Dark colored website designs are becoming increasingly popular. Many clients are drawn to the visual impact of dark designs, but it has been demonstrated that these designs aren’t suitable for all websites, and are especially not suited for either dental website design or website design for medical doctors. This blog post will address this concept, and at the same time provide some new and improved medical marketing ideas.
Dark vs. Light – The Age-Old Conundrum
In ancient mythology, the underworld (Hades’ realm) was said to be an underground realm of darkness, in sharp contrast with the light, celestial home of the gods in the sky. This concept was passed down to Christians via the Bible. On the First Day, according to the creation narrative of Genesis, God separated the light from the darkness and saw that it was good. Angels without sin were described as pure white, often with accompanying light halos. Misbehaving angels were called the “Dark Angels.” This concept has passed down through the millennia and is still prevalent today. In Western culture, we still equate the color white with innocence and purity. Brides still wear white, regardless of any premarital escapades. Villains, in Hollywood and elsewhere, flaunt their black clothing and hats with sinister sneers. Good healing magic is white. Evil, destructive magic is black. The list goes on and on.
Witchcraft and Goths, Oh My!
A witchcraft epidemic swept through America and Europe in the 17th century. Witches dressed in black held black masses (also known as black sabbath) and were frequently accompanied by their familiars, usually a black cat, but sometimes it was a black goat, dog, bear, wolf, rooster, deer, or serpent. The concept of black witchery has been passed down over the centuries and is still one of the basic tenets of one of our favorite holidays, Halloween. Enter the Goths. This post-punk subculture rose to prominence in the early 1980s. They embraced punk, Victorian, and deathrock styles, and embraced black hair, black clothing, and somber themes. Goth morphed into a love affair with vampirism, to the delight of the young and the consternation of the old. Unfortunately, a large percentage of humans soon equated the Goth’s color choice – black – with drug abuse, blood drinking, kinky sex and rampant alcoholism.
What Does This Have to Do with Medical and Dental Website Design?
More than you might think. Although many of us don’t admit it, there is a deep, festering little part of our minds that equates the color black with evilness and death. This is not the kind of subliminal baggage that we want to bring to medical website designs. Yeah, I have cancer and whoa, looking at this site, I feel that my imminent demise is just around the corner – Click! On to a brighter site.
Now On to Logic, and Farewell to the Gobbledygook
Most of the websites designed for doctors and dentists contain text, a lot of it. Traditionally, people that have been raised on books are very comfortable with black text on a white or light colored background. Text can be read clearly without distractions, and this is appreciated by older clients who might have vision problems. These people are confounded and bewildered by a black background with white text. Add to this problem too small or too illegible font and text sizes, too long paragraph lengths, and too little contrast between the darker shade of the background and the lighter shade of the text, all add up to a portion of the populace that will hate your website design. And that’s bad.
Dental Website Design
A dental website should have a modern design combined with clear, large easy-to-read text over a lighter colored background for increased readability. It’s important to share more personal information with your patients. Provide interesting biographical information about your dentists, practice, and staff. Slideshows and videos will attract potential clients. It should be easy to navigate, inviting, and geared to appealing to a broad audience. A dark website isn’t appropriate for dentists, unless, of course, you’re the dark, brooding type of dental practice that thinks vampiric looking staff wielding a dental appliance while blood slowly trickles out of the corner of their mouths is a good idea. Darker websites can often come off heavy, and that type of vibe works best for more creative or commercial types of websites like modeling or photography. Readability and user-friendliness are the keys to a good dental website design.
Website Design for Medical Doctors
Let’s face it, many people who are looking at your web page aren’t doing so with 20/20 vision. In fact, presbyopia affects practically anyone over 35. Simply put, your website font size has to be bold and a decent size (at least 16px), and it should have high contrast to its background. A study of comprehension level for text colors and backgrounds shows that black text on a white background has a 70% good comprehension level, 19% fair, and 11% poor. A white text on a black, purple, or royal blue background has 0-2% good comprehension, 4-16% fair comprehension, and an 82-96% poor comprehension level. Line height also gets overlooked a lot. Check out the Golden Ratio in Art Composition and Design web page.
You’ve got about 8 seconds to attract a potential new client. Studies show that, even if a possible new patient looks at your page, they will only read about 28% of those words you carefully crafted. You need to have a lighter background color, a darker and bolder font size, and a couple of great headlines that will capture a persons’ attention. You need to avoid making too long lines of text. A good rule of thumb is the best line length is 50-60 characters long, and the maximum line length should be 75 characters. Having your line lengths shorter will keep the attention span of people who are intimidated by long line lengths.
And Now For Your Patience (Patients, Get It?) – A Few Marketing Ideas
- Make certain that your website’s mobile-friendly. More than 40% of a medical practice’s online traffic originates from tablets and mobile phones.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your satisfied patients for referrals.
- Cut out duplicate content on your site, and use SEO best practices. Never use keyword stuffing!
- Make sure the content on your site is well written, accurate, and descriptive. Search engines will award you a better ranking if you provide original, quality information.
- Keep your website current and updated. Remove any outdated information. Make sure your site can be accessed by mobile devices using the latest technology.
- No dark color design websites!