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[Kidney App]

A mobile healthcare, elearning, social, health and progress tracking, calendar, alerts and video conferencing application for pre and post operative kidney patients.

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure to place a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly. Kidney transplant can be done before starting dialysis (pre pre-emptive transplant) or after initiating dialysis (post dialysis transplant). Although most transplants are successful and last for many years, how long they last can vary from one person to the next. Many people will need more than one kidney transplant during a lifetime. Read about the kidney transplant process here: (Link)

Research shows that around 15% of post transplant patients die because they forget to take their pills. Transplant patients need to take immunosuppressant drugs that help prevent their immune systems from attacking the new organ. Drugs must be taken for the patients’ lifetimes many times a day and nearly half of patients miss their doses.

The Problem

My challenge was to fit all of the functionality of a healthcare, elearning, social, health and progress tracking, calendar, alerts and video conferencing application for pre and post opp kidney patients.

My solution is a mobile app that alerts users when it is time to take their medication, upcoming appointments and goals, tracks their health, provides elearning and webinars, etc. But besides that, it is an interactive tool that is simple to use and that offers users positive reinforcement for medication adherence through educational mechanisms, progress tracking and involving friends and family in the patients care along with providing a social community, video calling features and everything a patient needs to stay in touch with their care team.

My Role

As product, UX, UI designer, my involvement spanned all stages of the design process: research, strategy, design, and user testing.

Defining product design concept, information architecture and creating wireframes. Making decisions around content, design, and product strategy that are informed by metrics and research.

Design research. Planning and conducting design research, organizing workshops with stakeholders to discuss research findings and synthesize solutions, validate design decisions through usability studies.

Product strategy. Planned and led brainstorm sessions with stakeholders to create shared understanding of business and user needs, coordinated product strategy and prioritized product backlog based on business goals.

Tools:

  • Sketch
  • Adobe XD
  • PowerPoint
  • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Invision
  • usertesting.com

User Research

In order to gather insight I chose to conduct generative research with the goal of stepping into transplant patients’ shoes, to understand their lives and solve problems from their perspectives.

A series of interviews with patients and subject matter experts (transplant surgeons, nurses) and a review of current research on medical adherence.

My next step was to transform the research findings into meaningful and actionable insights. I organized several ideation sessions with the team and stakeholders to make sense of what we learned and come up with some ideas of what we should build to help transplant patients better stick to their medication regimen and keep learning ways to improve and stay in touch with their care team. 

  • What are the conditions that the design must satisfy to solve patients problem?
  • What should we build and how should it work? 
  • Why should people care?

Kidney Transplant Process Flowchart

User personas reflecting the data from the research. (Personas Link)

The following features would be implemented into the mobile app:

  • Kidney app requirements
  • Easy sign-on and login
  • Watch webinars, get handouts, ask questions through video
  • See daily, weekly and monthly to-do list and check off things as you go as well as tracking progress
  • Get reminders about upcoming appointments
  • Patient will be able to see a list of my transplant evaluation test names, when they were performed and when they will be due next
  • Kidney app sections
  • Other transplant app research

User Stories & Flows

Based on the motivations in my user stories, I generated a list of user personas to help define the main tasks of users. I then created user flows in Sketch ( Link ) to break down the complex user stories and visualize the paths of action users take to achieve their goals.

This stage of the design process was critical in identifying the areas of cognitive overload and redundancies.

Kidney App Flowchart

Wireframes

In creating my wireframes, I focused on reducing confusion of the entire application, balancing the amount of content, visual balance, and user-friendly UI. To reach these goals, I stripped away extraneous features users were less interested in.

Kidney App: Lo-fi wireframes

After meeting all the goals to pixel perfection, I added the interactive features in the prototype. Interactive Prototype Link

Video Calling Screens

Prototype & User Stories

I created an interactive prototype with Sketch and animated it with Adobe XD ( Interactive Prototype Link ) and wrote a script for user stories (Link). The script focused on directing the new and returning users through customization and the purchasing funnel of their finished product.

The results from the first round of user testing showed that users were overwhelmed by the number of screens. I noticed that the app was diverging from familiar editing actions of the web app. So I added a first-time user onboard process that highlighted the application process and key features.

With the help of additional testing, I was able to condense the onboarding process to a few screens. Users found this onboarding process to be, in their words, “self-explanatory” and “easy-to-understand.” Most importantly, the addition reduced the confusion and led to more users using the application.

Final screens for the onboarding process.

Final screens for the milestone and health tracking process.

Reflection

This project taught me to:

  1. Outline a project roadmap factoring in at least 20 percent additional time. My project roadmap accounted for the minimum but I exceeded that. Incorporating user feedback into wireframes took more time than I’d accounted for, specifically in the manner and stage I conducted my tests. I realized that this pace can affect other teammates and so it needs to be scoped accurately and delays acknowledged immediately.
  2. Test early and test often! I user-tested designs at the hi-fi stage as I have had difficulty with clients that do not understand wireframes typically have NO design elements. In an agile project, where the product needs to be pushed to market quickly, missteps would create delays and work against the overall budget.
  3. Review the usability script before sending it into the wild. If it doesn’t make sense, the design could be great, but the user won’t understand what is being asked of them. This happened with my first round of user tests. In the future, I’ll be proofreading my script with others (team members, confidants, etc.) to find discrepancies.
  4. If possible, test, test and test some more. I used usertesting.com for my user tests because it allowed me to instantly test my design through the Invision-Usertesting partnership. However, when users became stumped by a question or confused by the limitations of the unfinished prototype, I was unable to provide them alternative tasks, without skewing results, to salvage the remainder of their test time. I also used actual kidney patients and medical health care professionals for testing.
  5. Discovery is natural. During usability testing, I found out what didn’t work. But I also noticed how users navigated through the app. Designers need to take these risks when designing key features. I learned to explain these unfamiliar design features in a manner that is simplistic and unobtrusive to overall experience and always include a back / exit action with older kidney patients and medical health care professionals unfamiliar with mobile applications.