by Phil Chow
Nowadays, most people research businesses online first before contacting and buying from them (Source: Hubspot.com marketing statistics).
I recently designed and launched two directory websites, VancouverDentistInfo.com and VancouverEyeGuide.com to meet this trend. In this case, people specifically researching dentists and eye care providers like opticians, optometrists or ophthalmologists in the Vancouver area.
Designing directory websites
I designed these two website directories to enable people to conveniently research these professions from one website. Visitors to these directories can easily find information on dentists and eye care providers’ location, business hours, description, customer reviews, etc., compare this information and then make informed choices as to whom to contact and possibly buy from. User experience was an important consideration in designing these two directories.
The directory websites features
1. Submit reviews and claim or add listings
The directories were designed to accept user generated content.
People can submit reviews of dentists and eye care providers so others can see which practices consistently provided good service.
Dentists and eye care providers can also submit or claim listings of their practice and add all sorts of information, even video, to their listings to market themselves to potential customers.
In designing these directories, people can search for listings in various ways to find information quickly.
They can find and read listings by scrolling or by searching for a listing using the large search bar. They can also search for listings by categories such as contact lens category for eye care providers providing this product.
As well, both directories have maps. People can see listings’ locations relative to each other on the map, contributing to ease of finding information. Mousing over the listing reveals the name of each listing, which they can then click-through to.
Plus, they can sort listings alphabetically, by newest first, by rating, etc., and also see the most recent reviews and share listings using the social media share buttons on the directories.
3. Website colours
The directories’ colours were chosen to complement each other and to make the directories look great and convey credibility. Navy blue was chosen as VancouverEyeGuide.com’s most prominent colour and a lighter blue was chosen for VancouverDentistInfo.com.
4. Website code
The directories’ codes were also modified to make the website more user-friendly.
People can conveniently submit their reviews just by entering their name and email address (though reviews are moderated for legitimacy before being published) unlike in most website directories where they have to register first.
Dentists and eye care providers can also easily submit or claim their listings by following prompts that guide them through the listing process after they click on the prominent “Add a business now” button. Afterwards, they can update their listing at any time.
Future Vancouver directory websites
Future website directories for other Vancouver industries will be modelled after these directories. The directories’ challenge will not be getting traffic. It will be to get visitors to submit reviews and businesses to list and add information to their listings. This is because at best, only 10% of website visitors will submit a review (probably same for business to list) (Source: Yelp). Both factors are important in generating traffic to directory websites.
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