iCouch: Therapy Without Leaving Your Home

iCouch is a web therapy site where you can find a therapist with specific expertise in your particular issue (i.e. anxiety, depression, eating disorder) and speak with him/her using video chat.

For the record, I am a huge fan of speaking to someone in person, especially in our digital age, but when the timing or situation can’t be helped, the advent of web conferencing can most certainly help people in need.

1) Too Big: The front of the homepage looks like this. A few key words flash across the screen, but these words take up way too much real estate, without explaining to me how exactly the site works.

2) Too Small: The place where I can choose my therapist is too small. This text needs to be much larger and more prominent. A recurring theme of this site is font that is too small.

1) Video First: Remember how excited you got in grade school when your science teacher rolled the TV/VCR through the door and you knew it would be a Bill Nye day and not a stare-at-the-blackboard day. It is in our nature to love videos – think about how quickly YouTube grew in viewership. A less than two minute video is worth my time and this video needs to be visible on the front of the site, replacing the first static panel (1).

2) Longer is Not Better: This home page is too long – all the information about the site is crammed down one page.  Part of the user experience is to give users a framework they know. Users are used to clicking on links to learn more about a site or a product, not scrolling forever down a page. This long page has an opening slide show, a video on how to use the site, a section describing why the site was created, information on an app you can download if you are not ready for therapy, and finally a section detailing press. Create a tool bar in the header and make each section into a separate page.

1) Expensive Real Estate: Either make the font larger or add tidbits that are important to a client including the therapist’s a) spoken languages, b) place of education, and c) years of experience. All this information can be found once you select the individual therapist, but it’s good to know especially if there are specifics you are looking for.

2) Rank by Relevance: Again, being able to rank searches is important and makes the site feel more tailored to the users needs.

1) Fitting on One Page: There is something to be said about fitting everything on one page, so the user can clearly see what the next step is. This site has two consistent issues, one is font size and the other is forcing the user to scroll down to see pertinent information.

I can see iCouch gaining traction especially with people who travel often and for those who have initially made personal contact with a therapist and can’t make all their in-person meetings.

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