Healthcare app development is impossible without keeping the UX in mind. 88% of users say they wouldn’t return to an app after having a bad user experience and 44% of them will tell their friends about it. “Developing educational software for medical staff, entertaining health apps and wellness programs our team is guided by high usability standards to digital health solutions. For medical applications, good UX — and, as a part of that, thoughtfully designed UI — is essential for delivering the app’s intent to the user.” – said CEO of Diversido.io. That is vital for mHealth solutions that help users achieve better health outcomes or optimize provider organization’s processes.
In consumer-facing healthcare apps, users generally want to:
- Schedule/Cancel appointment (usually after accessing doctor’s credentials and reviews)
- Receive prescriptions
- Access their medical records
Only 11% of healthcare apps provide users with at least one of those. What’s worse, only 2% of patients use apps that connect them to hospitals — and a major reason they don’t want to use them is poor UX. Diversido has been working with e-health solutions for almost 10 years now and here are a few tips that’ll help you boost the UX of your digital health app.
Users want to use an app if it’s personalized for them — if they feel that it speaks to them, which is what a good UX design agency would provide.
Use the data users provide you with, actively (self-reported information people tell you via mood trackers, in-app surveys, and other self-assessment tools) or passively (the data your app collects about their activity in the app and from their wearables). You can also employ personalization by relying on the location of a user to offer them visiting a clinic, or a lab, or a pharmacy with the meds they need that are located nearby.
Put out an understandable and clear consent form for collecting any kind of personal data — especially health-related.
If the users like the app from the start, they’ll stay for a long time. That’s why onboarding is of paramount importance — make this process as easy and understandable as possible.
- State the unique value of your app and the price users have to pay for it from the start (if there’s any.)
- Ask the user’s name and their phone number or email — but otherwise, keep the form a user needs to fill to a minimum.
- Don’t ask for information that is irrelevant for treatment.
- Include simple, straightforward, and skippable instructions on how to use an app.
- Provide discounts and special offers for the first days if possible.
Help users understand the information your app carries and the value it provides. Keep the language simple and casual. Apply commonly used terms instead of professional slang.
- Medical terms may give a false impression that the disease is more severe than it is.
- Common terms don’t make users google their diagnosis (which is a good thing, because googling usually spikes people’s anxiety.)
- Common terms make for better communication — even complex conditions can be explained in simple terms.
Find a few suggestions on how to simplify the medical jargon in the table below:
Pins and needles
Low blood pressure
Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter
Data visualization is an excellent method to deliver medical information. For instance, if the app visualizes data from wearables, users understand what’s going on with their bodies better. Trends and tendencies of physical activity, blood pressure, and pain levels can be analyzed to understand when users feel better or worse and why they are feeling so. If pain levels decrease after two months of regularly doing yoga or blood pressure spikes on the days that have the highest rates of caffeine consumptions — it could mean something. Correlation isn’t causation, sure, but if connections like these are visible, they’re much easier to show to doctors and investigate.
Designing with accessibility in mind means designing as if there are no average users — because there’s really none.
Designing for people who are usually excluded from interacting with digital products. Is your content screen-reader friendly? Does your video content have subtitles? Is it possible to make the font in your app larger or smaller? Do you use clear, unambiguous language? Do you use colors and graphics to carry meaning? (By the way, use Coblis to see what your mHealth app looks like for colorblind people). Do you give users enough time to fill in all forms before session timeout? Can your app detect and understand voice input? Are your navigation elements large enough?
These and other questions will help you notice underserved segments of your audience — and center conversations about their health around them. To answer these questions you, of course, need to include disabled people in your user testing groups.
Animation is optional, and if done wrong, it can be harmful. Blinking, flickering gifs, quick disappearance of elements, and everything unpredictable can scare, startle, or even put users in danger. Flickering elements can cause seizures. Parallax scrolling, carousels, or other advanced design features can trigger motion sickness or other symptoms of vestibular disorders. Be careful when designing animations — and let users turn it off if they want.
People who have myopia and hypermetropia aren’t the only ones who struggle to perceive certain fonts — dyslexia, for instance, affects up to 20% of the US population. The more complex or elaborate the font, the harder it is to read it for anyone. The most accessible fonts are Roboto, Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, and Times New Roman. Use those for your mHealth app. Also, avoid light text weights and use a line-height of at least 1.5. Let’s compare:
This sentence is easily comprehensible as it is written in Roboto font with a 1.5 line-height.
This sentence is harder to read as it is written in EB Garamond font with a 1.0 line-height.
The contrast ratio defines the difference between the color of the text and the background. With the right contrast ratio, people easily read your text from the smartphone with minimal brightness of their screen (or when they’re standing under the sun during midday).
Don’t use stark contrasts (pure black on bright white isn’t a good idea, as is the reverse.) Use services like Webaim to check the contrast ratio of the palette you’ve chosen.
UX is a complex issue that can’t be neglected, especially when it comes to the UX of healthcare applications. Make sure to invite users to playtest your app and confirm or debunk your assumptions about their behavior within it — you’ll be able to gather lots of insights from this process.