Career professionals - especially those in healthcare - must master a vast and dynamic vocabulary of terminology and technical language. Traditional study strategies (e.g., flashcards, dictionaries) are not appropriate for busy professionals. Web searches are impersonal and easily forgotten.
How might we create a mobile app for learning terminology that is: maximally useful on the go and targeted to the learner's context of use?
Apply design thinking to research, design and test a low-fidelity prototype in completion of my first UX student project
- Competitive analysis
- User research
- Usability testing
Competitive analysis User research Personas
Information architecture Wireframes Low fidelity prototype
Usability testing Usability testing report
Competitive analysis of vocabulary learning apps suggested integrating the following key design goals:
intuitive and familiar interface with minimal onboarding
fully and immediately functional to first time users
USER INTERVIEWS AND SURVEYS
In user interviews and surveys, health science professionals described the challenge of learning terminology at work. Most indicated the lack of any system for doing so.
"I just google and hope to remember." -medical student, 34 y/o
USER PERSONA AND JOB STORIES
Generating user flows and task analyses was the most intuitive and enjoyable component of the project. I just wrote down what I was seeing in my head.
USER FLOW 1: Adding and tagging a term
USER FLOW 2: Reverse search for term by tags
WIREFRAMES AND PROTOTYPES
I conducted usability testing based on four scenario tasks with compatible participants.
All were practicing medical professionals or scientists.
Errors were analyzed using Nielsen's 4-point severity rating for usability problems.
34 y/o female Nurse practitioner in Florida (USA)
67 y/o female Ob/gyn in Tennessee (USA)
37 y/o male Nurse and hospital admin in Florida
42 y/o female University professor in Florida
36 y/o female Health policy specialist in Tennessee
You can view the full usability test report, testing plan and notes below.
As a student project in a brand new field, this was 100% a learning opportunity and mostly a lot of fun.
Competitive analysis is an essential tool for the UX designer - to be strengthened through practice like a muscle - and I enjoyed it!
User interviews and usability testing sessions offered opportunities for human interaction I particularly enjoyed.
Visualizing interaction design in abstract terms - such as through user flows and information architecture - comes naturally for me.
Preparing to present the project - to my design mentor, as if he were the client - was almost more challenging than the project itself.
I got stuck on wishlist functionalities I couldn’t fully articulate or find represented elsewhere.
I obsessed over details, such as about my invented persona, that were ultimately not relevant or necessary.
While big ideas are exciting, ideation has to end before meaningful design can begin.
Obsessing over visual details kills momentum and stifles flexibility.
In the future, I will focus on iterations and turnover of ideas, rather than perfection at every step.
Looking ahead and next steps
I would love to continue with this project.
The next steps would be the following:
- design and test mid and high-fidelity prototypes
- consult with a cognitive scientist for deeper understanding of associative learning (the principle of learning informing this app)
- research technical feasibility of 'wish-list' functionalities, such as custom visualizations generated for users based on their unique associative networks
- Branding (logo design)