Small businesses hold the economy up and we are reliant on them, but many of them go unnoticed due a lack of social media or more importantly a website. My team and I looked for a local business in La Jolla in need of help, until we met a hard-working dentist's office that needed a website revamp. We covered everything from client management, brand design, user research, and product design in a span of 10 weeks. This was a combined effort with Elizabeth Morgan, Nadia Corral, and Kelly Nham.
After agreeing on redesigning our client’s website, we scouted their original site and found it lacking in brand identity, its information was outdated, and was missing key features like a scheduling system, or services provided. We proceeded to look up top dentist websites in the area, and in the US overall.
After finding the highest rated websites, we analyzed the sites components, and we compared them to each other to find the most common factors.
After analyzing the common components found in successful dentistry websites, we made a list of them along with a low fidelity version to show the client an abstract of the site.
The client agreed with some of the components like the business hours, and disagreed with others like pricing of procedures due to a law not permitting dentist to display procedures costs.
At this point I realized there is more than design components that go into a dentistry website, but there are laws involved too, this taught me to be open to different design dynamics depending on the context of the site I am designing.
The main attractions of the website would be the insurance checker, were the user can check if the dentist office accepts their insurance, and the booking appointment system.
The booking appointment system presented another issue with our client. Our user research demonstrated customers value a system where they can book an appointment, and can see the empty slots in the week, while our client preferred the client to call directly to check for availability, we had to find a middle ground.
We opted for a system where the user can input their personal data, their desired date, time range, and any extra note they had for the dentist office. By giving the user the option to input their preferred time of day, the dentist can check availability and reach back to them without compromising their privacy.
Once we agreed on the site’s architecture, and brand design, we started user testing with our target demographics of 22 - 60. We discovered some flaws on our designs from architecture, visual, and functionality.
User testing helped us understand the users better to create a better experience for them and make them feel safer and cared for.
Through user testing and feedback, we iterated on our original design in multiple aspects like types of fonts to make the site cleaner, scheduling appointments system, amongst others.
This experience brought me a lot of lessons that have made more aware of a product designer’s responsibilities. The way you communicate with the client, can affect the project for better or worse. It's important to manage the client’s expectations, and opinions to not let them harm their own end-product.
Communication along the design team can greatly improve the design workflow, from something as simple as a weekly chat or having a group coffee run can solidify the team’s goals and paths.
Lastly, every business design field has its own game rules, from laws restraining what a dentist office can show on their website, or prioritizing user comfort due to the context of the business. So it is vital for the designer to be able to adapt and be willing to learn the business knacks.