Promoting change is difficult, so it’s empowering to learn that online health information can inspire health-improving actions. Research firm KR&I, in a month-long digital ethnography study sponsored by Verywell, found that an impressive 50 percent of research participants felt that there was something they could do in response to information they found.
The way the health information is presented makes a difference. A positive search experience leaves readers better equipped to make changes that improve their lives — and overall health outcomes.
Recipe for Success: Ingredients for a Positive UX
Audiences have specific needs — factors they seek when they turn to Google or a specific health website for answers. In the study, KR&I determined four clear-cut factors that impacted the research participants’ emotions. These four factors embody the essence of their human needs:
Ease of Navigation: Can information be found quickly and intuitively?
Relevance to the Query: Does it answer my question?
Empathy: Is it relatable to me as a person?
Credibility: Is it from a source I trust?
Let’s look at each more deeply:
Ease of Navigation Promotes Understanding
Ease of navigation is two-fold: both design and language make an impact. Uncluttered, accessible content that provides comprehensive answers in a single location fulfills users in their moment of need, without getting them overwhelmed.
Relevance Is Attention-Grabbing
Non-relevant information is not useful. Users gravitate towards language that parallels their search terms, so understanding their questions helps achieve the specific responses they’re looking for.
Empathy Creates a Connection
A warm, friendly environment makes readers feel understood. An editorial voice that puts their situation in perspective reduces negative emotions like fear.
Credibility Offers Reliability
Audiences look for signs of authority. Anything else is questionable when it comes to their health. Authorship, objectivity, and medical review lead to trust.
Factors of a Negative Experience
Most readers start off feeling terrible when going online. This study found that 82 percent of participants felt “negative emotions” like anxiety, frustration, fear, confusion, and nervousness before starting their search. What could make them feel worse?
Their negative state of mind deepened when they encountered a negative experience. These environments included:
Over-commercialization: Nobody likes to be interrupted by too many ads and pop-ups.
Incomplete or general information: Info should be in-depth and all in one place
Confusing and unclear information: People didn’t understand what they found
Alarmist content: Content shouldn’t “freak” people out
As pharma marketers interested in influencing positive change, assess the user experience potential media partners offer. Knowing the factors to look for, you can determine if the overall experience stands out from the rest and helps drive health actions.
This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team.
Nov 4, 2019