I began my design process by developing a deep understanding of the users who would be using the application. This research helped guide the goals for the overall design of the app to ensure it was meeting user needs. The main takeaways that influenced the application design were:
1. Users had varying levels of technical savviness.
While some CareMessage users were highly technical, others were less tech-savvy and were apprehensive about integrating a new software into their workflow. To ensure the app was accessible for all users, it needed to be easy to use, regardless of one's technical proficiency and familiarity with similar types of software.
Design Takeaway: Ensure the app is intuitive and easy for anyone to use.
2. Users were very busy.
CareMessage users were often juggling multiple tasks at once and had huge to-do lists. This meant that, no matter how beautifully the app was designed, they would likely not be spending a lot of time experimenting with features or trying new functionalities. It was more important for users that they could accomplish their goals quickly and efficiently and move onto the next task as soon as possible.
Design Takeaway: Design with the goal of saving time and improving efficiency.
3. Users were constantly changing.
Healthcare in general has a high turnover rate, and many staff, especially at free clinics, were mostly part-time or temporary volunteers. This meant the app needed to be easy to learn, since there would often be new people using it, sometimes without anyone within their clinic to help train them.
Design Takeaway: Ensure the app is easy for new users to learn and requires minimal training.
Define User Needs
Further research into the specific messaging concerns and use cases that clinic staff wanted CareMessage to solve helped create the user needs that guided the individual features that make up the app.
Reduce Appointment No-Shows
• Users need to remind patients to schedule appointments to see a referred specialist.
• Users need to remind patients to attend their scheduled appointments.
• Users need to ask patients if they will be attending their upcoming appointments.
• Users need to see patient RSVP data.
• Users need to follow up with patients who RSVP'd "No" to an appointment.
Optimize Patient Communication
• Users need to communicate with patient cohorts (1:many messaging).
• Users need to communicate with individual patients (1:1 messaging).
• Users need to see all patient responses from an individual message.
• Users need to see all messages from an individual patient.
Improve Health Outcomes
• Users need to keep patients engaged in their heath long-term.
• Users need to send targeted health education to patients with specific chronic diseases or other conditions.
• Users need to evaluate which health education messages were most effective with their patient population.
The user needs outlined the main use cases for the app, which helped guide the structure of the application. To ensure the app's navigation made sense to users, each clinical use case that was identified became a distinct feature. This way, it was very obvious to users which feature to navigate to based on what they wanted to accomplish.