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Optimising the user experience to reflect the real-life experience at Benenden Hospital, whilst increasing on-site conversion.

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Benenden Hospital is an award-winning private hospital, offering a wide range of treatments and support services to its patients and features comfortable and contemporary facilities set in uplifting surroundings in the heart of the Kent countryside. In addition to private healthcare and NHS-covered treatments, the hospital provides over 250 self-pay services.  


Benenden Hospital’s website had not undergone user experience or design updates for some time. This, coupled with an increasingly clinical presentation of the brand, evolving unruly site structure and page layouts misaligned to the goals and needs of both user and the business, had led to poor navigability and waning conversion performance, misrepresentative of the hospital’s standing amongst its peers. Of course, the challenge here was not only aesthetic and experiential, but driven by commercials too, particularly around self-funded treatment, something the current site was not optimised to achieve.

Benenden Hospital is proud to offer excellent service with hi-tech equipment and experienced clinicians in stunning surroundings, but their digital presence did not reflect this. The website offered no clear definition of the hospital’s value proposition, nor did it position it any differently to any other private healthcare provider - something perplexing when there were so many differentiating factors. 

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Clear User Journeys
Navigation was certainly a primary challenge as users have a range of motivations for visiting the site; meaning  that there are a diverse range of potential user journeys to consider when compiling a site structure and navigation. Pages were confusing and made it difficult to find vital information.The client, by their own admission, had been manipulating existing page templates as best as they could to try and achieve something tolerable, rather than the page structures being composed and built for purpose, with any sense of hierarchy or any ambition to achieve a specific goal/action or to contribute to the user experience. 

Of course, the challenge here was not only aesthetic and experiential, but driven by commercials too. Benenden Hospital had some very clear commercial direction and requirements to grow in specific areas of the business, particularly around self-funded treatment, something the current site was not optimised to achieve.


“page structures passed through lo-fi and hi-fi wireframing before being given a much-enhanced aesthetic”

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Clarifying to complexity Our first priority with any UX project is to always thoroughly understand the objectives, context and goals for a project. With this project in particular there was the need to balance the desired commercial outcomes for the business with the needs of users. To understand these complex needs, we held a number of discovery workshops with different stakeholders within the team at Benenden Hospital to unpack the key objectives. 

In addition to this more qualitative discovery process, we undertook investigation into the way the existing site was being used, utilising an array of data-focused tools including on-site user surveys, heat-mapping and behaviour tracking, married up with wider site analytics data to start to build a real-world picture of user journeys and experience


Different A’s to the same Z
Having gathered enough data and insight, our team started to work on structuring the available site content. Taking an iterative approach and working closely with the client team, focussing on the importance of language used by users and within the industry, the team worked on developing a site structure much more aligned to achieving the desired outcomes. 

User flows were mapped to consider the different start points on user journeys based on their categorisation across both patients and professionals. These journeys then had to consider the necessary information structure to nurture them toward making an enquiry, all the while bringing more of the hospital’s unique features to the fore. 

The team derived a primary navigation with clear launch points for user journeys for patients, partners and health professionals. This primary navigation was paired with a much clearer secondary navigation and user-friendly hamburger navigation trigger featuring a number of the Hospital’s primary focus treatments and pathways, to help shorten some user journeys whilst prioritising journeys more commercially important to the business.

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Page Experience
It was important to address the challenges the client was experiencing when it came to page design. The original site had a number of navigation ‘loops’ where users could find themself bouncing between the same two or three pages, never jumping out of the loop to commit to an enquiry submission or conversion action. The challenge to overcome this was achieved largely by the improved navigation, but on-page content and CTA placement was duly considered to help support this. Through a thorough wireframing process, page structures and flows were created which would enable users to start their journeys simply and find the information they need, whilst ensuring there was a simple path to conversion. 

The team developed a robust page content hierarchy and enlisted the wider digital and SEO team to look for further enhancements that could add value alongside usability and design. 


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“The team at Wonderful are great listeners; they understood what we are trying to achieve and what our potential patients are looking for – crucial in any UX project. They were professional, adaptable and reliable and delivered an innovative solution which we were delighted with and which is already producing results.”

Vicky, Benenden Hospital