- Problem: Century Health wanted to improve the Nigerian healthcare 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, 10 designers & 1 product manager.
- Duration: 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 5 prospective users to see if it matched their needs.
- Discovery: The most recurring issue was a lack of trust in the healthcare 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.
- Outcomes: The research influenced the recommendations we implemented in the design. It equally saved time and increased my team’s performance by 46%.
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A dreadful health care system
I had been self-learning UX Research for almost a year and I needed to practice. When I enrolled for Zuri’s 5-month training programme, it had two parts: the training phase — where I worked individually — and the project phase — where I worked in a team of 12.
In the project phase, I led a team that designed a mobile health app for Nigerians.
Century Health wanted to improve Nigeria’s healthcare service by allowing Nigerians view medical information and contact health practitioners remotely.
They assumed — like we did — that receiving healthcare in Nigeria was dreadful: we had to contend against an underfunded, fragile and inaccessible system.
Duration: 6 weeks
Role: Design Lead, UX Researcher
Team: 1 Project manager, 10 Designers, 1 UX Researcher
Gaining access to health information
Because healthcare was fundamental to the business goal of Century Health, we had to explore how Nigerians — who fit the recruitment criteria — received healthcare, communicated with doctors and viewed their medical needs in Nigeria.
After the initial meeting at which we laid the goals, I focused our research questions on these points:
- How do participants access information about their health in Nigeria?
- How do participants address their medical needs in Nigeria?
Exploring Nigeria’s health care space
Focus on patients
After my initial meeting with the project manager and designers, I drafted the research plan for the study. We identified our key goals, research questions and participant segment.
Because of time we focused our segment on Nigerians who were 18 years and above, had experienced the healthcare service in the country and had access to a smartphone and the internet.
Medium: We recruited remotely through social media: Twitter, Whatsapp & LinkedIn.
We screened participants and narrowed our target audience to Nigerian adults living in Nigeria who had used a health service in the country and owned a smartphone with internet connectivity. We aligned our recruitment specifications with the research goal and questions. Time was a significant constraint;
- As we recruited participants, we interviewed them.
- We focused on collecting data from the patients.
Talking to & testing with participants
We felt that the best methods were to understand patients through semi-structured interviews (23) and test the recommendations with 5 moderated usability tests. Seeing as our objectives were to understand how patients accessed health information and contacted health practitioners, we felt an interview would give us the required data. Conversely, we had to test our solution, hence the Usability Test.
Each session lasted for about 20–30 minutes. Per the interview guide — which I drafted — it began with getting to know our participants and slid into how they accessed healthcare and communicated with health professionals. We interviewed 23 participants and collected sufficient data to identify patterns.
No trust in Nigeria’s health care
I moderated a series of sessions with other designers to distil the data, pull insights, and ideate recommendations.
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 goals without compromising them.
These sessions enabled us to create a topline report and personas, which gave us a better understanding of who we were dealing with. Our most crucial insight was the lack of trust in the healthcare system and we had to look for ways to revive it.
- Wait time: Nigerian adults want to receive healthcare through the quickest means possible.
- No Trust: There’s a lot of doubt when accessing the profile of doctors.
- No Trust (Privacy): Nigerians do not trust doctors to be confidential with their information.
- Expenses: Nigerian adults worry about their health expenses.
The most recurring issue was a lack of trust in Nigeria’s healthcare system. Nigerian adults did not trust the system and the doctors in terms of competence and confidentiality.
Addressing Trust Issues
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.
Since the most pressing insights were those that showed Nigerians did not trust the system, I recommended features that would allow patients to cancel and reschedule appointments with another doctor, rate doctors and view the profile and qualifications of doctors.
- Add doctors to favourite list.
- Book, reschedule, or cancel appointment with doctors.
- The chance to change doctors when unsatisfied with the services of one.
- Report rate and review doctors.
- Receive follow up from doctors.
- Locate nearest health institutions.
- Filter doctors by specialty and language.
- View Doctor’s profile
- View medical history
- Receive referrals or prescriptions from doctors.
Do the recommendations work?
We tailored our recommendations to address the problems we found then we tested them. The Usability Test (5 participants, 5 tasks) found that our initial prototype had poor feedback, unsociable language and slow transitions. We patched these issues in time for the final presentation.
Back to the drawing board
Unfortunately, we only had enough time to test the semi-interactive high-fidelity prototypes.
We met with 5 participants who fell under our target audience and asked them to perform 5 tasks on our prototype. 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.
Personas: The sessions ultimately led us to create two personas which tunnelled us to understand our target audience better.
Empathy Map: What was the target audience thinking, saying, feeling and doing in regard to Nigeria’s healthcare system?
Report: I created a slide deck to share the findings and insight with internal and external stakeholders.
- My team’s performance increased by 46%.
- The insights gathered from the research contributed to the app’s design. It gave the team solid direction, especially when dealing with trust issues.
- We would not have advanced without the insights we generated from the research. The study guided the team and spurred our recommendations.
- Considering the different and conflicting ideas of my teammates was hard. I tried to listen to each teammate without trivialising their opinions.
- It was the first time I worked in and led a design team. Beyond UX Research, I stayed with my team throughout the process and learnt how to lead, communicate and research.