Industry Project for Spring semester 2022 at the Centre for Digital Media (Masters of Digital Media)
Team: Priyanka Dhapare, Thelma Wiegert, Isabela Lopez, Simran Singh, Emma Bousfield, Michelle Gu
Team Name: The Alleviators
Providence Health is one of the country’s largest health care organizations. It operates 17 sites, including St. Paul’s Hospital (Vancouver, BC), and serves as a health and wellness resource for families, patients and residents from all parts of the province.
Providence Research hosted a hackathon event designed to tackle the challenges faced by patients and the community when dealing with pain. On that occasion, Pain BC, an important institution dedicated to improving the lives of people in pain through empowerment, care, education and innovation, brought a problem:
"Chronic pain is a condition that affects 20% of Canadians. People living with chronic pain in rural and remote communities in BC have inequitable access to resources that could help them improve their condition, due to such barriers as socio-economic status, distance to specialists in urban centers, lack of allied health professionals, availability of technology and other tools, limited diagnostic options, waitlists, non-attachment to primary care, and cultural safety concerns. As a consequence, people living with chronic pain are severely impacted by their condition, regarding important aspects of their lives, from physical well-being to mental health and social life."
We conducted desk research to understand more about the problem space since we as a team were new to the healthcare domain. Following that, we realized that we still had some questions specific to our problem statement that needed answering. Researcher Isabela and I prepared an in-depth interview where we spoke to patients, professionals, and people working with NGOs to see this problem through. For this interview, we prepared a series of questions that were separated into sections: warm-up, about the problem, and wrap-up. Warm-up questions consisted of getting to know the interviewee and their background, what motivated them, and what placed them where they are.
“About the Problem” tackled the problem itself, we wanted to hear people’s voices and their perspectives on this issue and "Wrap up" was about any final thoughts that they had.
Understanding pain prevalence helped us to define a target, and from there, go deeper into important criteria we should consider. Chronic pain increases with age, and becomes more significant in the group of people older than 45.
This group makes use of technology, but this use also becomes more limited as they grow older. That brought us to the criteria: our solution should be easy and simple to use.
Additionally, considering internet coverage in rural and remote areas, it should be light, quickly loading on mobile phone (the most used device) even with low internet connections, without using much data.
"For British Columbians living with chronic pain in rural and remote areas who need assistance to deal with their condition, Pepita is a web-based application that provides curated resources to help them. Unlike the current situation, where they have to invest a large amount of time and energy looking for resources, our product will provide personalized recommendations in a straightforward, accessible and insightful manner."
Pepita – is a web-based tool where users can input information about their chronic pain condition and receive curated resources based on their responses. These resources are meant to support the biological, psychological and social aspects of chronic pain.
I pitched that we should opt for a web-based tool and the reason for that was – accessibility. Mobile applications require download and storage on devices, a web-based tool that operates on browser can act like an app without all the fuss.
Video editing credits: Emma Bousfield
(Click on the images to zoom in)
Don't re-invent the wheel
I narrowed down on the features that would work together to create the intended experience. Next, I created an Information Architecture. This was to help visualize how different pieces of content would be arranged in an easily understandable way.
Given our time constraints I decided that the design prototype (made in Figma) would be used to demo the entire scope of the product while our functional prototype will have limited features acting as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). These MVP features are highlighted in blue in the diagram above.
Key features and Usability Tests
Usability Test 1
- What is the rate of completion?
- Are the language and tone appropriate? Is the quality of questions well written?
- Do we have the appropriate number of questions?
- How easy is it to navigate(skip a question, go back to change a response)?
- Would users feel the need to “skip” a question? If yes, why?
- Identify the following: Unnecessary questions & Sensitive questions
- Identifying the best layout for the feed page such that the user can absorb information in form of the list of resources provided to them in the easiest way
- Determining the max number of resources to display at a time
- Determining if the users understand the hierarchy in the resources provided
- Determining the usefulness of labels for sections and categories
- Identifying the best layout for the individual resources page that ensures a good experience for users in terms of readability and playing media
Resource Recommendation Logic
Note: Due to scoping constraints, we were only able to implement and test the "Questions -> Labels -> Resources" part of the logic.
Usability Test 3
The final Usability Test was to to test the functionality of the MVP, whether users are able to complete onboarding, and if Pepita is able to provide the appropriate content based on onboarding answers.
- Will the right tags be activated in the back end to provide meaningful resources?
- Will the database be responsive?
- Will the user complete onboarding without any hiccups?
- Will the user need guidance throughout the process?
- Is the updated language and tone appropriate?
- Working with people from different backgrounds was interesting because everyone had their own perspective to things but we as a team had to work together and respect everyone's contributions.
- At some point, my role naturally evolved into product owner and it seemed like the team looked to me for direction. This was a good as well as a scary and stressful position to be in. Good because I liked the responsibility of leading the product vision but at the same time, there was always that fear of failure. However, I'm happy that everything worked out well and our clients were very happy with us.
- In addition to the design related learnings, I learnt a lot of soft-skills in how to tackle disagreements within a team. Disagreements are bound to happen, especially when it is a group of driven and passionate people. Strengthening the team dynamic so that you are able to face the issues in a constructive manner is key.