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WeCare App: Improving Nigeria’s Health Care Experience

TL;DR ⏩

Problem: Century Health wanted to improve the Nigerian health care service by allowing Nigerians view medical information and contact health practitioners. Nigeria’s healthcare system was underfunded, fragile, and inaccessible. 

Role: Design Lead & UX Researcher.

Team: 1 UX Researcher, 13 UX Designers & 1 Project Manager.

Timeline: 6 weeks.

Approach: We conducted 23 user interviews with Nigerians who had experienced the healthcare system. Once we had a prototype, we tested it with 6 prospective users to see if it matched their needs. 

Insight: The most recurring issue was a lack of trust in the health care system. Nigerian adults did not trust the system and this made some to self-medicate. Our major challenge was finding a way to restore the trust.

Results: The research influenced the decision-making of the design. It equally saved time and increased my team’s performance by 46%. 

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Getting Started

I had been self-learning UX research for almost a year and I needed to practice. I enrolled for Zuri’s 5-month training programme. The programme had two parts: the training phase — where I worked individually — and the project phase — where I worked in a team of 15. 

In the project phase, I led a team that designed a medical aid app for Nigerians. Century Health wanted people to receive quality and accessible health care in Nigeria and view information about their medical needs. After all, we already knew how dreadful the health care system was. 

Hence, through research and design, we designed an app to link Nigerians to health professionals and view information about their medical needs remotely.

Defining Objectives

💡 Because health care was fundamental to the business goal of Century Health, we wanted to explore how Nigerians received health care, communicated with doctors and viewed their medical needs.

The main question we had to answer to achieve our purpose was:

How do Nigerians pursue their medical needs and what challenges do they face in this pursuit? 

Searching for Answers

💡 We felt that the best method was to explore the health care service through semi-structured interviews. The product was in its discovery phase, the research was generative, and we had to uncover the experiences, pain points, needs, goals and mental models of Nigerians accessing health care to discover how we would accommodate their needs.

The Process

Planning the Study

I drafted the research plan for the project and prompted other designers to provide feedback on the plan and interview guide.

The Target Audience

We screened participants and narrowed our target audience to Nigerian adults who had used a health service in the country. We aligned our recruitment specifications with the research purpose. Time was a significant constraint; as we recruited participants, we interviewed them.

Interviewing Participants

💡 Each session lasted for about 20–30 minutes. Per the interview guide, it began with getting to know our participants and slid into how they accessed health care and communicated with health professionals. We interviewed 23 participants and collected sufficient data to identify patterns.

Analysis & Synthesis: Divergent Opinions & Trust Issues

I encouraged my teammates to sift through the interview notes and group those notes into themes. Initially, I struggled to consider the divergent views of my team members. But I actively listened to each idea and traced it back to the project’s overall goal without compromising it. The activity enabled us to pinpoint the issues of Nigerians while attempting to address their medical needs.

💡 We found common problems, but the most recurring was a lack of trust in the health care system. Nigerian adults did not trust the system and we had to look for ways to revive it.

Pain points

One participant dreadfully recalled:

‘My last experience in the hospital was evil.’

Participant X

Afterwards, we deciphered the insights.

Insights

The sessions ultimately led us to create two personas. Each persona tunnelled us to understand our target audience better.

Persona: Patrick
Persona: Doose

I moderated the ideation session to find solutions to Patrick’s and Doose’s problems.

In the third week, my team reported the insights to the product manager and external stakeholders. The report contained our personas, empathy map, and insights.

Addressing Trust Issues & Other Concerns

As the design leader, I had to oversee the whole project. I moderated the ideation sessions, guided them while defining the user flows and sketches and participated in the prototyping sessions. 

Our most pressing insights were those that showed Nigerians did not trust the system. We moulded our recommendations to solve these issues. I recommended features that will allow patients to cancel and reschedule appointments with another doctor, rate doctors and view the profile and qualifications of doctors.

Recommendations

Testing the Solutions: Back to the Drawing Board

Unfortunately, we only had enough time to test the semi-interactive high-fidelity prototypes.

💡 We met with six participants who fell under our target audience and asked them to perform five tasks on our app. We found the language we used in the app was unsociable, difficult to navigate, and the design lacked proper feedback.

With little time left, we improved the feedback system of WeCare, made changes to the transitions of the screens, and made the language sociable.

The Results

WeCare Medical App

The insights gathered from the research contributed to the app’s design.

🔥 View the prototype here.

The app ties into Century Health’s business goal by helping Nigerians book appointments with doctors, find nearby health institutions, access their medical history, contact emergency services, communicate with verified health practitioners etc.

Provided Guidance and Saved Time

We would not have advanced without the insights we generated from the research. The study guided the team and spurred essential design decisions.

Improved Team Performance by 46%

We were not the only team that participated in the programme. After we presented our solution, my team’s points increased by 46%. In the end, we emerged with 81%. That put us in 6th place out of 10 teams.

Challenges & Lessons

Considering Different & Conflicting Ideas

It was hard to consider all the ideas of my teammates. But I overcame this challenge by listening actively to each team member without trivialising their opinions.

Threading New waters

It was the first time I worked in and led a design team, so my tasks went beyond UX research. I ensured that the team knew about the whole process and delegated tasks. As a team, we were disappointed with the outcome. Our hard work landed us in 6th place. However, we resolved to do more. I did not lead my team to victory, but the learning experience was worth it.