Web Takes … March 2013 Picks

March 1, 2013

Lakeland HealthCare

Most consumers think of hospitals as being “institutional,” and un­fortunately, hospital websites tend to support that impression. Of course, children’s hospitals often break that mold, rightfully believing they can be a bit playful. But this website for a health system serving southwestern Michigan projects anything but an institutional image, while still looking very professional.

There’s a welcoming, consumer-centric aspect to the site. The global navigational tabs use action verbs in orange caps, such as FIND a Doc­tor, LOCATE Services, BE Healthy. A large tab entitled “Let Us HELP You” links to a page that provides guidance on using the tabs. One of the tabs, USE This Site, offers links to information by audience (such as associates, patients and visitors, phy­sicians), as well as links to key areas of interest. The “DECIDE on Care” tab, however, covers topics found in the other areas and doesn’t really offer guidance on “deciding” what care is appropriate for a medi­cal condition.

The rest of the home page is inviting and informative. A large banner, in a rectangular shape with sloping horizontal lines, offers five rotating messages that grab visitors’ atten­tion. Below the banner are sections to access online tools, learn about community events and classes, and share a story. In the latter case, a promo box covers two topics – solicitation of stories and subscrip­tion to an e-newsletter. It is not clear that a visitor should click on the e-newsletter heading to sign up, and once on the sign-up form, there is no information on what the e-newsletter covers.

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