I joined this policy management app’s team in 2016. I was the first designer to work on the app since its inception in 2008. As the only truly web-based policy management platform out there, with a 99% customer retention rate and the highest market share in the healthcare industry, changes made to the platform have the potential to affect many users, from medical staff to patients, employers to employees, and teachers to students.
- Healthcare trends: Healthcare is moving towards more home care and assisted living. At the same time, use of devices such as tablets and mobile phones is becoming increasingly common for hospital and lab staff in their work both on and offsite. However, only four percent of the app’s current users access it on mobile or tablet devices.
- Accessibility: Meeting accessibility guidelines is necessary because it provides inclusivity to people who would otherwise struggle or not be able to perform even simple tasks online such as reading a policy. Government, educational and healthcare institutions are beginning to become more aware of this and are requiring that accessibility be made a priority.
- Intuitive out-of-the-box: Policy management involves regulations, accountability, and often complicated approval processes. Implementations and training staff are not always available to assist with the needs of new and in-training customers.
- Address technical debt: The app’s frontend has been updated at times since 2008 to include more modern user interface components here and there. However, I worked with the development team to come to the conclusion that nothing short of a complete rewrite of the frontend would be necessary in order to make the app fully responsive, accessible, and able to best make use of modern browsers.
I gathered the following data:
- Reviewed customer’s requests for usability improvements
- Conducted an expert review of the app, identifying further potential improvements
- Interviewed the sales and support teams to get their perspectives on our biggest weaknesses and strengths
- Assessed healthcare market trends
- Reviewed competitor’s feature sets
- Conducted a top tasks survey, receiving hundreds of responses from users
- Tested existing top tasks on random internet users to determine their ease of completion, errors made, and time spent on each task
- Tree tested the app’s current information architecture
As a result of the data gathered, I found that:
- There were over over 700 UserVoice requests for improvement to the app, submitted by site administrators, when discovery was begun. The “Anywhere” project addresses all usability-related concerns that have been brought up on the board, which accounted for approximately 20% of all the UserVoice ideas. It also incorporates the most highly-requested new feature, the ability to not only approve but also reject changes made to a policy.
- Our existing customers have learned to work around the lack of usability at times and thus are much more focused on requesting new features instead of improving existing ones. Improving usability will most likely have the most immediate positive impact on newer users but a less positive initial impact on existing users due to change aversion. Additionally many of the site administrators have invested a great deal of time in training their staff on how to use the app so providing as much self-initiated help to both them and their staff as possible will likely smooth the transition.
- In terms of competition our biggest weakness seemed to be the outdated and often awkward interface, as well as a few major features that we’d need to build separately regardless, such as the ability to associate policies with standards and regulations.
- The app’s information architecture tested poorly with first-time users, indicating a high learning curve for discovery and findability of functionality via navigation.
- In terms of key functionality the timeline, an interactive history of changes made in the app, was widely misunderstood and underused due to its design. Users also tried to approve policies via adding a comment, and vice versa. Relatively few users understood what acknowledgements were or how to complete them.
- [Complete] Presented three visual styling options internally to the team
- [Complete] Revised the information architecture using card sorting and retested it with new users until success rates were at or above 80%
- [Complete] Designed & iterated on top task flows via user testing thrice weekly for months until success rates and satisfaction levels were at or above 80%. First, via partially interactive design prototypes then later, via rough HTML prototypes. Prototypes were tested on both existing users (moderated) and first-time users (unmoderated)
- [In progress] Create a core design system, including detailed specifications for all patterns and components
- [In progress] Top tasks development and QA
- [In progress] Design on-boarding and walk-throughs for beta testers
- [Soon] Beta testing, live user feedback, followed by further iterations
- [Soon] Design all other pages, flows, and components
- [Soon] Official launch to customers
- [Soon] Metrics tracking and further post-launch testing and improvements
The “Anywhere” project is ongoing. Currently the development team is working on the frontend for searching and viewing policies and I on QA testing each component and page as they are completed for browser fidelity, usability, accessibility and adherence to design specifications. I’ll be updating this project description as soon as we launch the beta release to select users and begin live testing. The target launch date for the “Anywhere” project is December 2019.