I have to admit that I didn’t even know that today was the day when some of the Healthcare Act is in effect until my friends told me. Noise is so much nowadays it is hard to pay attention to what is really being accomplished.
To understand what this Act is about and what is in effect today, I checked the website. I decided to do my review on the website based on my six degree framework. I concentrate only on two degrees in this post; design and usability. Just as a disclaimer, all my review is mainly based on the homepage and its’ web architecture not the content itself.
My first impression is positive with the design, especially considering that this is a government website. Clear, filled with a lot of space (I love space), color-coded grouping of the information, relevant images and video. However it needs more improvement on the engagement part with the widgets.
Interactivity. Nice lean site with many ajax component supported by the brilliant jQuery library. The best part is flash almost non-existent, I like it. Very responsive page, it took about 2.2 seconds to load – even with this heavy content (total of 360kB which is impressive because majority of the size is coming from the pictures).
Layout. Simple and color-coded. My personal opinion would be to use a grid system since it is such a heavy content site.
Fonts and colors. Very clear use of text, engaging relevant big images. Headlines with Century Gotic and the body content with Helvetica, both San-Serif fonts – safe but also elegant choice – although in some cases there are some inconsistencies with the secondary fonts. Colors, again safe, not the perfect match but do not distract from the content and actually groups the relevant information, so in that sense it is very helpful – considering the enormous amount of content and such a complex subject like healthcare with a variety of persona you need to satisfy on the page. One negative comment that I have is the small font size on the timeline, it is hard to read – seems like not meant to be read.
Tooltips. I like the tooltips, clearly defined – dotted underlined – and helps you keep the momentum of scanning the page without opening up another page for certain information.
Page-level feedback. More related to the communication degree but from the design perspective I like the gradual engagement and the process – read Luke’s blog for more on the gradual engagement.
Widgets. I saw couple widgets, first one being the timeline. In my opinion it does not show the priorities and throw many information at you. You have to scroll to the right to be able to see what’s going on when. I understand it is a complex calendar, but you can solve this problem by highlighting the milestones – like the date of providing the free preventing care or the establishment of exchanges and so on.
Second tool that I saw on my first look is the ‘myhealthfinder’ that helps you get doctors recommendation, health advice based on your age and gender. Great idea, poor execution. Poor execution in couple ways, first the designers could have used the gradual engagement again and don’t show the “pregnant?” to me – only if someone chooses female on the gender checkbox. Second, more important than that is the poor execution on the results page. Not that the information on the page is too generic (which I understand somehow), it is also not very helpful for me in the long run since there is nothing for me to engage with the page. Yes I can print it and even send an email, but all only one time. I don’t think I’d remember this site two months from now on. I am a strong advocate of applications and engagement. This widget could have been an excellent way of getting people involved or engaged with healthcare by simply being able to create an account for yourself via only email info (as simple as it could be) – I know privacy is the big issue, but you can even have them create a new email via Google, Yahoo! right on the spot. The goal is to send the subscribers ones every year the updated health advice – check list, plus along the way let people know what is going on with the law etc. If you as a designer are more passionate, then you can add many more tools and benefits to the subscription to increase value. But even as a start I wish I could get this one a year check list from a third source that I can print out and discuss with my doctor – maybe even add my quick notes on each item so I could track my health history in a very simple form – as always without any personally identifiable information (PII).
What do you think about the design? Whatelse is missing? or what do you think is beautifully accomplished with this site?