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Designing a Healthcare App? Here’s What You Need To Know

October 26, 2019 |
Brand & Identity, Design, UX, Web Design
Healthcare App

3G, 4G, 5G, unlimited access to the internet and a smartphone in every pocket. The world has undoubtedly come a long way on the path of technological advancements over the past two decades. With so many connected devices, no wonder mobile health has started to gain popularity. The most significant transformation in medicine since the early ages is happening right now and UX is at the forefront. The healthcare-tech sector is among the fastest-growing in the world today. 

According to a study conducted by the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation, the average number of general hospitals per 100,000 inhabitants, in Europe, was 2.9 in 2014 and the number of patients is increasing day-by-day. Therefore, the need for health apps has snowballed. 

Today, for the first time, patients are active decision-makers, and the healthcare industry needs to understand that patients are their partners. Creating a delightful user experience is essential for the success of health apps and the health industry as a whole.

Key UX Elements to Consider While Designing Healthcare Apps

1. Changes in Healthcare Accessibility

Times have changed. The Healthcare sector doesn’t operate the same way it uses to a few decades ago. It’s no longer a 9 to 6 affair, with emergencies being attended to as and when they occurred. It’s round the clock these days and patients expect full service 24/7. Be it an expecting mother or an ailing older adult, they all need access to health facilities at any given point in time.

2. The Emotional Quotient

In no other industry, businesses have to deal with such a broad spectrum of emotions. Sorrow, pain, anxiety, depression, joy, panic in cases of emergency, and what not? The interaction of patients with an automated mobile app can sometimes lack the emotional factor. Therefore, designers need to take the utmost care of factoring this element while designing the UX of the app. Although they are interacting with the app, it’s as good as the interaction between a patient and a doctor.

3. Patient Interaction Through Multiple Channels

Before the dawn of digital transformation, patient interaction limited to medical facilities or pharmacies. Fast forward to today, and the healthcare industry has to deal with various channels now, including traditional and mobile platforms. Moreover, today, our health-related decisions are influenced by social media too. UX designers need to address differences in trust levels among various channels. When in doubt, patients are more likely to trust the members of their close social circles rather than cold-hearted professionals. Social media also plays a significant role in the creation of support structures between patients. The user experience at these different levels is also essential to consider. 

Best practices to Improve Healthcare App UX

1. Understand The Users And Their Needs

From the outset of the project, developers and designers must be aware of the perception, needs and pain areas of users. A thorough understanding of the market is the base for developing a successful health app. Set focus on which type of app you plan to build?

For example – General health and fitness apps, chronic care management, medication management apps, professional medical applications, etc. The functionality and features of the app will depend on the type of app and its audience.

The involvement of practicing clinicians specialized in the area of your app is pivotal. With their insights and your research, you can zero down the fundamental problems that the app will address. Additional features that are not really necessary can be parked to be developed at a later stage. Understanding the existing user behavior and their needs are the key to a successful health app.

2. Make The Healthcare App Look Attractive

The styling themes and patterns that use to work a few years ago may not be best suited for today. Give due diligence to user psychology, current design trends, and your target audience. Studies have revealed that most of the health apps lack styling and visual appeal, which is the primary cause of users not using the app regularly after installation. Apps with clear and appealing data visualization have more chances to elevate user experience and retain users.

The layout of the app pages should be appealing and easy to use so that the users stick with your app. Give special consideration to the color schemes that you choose. Soothing colors are best suited for health apps. Navigation must be easy, the alignment and spacing should be appropriate, and most importantly, the headings must be clearly visible. A significant chunk of your target audience will be older adults. They need larger text and more prominent icons. Moreover, there will be users with specific health conditions, like epilepsy, diabetes, mental disorders, etc. Hence, the look and feel of the app must be apt for them too.

3. Make It Easy To Access, But Don’t Compromise On Security

A health app needs to be simple, intuitive and easily consumable. The registration or the sign-in process must be smooth and must not be time-consuming. The sign-in process must ideally be done on a single screen and with only a few clicks. Limit the information required to register (of course you need to capture vital info which is mandatory). The critical element is to offer quick access in the event of an emergency. Quick access to relevant information like doctor’s phone number and details about previous hospitalizations, allergies, etc. is quintessential. The data must be backed up over the cloud, to rescue in case of a lost or stolen phone.

Healthcare apps deal with a lot of personal and critical information about patients. These details must be strictly secured under personal data protection laws. Observe all laws and regulations that govern the personal data privacy when you set out to design the app.

4. Strike A Balance Between Functionality and Usability

There are two main participants of a health app – patients and health professionals. You need to understand that the app will either be professional-centric or patient-centric. If you go professional-centric, functionality will be the key. If you go patient-centric, usability will be the key. Which way you want to sit depends on the core objective of your app. But, you still need to strike a balance between the two. 

More on Usability Mistakes That Can be Avoided

Don’t lose sight of the main objective of the app and don’t try to fill the app with the maximum number of features. The app should be informative, but not overloaded with details. An app that deals with patient data, medication prescriptions and/or doctor appointments should have the proper messaging matrix providing different types of notifications and calendar integrations. Educational apps should contain different types of content, such as text, images, and video.

5. Test Your App Through The Life-cycle

Quality assurance and testing are a must. Field-test your app before the release. Proper testing, including testing the prototypes among the target audience ensures the readiness of the app. ideally, the UX design of the app must be regularly tested at the end of each iteration. Support your app continually and provide app users with undisrupted service. 

Are you looking to develop a health app? Do you wish to discuss the UX designing elements in-depth? Talk to our design experts now!

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