SITE CRUSH VOL.1
In a new reoccurring series, I, Lauren Jordan, gush over my crushes—that is, the various design, patterns, and interactions that make my heart soar.
This month, just in time for Valentine’s Day, I find my heart pitter-pattering and the mindless doodles on my notebook spell out none other than “Mrs. ZocDoc.”
Ok, that last part is a bit far-fetch, but I have been using ZocDoc for a while now. If you’re not familiar, the site provides a conveniently easy way to find and schedule your medical service needs. I’ve always advocated for its business model and generally find it a user-friendly interaction with excellent customer service. But when the new branding was revealed earlier this year, I found myself giddy and excited to book my dental cleaning. For someone with such disastrously weak enamel that she has to use prescription toothpaste, this is a miraculous feat.
So what makes this site so fun? So reassuring? So comforting?
Actually Engaging Sliders
I’ll be honest; I meet requests for rotating graphics on a homepage with the same some stubborn perspective every time. Very rarely is there content engaging enough to truly warrant using a carousel. Frankly, I find my own eyes glazing over as I scroll down to get to meaningful content that doesn’t put my reading speed to the test. But, as with virtually every facet of ZocDoc’s interaction library, this adorable gimmick hooks me right from the start. It’s delightful, funny, clever, and reinforces the primary CTA. This introduction puts me in a good mood and, considering that I don’t usually head to a medical search site with a smile on my face, this is a pretty immediate win.
Personality Out of the Gate
Couple that introduction with an engaging color palette and—OMG, adorable logo reveal—and you can’t help but wonder why every search engine site can’t be this much fun. Animations like this on the homepage also emphasize intention for ZocDoc. This literally creates the persona of a happy customer in front of our eyes and introduces a character that follows the user through the site.
On-Brand Color Fields
They’re colorful, vibrant, nebulous organs—and they’re cute organs at that. It may be the only time I’ve positively thought “wow, that’s pretty wacky” since eating a Sonic kids meal.
While 99.9% of this site allows contrast and color fields break the plane, the design departure in ZocDoc’s “Well Guide” doesn’t feel jarring. It’s one of (maybe) three instances of inner shadows and simulated depth, but the element maintains cohesion with the brand. Not to mention that it’s also an incredibly satisfying and delightful greeting to an otherwise simple task list and doctor directory.
Again, I love that they reinforce their intent for happy customers with a progress bar incentivizing their users to have a full smile. #aww
Negative Space Love
There are a lot of people in the world who are still concerned about users scrolling. A lot. I’d estimate that I have or overhear the same argument over it every other week. I suppose let’s first put a couple of things to rest:
- You don’t need to have everything above the fold. The user will scroll down. In fact, this report shows that they’ll scroll pretty far. If you note the date on the report, you’ll see that they’ve been scrolling pretty far for an almost a decade now.
- Negative space is actually a pretty positive thing. It helps to break up text so that users actually read the content you have to share.
So with that, I must say I love, love, love the reinforcing CTA patterns across this site. They’re large and have room to breathe. The colors and space bring your eye right where they want it. And once a laptop user gets there, this takes up almost their entire screen. How’s that for a call to action?
With that spacious love, comes a slight dilemma: search presentation. ZocDoc crams a lot of information in their search results. In addition to basic information and rating, you get coverage notes, availability overview, distance from your current location, and review highlights. The presented solution of a selective sticky navigation facilitates readability and minimal backtracking for the user.
If it’s not already bash-you-over-the-dome obvious, I love when the little things are still valued. With such a search-focused site, I was giddy to see that the interiors and supplemental pages were not forgotten. Creative freedom came to life on the about and careers pages without detracting from the main interactions on the site. The pages play with parallax in a manner that doesn’t feel like the same old gimmicks.
Isn’t that what we all hope for when venturing around a new site? A dose of satisfying interactions and interfaces that don’t impede our path to conversion? I know that’s my deal breaker.