The nation is in the midst of COVID-19, and it has become apparent that older adult care facilities are in need of assistance. My mind was constantly racing with thoughts about how it was effecting others, especially seniors. There were numerous reports of families unaware of outbreaks within adult care facilities with some families not being notified even when their loved ones were diagnosed with COVID-19.
A group of designers, data scientists, and software engineers came together to tackle a communication issue between adult care facilities and the loved ones of residents. We aimed to create a product that could ultimately be used across various sectors of medical care facilities.
The goal for this project was to create a clear and concise way for loved ones and adult care facilities to communicate.
Nehemias Alcantara Santana
Project Manager & UX/UI Designer
May - Jul 2020
A strong focus on individual features
After reviewing various competitors, it was clear that most had a strong focus on one individual feature, and multiple apps were needed to gather all of the information loved ones might need. We started to think that maybe users needed a one stop shop for all of the information to be accessible, making it easier on users to stay updated on their loved ones health.
Users care deeply about their family, and are thankful to have a place for their loved ones to receive care.
They lack faith in the facilities ability to provide a complete and timely picture of their loved one's health.
Users spend a lot of time tracking down answers or trying to speak with caretakers and facility staff.
With communication comes trust
As we entered into our user interviews, we identified a few things that we hoped to learn.
Why good communication is important, in general and specifically with care facilities
How people stay up-to-date with their loved one's health and why it's important to them
What happens when there are communication breakdowns
The Concerned Kin needs an effective way to communicate with the care facility about their family member’s health status and needs, because they want to be informed and empowered to handle their loved one’s situation.
By creating a web application that facilitates communication with the care facility about safety updates and their loved one’s health, the Concerned Kin will feel equipped to manage their loved one’s care and feel valued and respected by the facility.
Finding what the users want and need
The UX Team determined which features and functionality would yield the highest impact for users. We also needed to consider scope and the timing of our handoff to the development team, since we did have a tight deadline. Some of the key elements included:
Direct messaging between the user and the facility
Weekly reports with updates around their loved one's physical, emotional, and mental health
Creating a brand that people trust
When looking at competitors, there was a common theme with their branding, the color blue. We knew that we didn't want to go the route to look like our competitors, so we started brainstorming. I was tasked with developing the logo, color scheme, and font pairings. With trust being a common theme in our interviews, I knew I wanted the font pairings to be simple and also readable. For the brand colors, I drew inspiration from colors that were bright, happy, yet soothing.
With the apps vision of creating a simple, communication tool, it felt that we would need to continue that into the logo design. Communication is represented by the message/quote icon. The heart had a deeper meaning to us. It symbolizes the relationships, empathy, and care the facilities provide to the residents.
The good, the bad, and all of the insights
Usability tests have always been up there as one of my favorites in UX design, and that didn't change at all with this project. Going into the usability test, we established criteria when screening for participants. We were ideally looking with individuals who had actively been involved in their loved ones care at an adult care facility. Through the 6 usability tests, we started to see many patterns, good and bad, with the user interface.
What users liked...
Concept: Overall functionality addresses users needs
Accessibility: The home screen and navigation were meant to be easy to navigate for an older demographic. Simplicity was one of our main goals with the design.
Visuals: Graphical assets and iconography
Notifications: Highlight new updates
Where we could improve...
Navigation: Back button- there were multiple paths for the user to get back, but they consistently used the back button, which took them more time and created frustrations
Content Tone: Medical terminology & personalization were lacking
Functionality: In-app messaging with family, many users made it clear that they would rather text their own family instead of going through the app
One of the biggest things we would add is an internal interface. Since our prototype is in the perspective of the loved ones, how would it look for the facility?
We would also work on PrimaryCare's connection on the backend to the facilities management software.
In terms of messages, we would focus on how the message facility is handled. An example of this would be: who receives the messages? How are they determined to be important? How do they forward them throughout the facility to members who aren't a direct contact?
We would also add automatic response for when the user messages the facility that advises them that there might be a delay and provides emergency contact information.