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Medlo: A Case Study For A Doctor Appointment App
Medlo is a mobile app for booking appointments with nearby doctors and receiving diagnoses and treatment online through audio and video calls.
Many Nigerians are unable to access doctors, either due to their locations being too far from hospitals or due to the disproportionate ratio of patients to doctors in hospitals.
I wanted to create a quick and easy means for Nigerians to receive medical care while also solving some of the problems facing the current Nigerian healthcare system.
My target users are Nigerian youths and adults who visit the hospital frequently and are substantially tech-savvy.
Roles and Responsibilities
I was the sole designer and researcher on this project.
Scope and Constraints
This was my first project, and so I was a bit nervous because I did not have a lot of experience in researching. I was also constrained on time, as the project was a school assignment and I only had about a week to turn in my work.
Process: Discovering the Problems
- Competitive Analysis
My initial plan was to find patients willing to participate in an interview. I needed to understand their frustrations and gain more insights into their struggles.
But then I quickly ran into the issue of limited time. As an inexperienced designer, I barely knew how to write survey questions or conduct user interviews, and two or three days didn’t seem enough to create questions, find interviewees and conduct the interviews.
So I decided to conduct a competitive analysis to try and figure out how other apps have tried to solve the issue and what problems were left unsolved.
The first thing I noticed was that there weren’t many Nigerian mobile health applications, and the ones that existed were not the best in terms of quality. So I picked three foreign apps (Doctors on Demand, Healthtap and Practo) and one Nigerian app (DRO Health). I chose these because they had the largest number of downloads and reviews, which meant they were probably the best ones available.
I summarized the results of my research in the table below:
As I studied the apps, I took note of some of the design flaws and issues that proved detrimental to user experience.
2. User Review Analysis
I proceeded to read several user reviews for each app to try to discover their weaknesses.
I discovered that many of the apps had similar issues, some of which are:
a. Complicated user interface
b. Poor design, which made the app seem untrustworthy
c. Poor customer service
d. Inability to directly contact doctors
With these findings in mind, I moved on to the design phase.
Process: Designing the Solutions
- Creating a trustworthy application
From all the information gathered during my research, I knew I needed to make an app that was intuitive, easily navigable and trustworthy, and I needed to establish that from the very first screen the user would see.
The logo is ofttimes the first element (besides the app name, of course) that a user sees. Thus, I made sure it was as representative of the brand as possible. From the name to the typography, the logo makes it clear what the app is about the moment you see it.
The typeface for the logo is Raleway. I chose it due to its high legibility and friendly yet professional appearance, factors which were well-suited for a medical app. The ‘plus’ symbol in the logo was inspired by the universally recognizable Red Cross symbol.
For the brand colour, I chose blue due to its psychological relation to trust, sophistication, competence and reliability, all of which were traits I wanted the app to exude.
I chose purple as the secondary colour not only for its connotations of sophistication and warmth but also because it was a complementary colour that paired well with the primary colour.
Throughout the design, I ensured that there was enough contrast between the colours so as to comply with the accessibility standards.
2. Removing the confusion
To make the app as intuitive and easy-to-use as possible, I was very intentional with my choice of typography and the layout of the app.
I chose san serif typefaces for both the headings and body copy because I wanted a more digital and modern feel for the app. For the headings and titles, I chose Manrope while for the body copy, I chose Inter. Both typefaces are simple and legible, even at small sizes, and that helps to increase accessibility and reduce user confusion.
Since the primary function of the app was to book appointments with doctors, I created a user flow for the process. The process needed to be as simplified as possible to build confidence in the user while interacting with the app.
From the user flow, I created wireframes to visualize the screens in the app.
3. Improving the user experience
After creating basic wireframes, I proceeded to make high-fidelity wireframes for the app, keeping the users’ pain points in mind. I followed Material Design guidelines since most Nigerians use android phones. Here are the results:
In order to provide an simple, intuitive and enjoyable experience, I gave the home screen a clean and visually appealing look, with properly placed items that make the categories easy to understand. There is a navigation bar which helps the user find their way around the app. there is also a conspicuously placed search bar which can be used to search for doctors among other things.
To ensure that users can directly communicate with doctors, I designed a chat screen. I also designed a chat list screen to showcase all the recent messages.
Outcomes and Lessons Learned
Working on this project alone with little to no experience was one of the most daunting tasks I ever handled, but I learned so much during the process.
- I learned how to make paper wireframes, and user flows, and how to properly use colours in design.
- I learned how to implement Material Design principles.
- I learned how to perform Competitive analysis.
While I did learn and achieve a lot from this project, there are several things I still need to improve upon. Here are a few:
- I need to learn how to make high-fidelity prototypes.
- I need to learn how to conduct surveys and user interviews.
- I need to conduct usability tests in order to ascertain the effectiveness of my solutions.
- I need to learn the Human Interface Guidelines in order to be able to design for iOS.
Thanks for reading.
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