WebMD and the New App Feature

Better Information. Better Health.

WebMD provides valuable health information, tools for managing your health, and support to those who seek information. You can trust that our content is timely and credible.”

WebMD has a vast amount of valuable content meant to help people stay healthy. We were tasked with finding a way to retain users by personalizing the site in a way to organize the overwhelming amount of information and make the app relevant to individuals’ needs. Currently, WebMD is similar to a health encyclopedia. The app is not personalized and takes up about 20 megabytes of space.

Joining the Team

Since I joined the team on day 4 of the 2 week project our project manager and team redesigned the schedule of parts we needed to accomplish from the end to beginning of the project.

Project Manager mapping out the week


Before I joined the team they had done a competitive and comparative analysis. The team conducted user screeners where they heard back from around 40 people and narrowed them down to 7 interviewees based on who had experience using WebMD. Phone interviews were conducted which let to lots of information to be analyzed and organized.

Current WebMD app home screen

  • Search Function
  • System Checker
  • Medicine Reminders
  • Conditions
  • Medicine
  • Refills of Prescriptions
  • First Aid Information

System Checker

  • Is the current feature
  • The gender of the default person needs personalization
  • Users found imagery
     did not align with 
     brand expectations

Other apps offer specialized features

  • HealthTap put personalization first
  • AskMD had a streamlined signup process
  • Pacifica had calming beach imagery
  • Everyday Health had an icon driven interface
  • Simplify made good use of local symptom checks, as opposed to entire body image like MD
  • Mayo Clinic also uses calming imagery in its on boarding process
LEMERS was used to analyze the various features of the apps

Comparison to other health apps using LEMERS Heuristics

  • WebMD lacks some common health features.
  • Onboarding
  • News feed
  • Chat function
  • Disconnected wellness function

Synthesizing the Data

We found some fundamental pains of the app were trending with users


  • WebMD is a trusted brand
  • Users want us to personalize the app
  • Make the app worth the real estate on my mobile
  • Give me an app specific function, not just mobile web
  • Give app a function beyond what google search provides
  • App currently looks dated and confusing
  • Most go to doctor only as a last result (86%)


  • Before going to doctor
  • Instead of going to the doctor
  • Check on yourself
  • Check on Kids
  • Check on Family
  • Check on Gossip/SocialNetwork/Media people
  • Electronic Medical Records


  • 6 of 7 users: Go to Google first to check on health related issue
  • 6 out of 7 users: Had WebMD but deleted it


  • 5 out of 7 users: Want a personal newsfeed
  • 5 out of 7 users: Would have no problem creating an account


  • 5 : Find Symptom Checker Visually Confusing
  • 5 : Find Homepage Visually Confusing
Percentages of the usage of WebMD


As the users’ frustrations and needs were becoming clear we were ready to create a couple personas so we could keep their needs in mind as we created our new feature for WebMD.

Secondary Persona

Harry became our primary user because he has a heart condition, his wife has had cancer and his daughter gets strep throat often. This is a person that would frequently visit the site as he has continous health concerns for himself as well as his family. He is an andriod user.

Primary Persona
Chart that compares android vs. iOS


We sketched a flow possibility then came up with a few paper prototypes to test with users before moving into our low fidelity prototype. The focus for andriod became clear as our project manager is an Andriod advacate. When we studied the materials information it became clear how to move forward with the design.

Left-Lab results Illustration — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — - — — -Right On boarding Illustration

The sketches above illustrate two different flows of creating a personalized news feed. The three sketches on the right based on lab results that create a news feed. The sketches on the right illustrate a newsfeed walked through an onboarding process that has four steps meant the guide through so they have an indea how long the process will take.

Through AB testing we found:

“That’s cool but what if I don’t have lab results to add but I want a

personalized feed based on my interests.”

  • Not everyone has lab reports or wants to share them with the app
  • We ended up using a process similar to the left
  • We were determined to make the process be as few taps as possible


Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Findings and Take Aways

“I would share the article, especially if I know it is from place I trust and the information is good. I don’t have Pinterest, but I have shared on Facebook and in emails. I am new to Twitter but I would maybe share an article there as I get more follows. There is much more facebook in Brazil, I think I would share on WhatsApp and Facebook. If I send to one person I would use email.” -Paolo

Notes: Does not notice the chevrons on the photograph. Must be more clear, more bright, more contrast. Didn’t even notice them.

People who don’t use andriod are more confused by our choosen android conventions so it’s best to screen testers in the future based on what platform they use.

“I like having access to the local news related to health.” -Janie

Note: It’s natural for her to swipe right or left to view other articles.

“Notifications on Alerts like Outbreaks in my area, I would like to actually get those as soon as an emergency happened, but I don’t want to be spammed. That’s annoying. How do they determine what is considered an emergency… I don’t want the ‘breaking news’ syndrome, where every minor news blurb is ‘breaking news’ because that allows the spam.” -Devin

“I actually didn’t think about what I was going to see next, but maybe it could take me immediately to the news feed, but this drills down more specific topics so that my news feed is more personalized.” -Devin

2nd Iteration of High Fidelity Mockup

Notes: Based on user feedback and the desire to keep the app as straightforward as possible, we took the scrolling page and broke it into two pages where you can see the save button.

Notes: The options Popular, Adult, and Local are there for an easy navigation to more options as well as the ability to save and move on to the newsfeed.

Next Steps

  • Personalized myWebMD homepage
  • Calendar reminder function for Health appointments.
  • My Meds, My Conditions, etc. located on personal myWebMD homepage.
  • Upload your Lab Test results, have WebMD analyze results for tailored feedback
  • Content generated based on tracked user choices helps auto generate personal myWebMD
  • Change the colors of the choice buttons instead of making them black.

Final Take Aways

Although the project was very difficult it would have been harder if I decided to work alone. I entered into the project a little late because my other partner left. Some decisions as well as a group dynamic had already been established. With my team willing to dedicate time to catching me up I was eventually able to help them move forward and bring something to it.

Many aspects of the project were new to me such as using OneNote and OneDrive to keep all our documents throughout the project. As a class we learned to use Sketch more in depth as well as using the other programs from before taking them all to the next level. As a team we were able to remind each other to document our time as well as make sure we didn’t miss any details as we worked. Developing an app specifically for android was an interesting problem to tackle mostly because I never used one. It made me realize the importance of reading up on material design. It sets a structure to the design so there’s better understanding of what is possible.

Working with a team such as this was a great way to learn to take the project as far as you can towards perfection. Usually I work in a way that is fast without focusing long enough on the details. Moving forward I will try not to fear taking time to perfect ideas before moving on.