As a Product Designer at Medic, my work, and the work of my teammates, is fundamentally grounded in the principles of Human Centered Design and Medic’s enduring commitment to our values of humanity and solidarity. We believe that to design solutions for complex use cases and health systems, we must center the needs and voices of health workers at every stage of the process as we design systems, workflows, and apps to deliver digitally supported care in communities.
We are perpetually looking at improving the user interface/user experience (UI/UX) of CHT apps by improving both live app instances through version upgrades and feature releases and iterating on the CHT Core Framework that serves as a starting point for developers building apps on the CHT. Understanding highlights and pain points of our end users enables a co-designing process to create more nimble, more scalable, world-class digital health applications. “Learnability” is crucial, ensuring health workers that onboard to their first-ever digital health app have a good experience with the tool and that it works for them.
In April 2022, my teammates and I had the opportunity to gain valuable insights through usability testing and focused group discussions with community health workers, this time in the Koboko, Nebbi, and Maracha Districts of Uganda in partnership with the Ministry of Health and our longtime implementation partner BRAC Uganda. We worked with 13 health workers – some as new as a few months into their role, and others who had been serving on Village Health Teams for more than two decades – all of whom now leverage CHT-based digital tools as they provide health to their communities.
During the usability testing sessions, we took all participants through the same test plan to review the usability of new design concepts (floating action button (FAB), button bar, side menu). We did this by showing participants different screens of the new designs on a phone and asking them to imagine different scenarios and to complete specific tasks, with most of the screens only having only one incremental change. For example: Imagine you have a new version of your VHT app. What page are you on? What would you tap to see your tasks from here? What do you think will happen when you press the 3 lines at the top? What would happen if you pressed the + icon? We asked participants to think out loud and ask them why they thought certain things would happen and at the end of the test we showed them combined updated designs that incorporated all the changes to gauge learnability.
We used focused group discussions as our second design research methodology to gather feedback on the same designs. Focus group discussions differ from usability testing in that in the usability study, users were given little context as to what they were looking at, whereas with the focus groups we openly compared the current and proposed flows and asked participants which they thought was easier to use, and why.
Through these activities, we found out that most of the design concepts introduced during the study were already familiar to a few of the users and easily learnable. Most of the interviewees highlighted areas of improvement needed for the CHT at the end of the exercise. Participants also noted that they had never been a part of this sort of testing exercise and were pleased that they had an opportunity to provide feedback before changes were implemented.
Building products that our users find intuitive, creating designs that are easy to use and ensuring that our solutions are relevant to our users is important. It’s also imperative to include different types of users within different program structures – for this instance BRAC CHPS, MoH VHTs (Village Health teams) – to ensure that we are taking into account various degrees of technical literacy. As a team, we also aim to promote visibility into upcoming updates resulting in us sharing the values derived from our test findings on the CHT Community Forum.
If you are interested to learn more about what we do and being part of this initiative in any way, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org