Saturday, March 27, 2010

Website Usability Review: Belmont Behavioral Health

As of an ongoing series, every few weeks I will be reviewing various psychology and psychiatry websites with an eye towards user centered design and usability. Hopefully, you'll be able to get some ideas on what to do and what to avoid when it comes to your own website

This week: Belmont Behavioral Health (http://www.einstein.edu/yourhealth/behavioral/index.html)

This site is one component of the Einstein Health System. It seems to be a comprehensive in/out patient center providing all sorts of treatment. It is a danger in this type of offering that you need to be all things to all people. However, from a usability point of view, this is one of the best sites I've ever seen.

On the front page, there are four colored boxes, each with a clear title. What makes it so special is that the titles aren't "Symptoms" or "Diagnosis". They are "I am feeling..." with links that say "Sad", "Anxious", "Stressed", "Angry" and "view More Choices." This is fantastic, because it speaks specifically to visitors in a heightened emotional state. Rather than having 20 choices on the front page, there are just 4, with a link to seeing more.

I assume that the 4 links in each box on the front page are either the most frequently needed, or the 4 main specialties that the center wants to be known for. However, by having a "View More Choices" displayed so prominently, if I don't feel sad, anxious, stressed, or angry, I know instantly that I can see they have what I'm feeling. They avoid medical jargon and stick to language patients would actually use.

They also have the call to action, the thing they want you to do, displayed prominently on every page. The telephone number appears on the left, in big, bold letters, and at the end of each description of symptom or diagnosis.

In addition, the frequent use of customer stories, personal reflections, and specific examples are brilliant. It helps visitors identify and understand the point the center is trying to make.

This isn't the prettiest website in the world. In fact, it looks like someone made it years ago and it hasn't been updated since. However, the quality of the experience offsets any lack of polish on the design.

But heck, that's just my reaction. What do you think?

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