Nextgen Go
NextGen Go is an iPad app that was designed to simplify the core needs of orthopedic physicians in clinic. We wanted innovate and really help solve some of the pressing problems faced by physicians. We took a human-centered-design approach where user research guided both the direction and development of the application.

Research

My team conducted contextual research at Newport Orthopedic Center. We visited 10 other orthopedic sites across the country throughout the project. We shadowed and interviewed doctors, nurses, medical assistants, physician assistants, and patients to truly understand how the hospital functioned.

It was also important to us to spread this knowledge to the rest of the team. We encouraged others working on the project to accompany us so that they could empathize with our users and get excited about the problems we were solving with our product.

Synthesize

We had gathered over 200 pages of written notes and hours worth of audio recordings. Each visit was followed by a “Brain Dump” session in which one member will "tell the story", as they went through their notes and findings. The rest of the team members will ask questions and affinity diagram as they listen to the story. A couple hours later, our walls are filled with bright sticky notes.

Analysis

The affinity diagrams helped us create high-level themes. It was important to us that we uncover themes and not features at this point in the process. Themes helped our team stay focused without prematurely committing to a solution. This also helped us create a shared basis of knowledge among team members.

Building Context

Ideation

Starting off with a customer problems allowed us to come up with multiple solutions. Each idea started off as a bright colored sticky note. All team members were encouraged to throw their ideas up no matter how crazy they were.

Prototype, Validate, Repeat

I always like starting out with low-fidelity prototypes. That means either pen and paper or Balsamiq. This really lets me focus on high-level concepts. The team would have design reviews to go over the prototypes, ask questions, and provide feedback. I would iterate on the prototypes and create click-throughs on Invision. I love conducting Guerillla usability tests around the office to test out basic interactions. (I always take this as an opportunity to educate and get team member others excited about human-centered-design techniques.) Within 10 days, the physicians from Newport Orthopedic Center were playing with our click-throughs and giving us feedback. We would take these back to the office and take a few more iterations until we brought it back to them. Low-fidelity prototypes would then turn into high-fidelity prototypes. This was a constant cycle throughout the course of the project. I also built prototypes with HTML/CSS and used tools like Pixate when we wanted to test out certain interactions.

Low Fidelity Mockups

High Fidelity Mockups

Invision Click-Through

Implement

I worked with the developers to implement the designs. It was helpful to just grab a stool and sit down with the developer to really nail some of my design ideas. I also helped with the front-end implementation of the application. There were times when the developers just didn’t have time to get something right so I’d just dive into the code myself.

Lessons Learned

  1. Investing in research during the initial phases of the project allows us to understand our users and the problems they face. It helps us build empathy for the users and drives the team to build something meaningful that will solve some of these problems.
  2. Anyone can make things bigger and complex. It takes a skilled designer to move in the opposite direction.