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Informed Owl

Wise Local Marketing

I love hospitals! Well, not exactly…

Actually, I love going to hospital mobile websites.  And I love comparing one to another because it typically ends up demonstrating something very important about a business’s mobile web presence.

Ask yourself a very simple question.  Why would I go to a hospital’s website on my phone? If you think like me, it would probably be for one of a very limited number of reasons; you want the phone number, or directions/address, or the phone number of a specific doctor. If you’re on your phone searching for a hospital, then your need for a health service seems to be imminent.

Compare that to why you might want to look at a hospital website on a desktop or laptop. That feels a little different.  Maybe you want to know their services, or do a doctor search. You might ALSO want the phone number and directions, but there are many other reasons you could come up with.

One is about immediacy and utility. The other is about research and knowledge.

So, for the purposes of this demo, I’ll use the mobile websites of a couple hospitals in St. Paul, MN, where I work.

First, the mobile site for Regions Hospital:


The first thing you see is this very friendly woman smiling out at you, which can be a nice experience.  But what you’re REALLY looking for is in small print at the very bottom of the screen. And if you’re like me, the smaller the text, the more difficult it is to see or to tap so you can actually make the call.  So remember, when it comes to mobile, utility trumps pretty pictures.

Next, Allina Health:


This is a perfect example of a very common mistake made in mobile design.  This pushes navigation front and center.  No “useable” information. So, now you have to start searching for your information. This is what you might see at the bottom of a mobile web page. If you’re a mom with a screaming child in your car, this is not what you’re going to want to see nor interactive with. So, in a mobile environment, utility first, navigation second.

Finally, let’s look at one from Colorado Springs, CO.


Thank you, Penrose-St. Francis! This tells me that there’s a 33 minute wait in the emergency room and you can tap that link and tell the hospital you’re coming. And the directions are right below that. That’s a perfect example of how to provide utility on mobile.

So, for your business, ask yourself the same question I asked you earlier. What would someone on a mobile device be looking for from YOU?  How would that differ from someone on a laptop.  Once you’ve asked yourself those questions, you’re on your way to creating the right kind of mobile experience for your customers.