, patient association Levenmetkanker and IKNL, contains a lot of information, but is because of the sleek design reasonably clear. The search bar offers you the opportunity to look directly for information and the tabs make sure the information is presented well. You navigate easily from page to page and that is good for a website with as much information as Kanker.nl. While browsing the website i discover that the website is crammed with conversion elements. Often i come across a ‘Join in!’-button that asks me to become member and share my knowledge on the affliction.

To check the relevance of the website, i tend to look at the blog. There is one on Kanker.nl. Here i discover that members of the website are allowed to submit blogs themselves and often do this. The blog subjects are discussed in the forum, a ‘discussion group’ in this case. Here visitors talk to one another daily on different, related subjects to cancer.

Since it is stated clearly that three large organizations initiated Kanker.nl, i can assume that the information is reliable. These organizations do a lot of research on the affliction and distribute the results among the target group on this website. In these discussion groups visitors discuss their experiences and give their opinion, what makes the information somewhat tainted. Because of this the authenticity of this information is in doubt.

The web texts on the website are informal and occasionally encourage people to click through (like taking part in the forum). The information is a good fit with the simple design. The point is to inform the visitor, not create a fantastically beautiful design. A point of improvement for Kanker.nl is to make the homepage seem less cluttered. This page contains a lot of information while there is no need for this, seeing that this content can be put easily on other pages.

3: PANDAS

The goal of Pandasweb.nl is to inform and stimulate interaction between website visitors on the affliction PANDAS (pediatric auto-immune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcol infections). The content on this website looks pretty dated, seeing that most articles are from 2011. However, on the forum there have been recent responses to a question and also in the news overview there was a post this last month.

Who is behind Pandasweb.nl, is not clear. The only company that appears is the media agency that developed the website: Grasgroen Media. I do not consider the website appealing, but it is clear. It is evident that the design is only meant to add to the website being informative and organized. It is hard to find any images and every page contains lots of text. The text is formal and the pages have no elements of conversion. The search for more information on the affliction on Pandasweb.nl can be continued through the ‘Where can i find more information on PANDAS?’-page.

Because the organization behind the website is not clear, it is hard to regard the content as reliable. However, sources are called by name, which does build a little trust. Besides this there are different links inside the texts that refer to other medical websites that could be relevant. Advice for Pandasweb.nl is coming up with a new design with more images and less text. This will add to the user experience.

4: Parkinson’s disease

‘All about Parkinson’ is one of the first things you read when you land on Ziektevanparkinson.net. Their goal is clear: to inform people about Parkinson’s disease. Most pages on the website are updated for the last time in 2013. There is also no blog and no forum present. Very relevant the website is not.

Ziektevanparkinson.net is part of Informedics.nl. This is a large network of medical online publishers in the Netherlands. The website is leading in the medical online supply of information. Informedics has a number of websites on afflictions, all very relevant for people that are looking for information about a certain disease.

The pages on Ziektevanparkinson.net are purely informative. The texts are formal, but definitely written in an accessible way. In general everyone should be able to understand the content. On the website no conversion elements are included. Only the Facebook- and Twitter-accounts of Informedics ask visitors to follow the pages.

Every website on afflictions of Informedics has the same recognizable style and the same design. Navigating is easy and it is not hard to find what you are looking for. The website is designed in a clear and simple manner. It is purely about sharing information, not per se about a design that is interesting. Seeing that Informedics is the organization behind the website, i can assume that the content is reliable. This is definetely an asset. A letdown is the lack of a blog and forum. Through this you can keep a website relevant, supply the target group with important content and acquire a stronger online presence in Google.

5: MSweb.nl

MSweb.nl is a website on the affliction Multiple Sclerosis. The goal of the website is clear: to inform and stimulate interaction between visitors of the website. The website seems highly relevant. Below the tab ‘Actueel’ are many blogs and news-items that are added daily. On the forums messages are submitted on a daily basis. MSweb.nl asks you almost immediately to support their website. This happens through the ‘Support us! Click here!’-conversion element, in the header of the homepage.

The organization behind and the sponsor of MSweb.nl is MS Association Netherlands. A six-person editorial office and a large number of employees are responsible for maintaining the website. They manage the content, design and technical issues of the website. The texts on the website are informal and easy to read. The content is produced by people that have a lot of knowledge of MS. I therefore assume that the information is reliable and relevant to the target group.

Through its many links you navigate easily from page to page. Besides this, the website is very clear and extensive. There is a lot of information on the website about the affliction and the content offers many answers to questions about MS. Some advice to make the website even better, is bringing the personal stories on the website more to the front. There are many instances on the website of MS-patients with interesting stories. It seems interesting to me for them to elaborate more on these stories through, for example, video. You can put up a video on the homepage every week. This showcases the human side.

In short?

After this research i can say that for many afflictions particular websites exist. The quality of these websites differ however. Some websites seem very up to date, while others seem like they have not been looked after for years. To inform is the most important goal of a website on afflictions, and this counts for all analyzed websites. Not every website has a blog or forum, which is a shame, seeing that it promotes the interaction between visitors and makes a website easy to be found.

The encouragement to click through was positively influenced on a couple of websites (Crohn.nl, Kanker.nl en MSweb.nl) by conversion elements. During the analysis i discovered that short and informal texts are more easy to read. The subject is often pretty complex, so it is nice if the writing style is as accessible as possible. The design does not have to be complicated. It should fit with the target (inform, activate, inspire and so on) and make sure the content comes into its own.

The ideal website on an affliction

Do you, as a pharmaceutical company, health care service provider, medical producer, or association want to launch a website that provides answers to e-patients’ medical questions? Take these analyses into account. Think of what the website should accomplish. Do you only want to inform a visitor? Or encourage them to do something? You want your visitor to stay on the website. The navigation must be well-thought-out and the content relevant. A clear design that fits with the goal adds to the user experience of the website.

It is smart to mention the author behind the website. Content without a clear source seems unreliable and when it concerns medical information that is not really convenient. The website has to be well put together SEO-wise, so that people that are looking for information on a certain affliction eventually land on the website. To make the text SEO-proof, a keyword analysis is essential. Hereby you gain insight into the search terms that the target group uses in her quest for information on a specific medical condition. You can take these terms into account when writing your website texts and picking the H1- and H2-titles. You can also incorporate keywords in your blogs.

Think of implementing conversion elements. Design and develop clear call-to-action buttons. Through these your visitors will return to your website more often when new content is submitted. This can be in the form of a blog. A forum supplies a lot of returning visitors and generates a lot of interaction between visitors.

Use this advice and increase your chance of a successfull website on afflictions. Next week i investigate 5 websites of pharmaceutical companies. How do they communicate their information online and encourage their target group to click through?

source image: JD HanCock

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