Traditional healthcare has a reputation for being slow and inconvenient, while patients are left bewildered by the options and the choices they need to make. To illustrate this comparison, compare the last time you visited your doctor, or looked for healthcare advice. And how much easier was it to arrange your last holiday, or find a beautiful place to stay in a far-flung corner of the world by using AirBnb? Or simply to book a taxi via Uber or Lyft? This simple comparison highlights the opportunity for new providers of health services who can provide better healthcare UX.
In an industry which was historically highly business-to-business focused, one of the key drivers for this need for better customer experiences is increasing awareness, and individuals taking greater responsibility for their own healthcare – the rise of empowered patients. Or in other words, we can see the shift from healthcare “patients” to healthcare “consumers”. This is driving an influx of investment from companies to create new, user friendly products and services to help people as they strive to meet their health goals. At the same time, as they witness this revolution, healthcare practitioners are also demanding better technology and experiences in order to better treat their patients. In particular we have seen:
The opportunity for many companies and start-ups in this new world, is that the traditional large healthcare incumbents lack expertise in designing either the products or systems which have a strong user or customer experience. So how can healthcare companies create the software necessary to create powerful user experiences? To answer this we need to look at how successful organizations use a UX process – or what we refer to as the “five planes of UX design”.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for UX design, but there are a few best practices that projects can benefit from, regardless of methodology. These 5 steps go from abstract to concrete and each of them has special tasks, helping healthcare firms develop a workable UX centered application from the ground up.
The first step is strategy. Typically this will start with brainstorming sessions where the software development team and other key stakeholders will go over the feature set of an application, the general look, and other important considerations. The UX design comes in during this strategy session, so it’s incorporated right from the beginning.
Here are a few questions software developers ask themselves when sketching a framework for a UX design:
The next step after strategy is establishing the scope of the development. In a perfect world, software developers could add every single idea that comes up at the beginning of a project. In reality, maybe 10% of these ideas are incorporated.
Determining the scope of the project takes the strategy session and translates it into concrete requirements for a piece of software. A few ways of handling scope creation include:
The third step gets down to the nitty gritty of development. This is the step where development ideas move from intangible data points to actual areas of the application.
Some questions to ask during this step of the development process include:
Two ways to visually answer these questions includes a site map to figure out how every part of the application groups together, while user flow diagrams shows how they move throughout the site or app.
It’s time to make a design blueprint in this fourth step. Typically, software developers utilize wireframes to move from structure building to the look of the entire application.
They are basic drawings or renderings that simply have to display how the application looks, what form the navigation takes, the general layout of the software, all of the elements involved in the application, and where these elements go.
The wireframe is not complicated visually. It’s a simple representation of what the major elements look like, before flashy graphics and logos get added to the picture.
Here are some essential questions to answer while developing a wireframe:
The last step of the process is to bring the entire process together with a unified visual design that makes it attractive to consumers. A good visual design should also work together with the rest of the development process to help augment the features, function, and form of the software.
Some elements that are added during this step of the process include:
A UX centric design ensures the development of user friendly software. In the past many companies have focused on developing the technology, and lost focus on their customer. The success of consumer-centric healthcare companies demonstrates the importance of maintaining a laser-focus on the needs and experiences of users and customers. This report demonstrates the importance of incorporating UX planning into each step of the development process to ensure you will meet your user ’s expectations, and hopefully surpass them.