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April 12, 2011 » Is Your Website Running On All Cylinders?

My favorite hobby is cars and everything about them; from the engine to the cup-holders. When I think of upgrading websites, I can’t help but think of how they are similar to your car. For example, when purchasing a car new, there are various trim levels which can be added based on needs/wants and of course what the budget will allow. The same can be said for websites, whether you’re building a new site or updating a current site with new content or creative.

There are some basic criteria you should consider when car shopping. Some of the basics to consider include budget, size (e.g. compact, sedan, crossover, SUV, etc), needs (e.g. pick-up truck for work or hauling), available options/equipment, fuel economy and overall ride enjoyment. It’s no secret that we all want to get the most for our money. Much in the same, there are various ‘trim levels’ and upgrades available in a website build or revamp.

We here at Compass have implemented several innovative tools on some of our client’s websites, which include:

Proleukin.comTreatment Center Finder

A consumer-focused interactive tool that helps patients and caregivers identify a treatment center, in this instance for PROLEUKIN®.

Users have the ability to search by zip code or a city/state combination and distance in configurable mileage increments from the provided zip code or city/state provided.  Results include the closest Treatment Centers to the specified location.

Elestrin.comSelf Assessment Tool

A patient assessment tool that educates patients to talk to their doctor about Elestrin® therapy.  This tool asks patients basic questions about their symptoms and previous/current therapies with a goal being to encourage patients to discuss Elestrin therapy with their doctor.  Users have the opportunity to learn about menopause through a series of facts that are presented contextually with the questions. Upon completion of the assessment, patients can view and print the results along with discussion points to share with their doctor.

In addition to upgrading your site with cool features such as the above Treatment Center Finder and Self Assessment Tool, it’s also good to keep several things in mind that your site should include such as budget, SEO, paid search and comprehensive analytics. It’s one thing to develop a cutting edge website, but another to make sure it’s running smoothly, that it’s optimized for search and that your users are getting to the content and messaging you want them to receive resulting in them performing the desired actions.

Its 2011…Make Sure Your Site Technology Reflects That

Remember when George W. Bush took office or the debut of the Chrysler PT Cruiser?  Yeah…Internet Explorer (IE) 6 is that old.  A site built to be IE6 compatible is like driving your PT Cruiser with outdated technology, worn brakes and bald tires.  You’re not experiencing the cars full potential, while at the same time risking your safety.  Make sure your sites are compatible with current, modern browsers such as Mozilla Firefox 4, Google Chrome 10, Internet Explorer 9, and Safari 5.

There are several issues with old browsers such as IE6.  A main issue is that of security.  Using an old browser is like leaving your brand new BMW M3 running with the doors unlocked while you run into the grocery store.  With an old browser, your information is more vulnerable and prone to possible attacks; much like your M3 would be an easy target for a thief.

Old browsers are also an issue for web developers.  If web developers have to always take the time to make sure the sites they are building are compatible with both outdated browsers and new browsers, it inevitably takes away from their time to incorporate new and innovative technologies such as CSS3, HTML5 and JavaScript.

Offer a Mobile-friendly Version of Your Site

It’s not news that people are busy (consumers and physicians alike), so when they visit a site, they want to find the information they are seeking quickly without having to use their finger to scroll across or down the page.  Much like having user-friendly touch screen navigation (e.g. Ford’s new MyFord Touch™ technology) with audible turn-by-turn directions in your car helps you find your final destination; you want your website users fully absorb your content and messaging with minimal effort while also enjoying the site it’s delivered on.

Solution – Offer a mobile-friendly version of your site.  Here’s some research to support why:

Physicians Rapidly Adopting Smartphone Use at Work

According to a Manhattan Research study published Q3 of 2009, titled How Digital is Shaping the Future of Pharmaceutical Marketing which states that the internet is no longer a foreign territory for physicians seeking information.  Most physicians are spending up to 8 hours a week using the internet for reasons pertaining to work, up from just 2.5 hours a week in 2002.  “Mobile technology has played a significant role in increasing physicians’ dependency on online resources – 64% of doctors own smartphones and are using them to supplement their desk or laptop computer usage to be “always on.””

The PT Cruiser received a lot of hype and owner loyalty when it was first released back in 2001, only to later be cheapened and purchased by most rental car companies, to then ultimately being no longer produced.  Like anything else, technology ages and if you don’t keep up you’ll be left behind.  Flash development is quickly becoming a tool of the past.

For a moment, let’s focus solely on the recent release of the iPhone 4 on Verizon.  Sales predictions of the iPhone 4 (which does not play well with Flash, nor does the iPad) on the Verizon network alone are expected to reach 19-25 million this year alone according to R.W. Baird & Co. analyst William Power (figure includes current Verizon customers, current Verizon customers with another smart phone and AT&T iPhone customers), consumers on the go with limited time should be able to view your site for all it has to offer.

Some alternatives to Flash include: jQuery, JavaScript and HTML 5

Thinking in the mind of the end user, some of the best tools available on pharma web sites are videos. By educating and appealing to your audience through video you are increasing the chances they will remember what they viewed and talk to their doctor. According to Manhattan Research study titled, ePharma Consumer® v10.0 posted on January 13, 2011 most consumers online for pharma information take health-related action after their online research, and they are more likely to discuss the information with their doctor rather than to make treatment decisions on their own.”

Having the latest technology and keeping up on regular maintenance is imperative–whether it be on your car or your website.

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