You don’t need a medical degree to understand that good user experience (UX) is of the utmost importance to the healthcare industry. The world’s population is becoming sicker every day and technology is the only way to create sustainable solutions, whether through wearables, augmented reality or artificial intelligence (AI).
It doesn’t help that the industry is a decade behind in terms of technology use, according to a report from the Nuffield Trust. A lot of attention is devoted to functionality, but not enough is directed toward the role of UX.
Designing great user experiences can have a tremendous impact on a healthcare provider’s bottom line. Outlined below are key trends in UX design that have the potential to inspire customer-facing healthcare products.
1. Illustrated graphics
While graphics have been growing in popularity over the last decade, only recently have healthcare companies started incorporating these visual elements into their applications, websites, and social media posts.
In a complex healthcare system, illustrated graphics can break down concepts in a complete, light-hearted manner that creates a long-lasting impression on customers. The American Public Health Association (APHA) dedicated an entire page to infographics, allowing users to download them in various resolutions and even read the text version.
2. Simplified data visualization on wearables
Wearables as a product have been around for a while, but engineers are now perfecting the way data is displayed to users. More than steps taken or calories burned, consumers want to see performance metrics that help them optimize their well-being. For patients with chronic diseases, quality UX can be life-saving.
A smartwatch monitoring glucose levels needs to have a minimalistic interface and bright hues on a white or black background so patients can easily spot any blood sugar abnormalities. Check out the K'Watch Glucose device to see an example of optimal wearable UX.
3. Intuitive chatbot interfaces
Chatbots have slowly made their way into healthcare, becoming more human-like. Around 62% of US customers enjoy interacting with a business via chatbots. But brief and emotionless replies don’t cut it in healthcare.
Researchers are using modeling languages, speech recognition and other natural language comprehension tools to build bots that fit with user preferences, emotional states, behaviors and demographics.
If you are a healthcare provider looking to invest in a highly intuitive chatbot, make sure the interface meets these key requirements:
- The interaction is simple. You want a bot that can get specific and detect user preferences fast.
- There’s a speech-to-text or a speech-to-speech option. Advanced chatbots can talk in response to written or vocal inquiries.
- The bot uses graphical widgets such as buttons or a scroll bar that lead to higher levels of user engagement.
An AI-powered chatbot worth mentioning is made by UK startup Babylon. The bot asks people questions about their illnesses and provides information about the likely causes of their symptoms. It’s also able to recommend next steps and treatment information.
4. Engaging Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is a leading tool of digital transformation in healthcare. Its applications run the gamut, from treating postoperative pain and phobias to aiding neurodegenerative disease recoveries. Global, virtual and augmented reality in the healthcare market is expected to reach $5.1 billion by 2025, which means that UX design for VR-based healthcare solutions will require more finesse and innovation.
Efficient VR systems are ones that can engage the senses and help users seamlessly move through simulated environments. UX factors with the most positive impact on user satisfaction include high-quality visual design, credible content, an immersive experience and a simplified navigation structure. New research published in the Advances in Human-Computer Interaction journal shows that more interactive virtual environments encourage usage and loyalty. Here’s a couple of best practices to follow when designing for VR in healthcare:
- Give users more options to interact with in their virtual space. Patients should be able to navigate the virtual realms by tapping, swiping, pinching, rotating, air tapping and more.
- Place important elements within reach in the center of the interface.
- Use visual and audio cues to notify users of various elements they would otherwise miss.
- Include complementary colors that are in alignment with user needs. Blue and green hues, for example, are employed to create a sense of tranquility.
- Design with empathy. When you step into the shoes of your users, you craft a more accessible and healing experience.
5. Customizable mobile apps
From milder conditions to life-threatening diseases, there’s a health app to manage every part of your wellness.
According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global mobile health (mHealth) market is expected to reach $236 billion by 2026, thanks in no small part to the growth in smartphone use.
Healthcare apps are becoming an extension of the lives and careers of both patients and providers. Apps like Epocrates allow physicians to prescribe the right medicine in the correct doses and gain better control over the treatment. Others, like Skyscape, provide doctors, nurses and students with valuable educational resources designed to foster career growth.
For all their various applications, there are some common UX guidelines to make mHealth apps more efficient:
- Get to know your audience. If your designing an app for doctors, your focus should be on building functionality that helps them quickly sort through mountains of data, from Electronic Medical Records (EMR) to wordy medication guidelines and reference materials. When it comes to patients, think about reducing the amount of information you’re offering and making the instructions straightforward.
- Create customizable functionality that changes based on user behavior and preferences. This can include themes, interactive elements, personalized recommendations, notifications, and more.
- Create a minimalistic interface and apply the “progressive disclosure” principle to help users discover features gradually, saving the details until later.
- Display the most important features on the home screen so users can easily access them.
- Employ the 3-click rule, letting users reach information in no more than three steps.
When it comes to healthcare, UX is as much about aesthetics as it is about solving problems in a manner that is safe and respects medical regulations. Great healthcare UX design can provide your business with high levels of user engagement and retention.
At Americaneagle.com, we have the talent and the resources to make that happen for you.
Our team factors in elements like functionality and front-end user needs to create seamless visitor journeys that deliver your brand's intended message. Browse our UI and UX Design Services and contact us today to bring your brand to life.