How to design a healthcare app

The last few years have seen steep growth in the mobile healthcare market. More than 318000 apps are available on the app store, with over 200 being added every day.

Published by 

Alexis Pratsides


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The last few years have seen steep growth in the mobile healthcare market and with digital constantly evolving, not having an app presence can sometimes be detrimental to your business.

More than 318,000 apps are available on the app store, with over 200 being added every day. However, app usage data reveals that most apps have fewer downloads than 10,000. This brings forth a grave concern for app makers.

The apps that cater to general health and wellness, health management, overall fitness, or telemedicine have fewer takers despite showing initial interest. So, what is keeping users away? Is it the features or the functionality? Let’s take a look.

Challenges in healthcare app design

Due to the above-mentioned and many other concerns, app designers face challenges around patient engagement, security, data privacy and many more. Besides this, these apps are expected to fulfill the following to drive traffic and engagement.

Explanation to patients

Not an easy thing to do. While in face-to-face interaction, a doctor can convey the information easily and repeat it, if needed. However, replicating the same on an app is not so simple. Therefore, adding features for conveying information is highly recommended. Patients should be able to add their queries, clear doubts, and receive appropriate assistance.

Delivering distressing information

Empathy is vital to the design and an inclusive principle of the healthcare industry. Thus, disclosing a piece of distressing news to the patient poses another challenge. So how to deliver sensitive information remains difficult but can be handled by delivering messages that support and motivate the patients.

Establishing credibility

A healthcare app cannot replace a doctor. And even the best fitness apps can’t replace a personal trainer. For this reason alone, many patients do not use them.

Whatever the concern, for a patient to consider the information trustworthy, you should always add authoritative sources.

Steps to designing a healthcare app

Let’s study the process of healthcare app design:

Before you start the design

Healthcare apps are used either by doctors or their patients. As you start working on the design and development of a healthcare app, conduct market research.

Find out your potential users, and also conduct research on apps that may provide cut-throat competition to your future goals.


Do user research

A medical professional seeks medication specifications, health records, suggestions for therapy and diagnostics, reference materials, and more.

On the other hand, a patient looks for information in an easy and understandable format. 

Therefore, the functionality and the UI design have to be different to fulfil the requirements of both types of users. It isn’t simple. But it can be accomplished by asking some basic questions.

  • Who i your target audience?
  • What kind of healthcare apps are they using or not using?
  • What are the shortcomings of those apps?
  • What is the purpose of using the healthcare app?

With answers to the above questions, you can build a database of potential customers.

Do competitor research

Everyone wants to create a product that has no competition. Unfortunately, the market is already buzzing with healthcare apps. So, you have to find your niche, and then build your product around it.

Carry out extensive competitor research. Start by checking the apps that are offering the same services as you intend to provide. Look for their strengths and weaknesses. Study their features to get an idea of the user experience you should create for your app.

This research will also help you decide the price range for your app.

As you start designing

When you start transforming the research into a design, there are many notable things you need to accomplish. These are described one-by-one in detail below. 


Pay attention to clear UX and UI

A clear UI and UX design needs creative thinking and liberty. The designer must follow all the rules to cater to a wide range of users. Also, to reach the maximum, the design should be user-friendly and should following some basic yet essential rules:

  • Create a user persona and evaluate it. Base it on the desires and expectations of the users to optimise the user journey
  • Have as fewer actions as possible. Group all the related content under one click. Use progressive reduction method
  • Display vital information at the start of the user journey
  • Keep the design simple with all the necessary sections of the app nearby (in lesser finger taps as possible)

Create a responsive design

While a healthcare app needs to look visually appealing, it is also important to pay attention to how it will look on different-sized screens. Yes, it makes the design process difficult, but it can’t be done away with. Irrespective of the device’s form factor, whether it is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, the design should fit well to the device screen. 

Try an empathetic design

You can’t please everyone. Also, a healthcare app is expected to display empathy through its design. For instance, the older generation isn’t tech-friendly and has weaker eyesight. They prefer larger fonts, easy-to-navigate layout, and minimal animation. 

On the contrary, younger people prefer bright colours and flexible settings. A designer should be able to find a balance between the two.

Build clear navigation system

Navigation is the backbone of the user interface of a healthcare app. It is equivalent to the ease of use and speed. In comparison, confusing navigation doesn’t help a user.

A Stanford Medicine survey revealed that a doctor spends 62% of the patent time checking EHR reports. Checking the EHR itself consumes enough time. If an app doesn’t respond quickly, it will not be efficient for medical professional to complete their work.

For this reason, a medical professional needs a fast app with clear and faster navigation patterns and information architecture. 

Make sure about accessibility

There are notable differences in the types of phones that are used in different parts of the world and the internet bandwidth used by most of the population.

Hence, it is necessary to keep all sorts of people in mind while making an app design. Make sure that your app is available for the maximum type of devices and also for patients with disabilities such as visual, hearing, motion impairment.

Pay attention to colours

It boils down to two things: the healthcare app’s theme and the target audience. Usually, neutral shades are used in designing a health care app. Green colours and cold-tones blue with white as background are mostly used.

The designers choose these colours as they are soothing and associated with the healthcare industry within the physical world. These colours are known for comforting anxiety, providing credibility, and building trust. 

That said, there is no norm for using only pastel colors. The idea is to leave a positive impression on the users, and the color scheme of the app can do that for you.

Ensure your UX copy is good

With UX copy, the designers aim to settle communication between users and the app. In other words, it is a practice of copywriting to be used in user interfaces to help users engage and interact with the app. The copy created is known as microcopy. 

This microcopy involves menu copy and buttons, security notes, error messages, terms and conditions, and instructions on the product page. Since bad copy poses a threat to even a good user interface, it is important to have UX writing. It influences both UX and UI. 

Do usability testing

Lastly, evaluate the UI data with the application’s interface. Providing consistency in architecture and navigation isn’t sufficient. Testing their viability is equally important, or if we may say, even more.

Active user engagement is crucial for app success. Usability testing helps in establishing the interaction, get instant feedback and insight into app behavioural patterns. Choose your testing audience of the same age as your target audience. Ask them to use all the major functions and collect their feedback.

If you follow the above steps, you should be a in a good place to create a strategy that will help you get a robust healthcare app design.

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

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