Medilog — a UX case study

Estela
Estela
Jul 2 · 10 min read

Medilog is a health supporting app using smart phones and smart watches to build a digital bridge between family members (the caregiver) and their distant elderly relatives (the care-receiver), which allows caregivers to stay updated with care-receivers’ health statues in order to provide remote aid for them in a timely manner.

Context

6 — week product proposal

Team: Cassey, Nussy, Nikie, Keefe

Tools: Illustrator, Photoshop, XD, After Effect, ProtoPie, Premiere

See our final prototype here:

Mobile: https://share.protopie.io/BXnTv4PZiXm

Smartwatch: https://share.protopie.io/cCEp4AZAACv

Domain Problem

The original concept was inspired by my personal experience with my grandma Mary. She occasionally comes to Canada to visit me but mostly she lives in China by herself. It has been a struggle for me to take good care of her because every time I call her to see how she is doing, the answer is always “I am fine”. It is reassuring to hear but I still constantly worry if my grandma is keeping serious problems to herself and doesn’t want to burden me. Through research and interviews, I found that this is a common struggle for people who live away from their families. There is a significant number of seniors who live by themselves instead of sharing a home with relatives of other generations mostly because they have a strong emotional attachment to their homes and social environment. However, there are great risks living alone as a senior such as lack of help in an emergency, higher rate of malnutrition, unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle, higher chance of missing symptoms.

“About 20% of men and 36% women over age 65 live alone. In total, these percentages represent about 13.3 million elderly people living by themselves as of 2015.” – Administration on Aging

Initial framing

How might we support families to take remotely care of distant seniors who may be experiencing or might be at risk of health problems?

In response to this, we learned that number of technology companies such as Apple and Fitbit are looking to push the limits of wearable devices and its abilities in aiding people with health conditions.

“Apple has been eyeing a career change — from personal trainer to personal physician — for its signature wearable for a while now.” - WIRED, WITH AI, YOUR APPLE WATCH COULD FLAG SIGNS OF DIABETES

I found that major health data such as heart rate and blood pressure is important in identifying early symptoms and alerting factors in medical conditions. Wearable devices have the ability to provide guidance on health behaviours through track, gather and analyze these data.

Reframe

How might we facilitate smart devices for seniors and their distant families so that effective health care can be provided in a timely manner?

Understanding the user

In respond this, I worked with another teammate on synthesizing these research into two personas which offered us a holistic understanding on our target audiences’ materialistic needs and emotional concerns. Focusing on both parties would allow us to reduce cognitive overhead by creating efficiency, accessibility and learnability according to their specific behaviours, needs and pain points. It helped us to translated abstract ideas and requirements into tangible design directions.

Caregiver: family members aged 25–45 who live away from the elderly relatives they wish to care for.

Care-receiver: people of age 55–75 who live alone but would like to receive occasional assistance with their health.

Design Solution

We proposed Medilog — a health supporting app using smart phones and smart watches to build a digital bridge between family members (the caregiver) and their distant elderly relatives (the care-receiver). It allows caregivers to stay updated with care-receivers’ health statues by offering features such as real-time health data, monthly report and scheduling in order to provide remote help for them in a timely manner.

We understand the ethics and codes related to health could be complicated, sensitive and personal. To ensure our design is unbiased and grounded, we refrain from attempting to provide diagnosis or medical treatment.

App feature on smartwatch:

  1. Track data such as heart rate of care-receiver to generate health reports
  2. Notify care-receiver of scheduled events and provide suggestions based on the analyses of reports
  3. Trigger emergency alert both manually and automatically

App feature on smartphone:

  1. View health reports, suggestions and real-time updates
  2. Schedule and view doctor appointments, care tasks and suggestions
  3. Set condition for auto alert and receive emergency alert

Wireframe and user testing

Once we understood our audience and their goals, we created wireframes to identify primary and secondary features. This gave us various ideas on how the end product may look like. Then I conducted interviews with selected candidates which included our target audiences and design industrial professionals for user testing. We received a lot of useful insights and incorporated their feedback in the final prototype. Based on the interviews, we made 2 main changes on the original design:

Change 1: Our initial design was too text-heavy, it was over-complicated for users to grasp the key information we intended to provide. Sometimes showing too much data without explanation could be distracting and frustrating, therefore we decided to simplify the data by showing an overview instead of daily records. Meanwhile, we added colours to help users identify potential risks. Additionally, we sectioned the report according to heart rate, exercise and sleep in order to provide information more concise and specific.

Change 2: Our users also suggested that we should soften the brand voice and make it more personal as it was too clinical in terms of both design and content strategy since it is an app used by families. Therefore, we added a home page in order to avoid overwhelming users with too much data and provide them with opportunity to scan the information.

Design guidelines

To maintain a cohesive visual design and brand voice, we created a style-guide to represent the product by specifying the core colour scheme, typography, visuals and components used in the app.

Final prototype — smartwatch

The interactive prototype can be found at: https://share.protopie.io/cCEp4AZAACv

Feature 1 — Home page and task cards

What is it:

The homepage offers users to easily navigate through real-time health data and task cards.Task are the scheduled appointments (completed and upcoming) for the care-receiver to view and provide completion feedback.

Why we need it:

The smartwatch application is designed for the care-receiver to view live health data and tasks (completed and upcoming). It is designed for the intended older audience in mind with larger font sizes and a simple four-button menu with tap-only interactions.

Feature 2 — Emergency trigger

What is it:

This is a self-activated emergency trigger care-receivers can initiate when they are in danger. The emergency trigger notifies caregivers and local care support (care helpers and local paramedics) for them to provide immediate care support.

Why we need it:

For seniors who live alone, one of the biggest risks for them is that they might not be able to ask for help when they are in an emergency situation, such as falling down from a flight of stairs. The feature allows care receivers to inform their caregiver/911 whenever they are in need of help.

Final prototype — smartphone

The interactive prototype can be found at: https://share.protopie.io/BXnTv4PZiXm

Feature 1 — Real-time data brief analysis

What is it:

By collecting data from the smartwatch, caregiver can be notified by care-receiver’s heart rate, exercise activity, and sleep patterns.

Quick analysis of the real-time data is provided when tap on the data card.

Why we need it:

With this feature, we provide the caregiver an overview of the care-receiver’s real-time health status as well as upcoming reminders in order to reduce caregiver’ confusion and keep them well-informed.

Feature 2 — Real-time location tracking

What is it:

GPS tracking provides users with the ability to locate care-receivers through the app. The feature can be activated or deactivated in settings and is meant to used in times of emergency.

Why we need it:

Through user interviews we found that one of the concerns caregivers often have is unable to reach their care-receivers’ location in care of an emergency.

Care-receivers also expressed interest in being able to send their current location to their families so they know how to be reached.

Feature 3 — Report

What is it:

There are weekly and monthly health reports to inform users about the care-receiver’s health status across a period of time.

Why we need it:

Providing a analysis of the data allows caregivers to be more informed about care-receiver’s health. Based on a more long-term data, the system will be able to spot on potential health problem more accurately and provide more reliable health suggestions.

By categorizing the report into heart rate, exercise and sleep in order to make the information more scannable, customizable, and easier to understand.

Feature 4 — Care suggestions

What is it:

All reports include care suggestions based on the analysis for the care-receivers to implement.

Why we need it:

This feature allows the caregiver to play a bigger role in the care-receiver’s life by allowing caregiver make useful health suggestions to improve their loved ones’ life. It takes away confusion and doubt regarding medical terms and health related information by providing tips for the caregiver rather than just relaying medical data and information to them.

Feature 5 — Schedule appointment, task and suggestion

What is it:

With the suggestions listed out in the report, Medilog encourages the caregiver to communicate with their care-receiver to set up medical appointments, care tasks and care suggestions in order to both manage and encourage health behaviours. Schedules can also be use as an effective tool for reminding care-receivers of important daily tasks such as taking pills.

Why we need it:

This feature was designed to allow users to play a more active caregiving role. Even they are not living with their care-receiver, they can be more capable to give care by using this schedule function to improve their care-receiver’s health.

Feature 6 — Emergency auto trigger

What is it:

The auto trigger needs to be turned on under Settings, where users can customize a safe range for their care-receiver depending on their individual health information. We recommend users to seek advice from the care-receiver’s family doctor before setting this safe range to trigger an emergency.

Why we need it:

This feature eases some of the worries caregivers experience when providing distant care. Having an automated system which informs users when their care receivers health data exceeds a set safe range gives them some peace of mind and perhaps enough time to initiate care support for the receiver.

Thoughts and reflection

The project idea came from my personal experience so the development was quite an interesting journey for me, it came with a wide range of difficulties due to the healthcare domain we are designing within. The first challenge we faced was gaining comprehensive understanding of specific types of health conditions that are identifiable with wearables. We did field research by visiting Apple stores to test out the watch, to see and feel what is it like to wear and use them. We also consulted with one of the Apple specialist and learned that with current technology, Apple Watch is able to provide an overview on heart rate when a person is walking, resting, breathing, workout, and recovery. Additionally, it has the ability to detect irregular heartbeats and send alerts. This was incredibly helpful because we needed to make decision and rocketship the project. It gave us a way to narrow down our scope on the variety of health conditions.

Thanks to our awesome instructor Paul, we had the opportunity to present our project to two senior UX designers from SAP and received a great deal of feedbacks. Another challenge we were given was how might we help users to consume the data and report more easily while maintain an empathetic tone of voice? How might we make it more personal? In order to solve these challenges, I interviewed with my parents, my friends’ parents and professors from SFU who may play the role of caregiver to understand what are their needs are when they have families live far away. These insights really helped us to determine the design of data and report page. With our initial wireframes, users found them too clinical and emotionless. To address this concern, we created the new homepage and added personalized reminder on top. This makes me realized how critical content strategy is in terms of experience design. It requires user research and interviews to start but compassion and empathy thinking to execute it.

Let me know your thoughts below, would love to hear your feedback!

Please find my portfolio here at https://www.estelaxu.com/

Estela

Written by

Estela

Product Designer based in Vancouver

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