As I looked at the design principles I highlighted as important, I decided to critique what IBDPromise looks like right now using the checklist I laid out about a month ago. I slowly stopped going back to this checklist and now I have uncovered some real questions about potential design flaws. They will not make or break what I created and it is good to question what exits. This is the apps first "usability test" and I will try to make improvements if I think they can happen quick enough or else I will leave recommendations. I will also highlight the apps successes, producing an Internal Review of IBDPromise.
The issues: I do not think it is clear that these graphs are "clickable." A veteran user will find this screen easy to navigate, but it is not clear that the graphs double as a route to update different statuses. This may just be due to my lacking ability to design properly on Powerpoint, but this is definitely a challenge that needs to be improved upon. This challenge only becomes more difficult with the top "How I Feel" section in which both graphs lead to separate functions of the app. I made a mock-up that splits the large rectangle background into two squares, but still, guidance is lacking. If this flaw of the home screen can be fixed, then I think we have produced a very strong product.
Next, the app is designed around the idea of giving a user the bigger picture. Every time they visit the home screen the patient will see how their inputs have been recorded and where they stand with QOL, Interventions and Resource Utilization. We can go further with this, like changing the color of the different home screen rectangular "slots" depending on the users current status, but first we should see if what we have already gets the job done.
Finally, I think the app is well organized and dynamic. Each section is separate and there are no screens that were thrown into one section because it was unclear where it should go. The only exception to this is the "Notes" option that is present in the "My Docs" section. I can make an argument about why it fits here, but the truth is that this does not directly fit into this category and I am more relying on user-experience to remember this feature, locate it and use it. Maybe if we re-named the section My Care Resources we would help solve this identity crisis. Complimenting the design, I want to highlight how I have made the Interventions part of the app dynamic with the my care team section of the app. Enabling users to go straight from reviewing "incomplete interventions" to either call their doctor, add a note or schedule an appointment is an example of thinking what the patient needs and giving it to them. I really hope that this small gesture and simplifying design feature will make users more proactive about adressing interventions that need to be completed.
I also worked on making the information part of the apps dynamic. When inputting resource utilizations out the initial history inputs, options only appear as they become applicable. For example, first you input you have visited the hospital 3 times in the past two months and then three options of inputs appear. I really appreciated this type of design in the other GI apps I looked at and therefore wanted to replicate it.
Now the shortcoming and this is a real shortcoming! I really enjoyed the ability to add notes to inputs on the other IBD apps. The point of retrieving information is to record the status of the user and sometimes the pre-determined scales we set up are not enough to do so. For example, yesterday when I was at clinic hours with Dr. Atreja, he had to help patients when asking SIBDQ questions. Had he not, patients would have said "I'm doing well just not really well" when a little prodding got them to decide on "below average and poor." The notes section allows us to get the real information. It helps the user feel comfortable inputting information because they understand that what they are giving is more than a number. They have the opportunity to explain that number. I believe that with the ability to add a note to each input (for official QOL questions as well as the personal metrics they decide to record) will make patients more willing and more likely to use this app. As of now we have not offered this feature and no matter how trivial it may seem, we need to decide if this is a handicap that will sabotage the apps success.
It's a great screen! It must be a great screen after all the different version I went through to get here. Why is it great? Well, it portrays information in an easy to understand fashion using both logos and color coding. It seamlessly leads to the next screen so you can "zoom" in on any particular intervention. It follows heuristics so that anyone familiar with popular apps can look at this screen and immediately understand how to utilize it. And yet, time for another improvement.
Something is missing. This screen shows what you have done :) and what you are overdue on ): but what about the actual To-Do list. What about the those procedures or tasks that are planned, are important, just haven't come around yet? What about the yellow? (that says the yellow for those of you who can't see it...)
If we are including this category of interventions in the Un-met category than this sarcastic rant is un-called for but I am wondering which would be preferred. Should there be a third section of either "scheduled interventions" or "upcoming interventions" to separate interventions that you could/should have accomplished and those that you are planning but have not been able to accomplish yet? Doing so would allow patients to "get out of the red" it would add a gaming component because there is now a goal you can overcome and win.
This is just an idea. We could make the met and unmet interventions expandable-collabsible so the screen does not get cluttered. This can be another question to bring forward to the focus group.
So overall, I give my seal of approval. I think the apps worst shortcomings are in actual design and I am sure a more experienced designer will be able to improve on this front. The features that are offered and the way we have organized them are a strength and will lead to a successful trial of the app. There are more sections we can consider adding: a my profile of users basic information is not included, we thought about tracking weight more than just question #7 in the SIBDQ and all the critiques mentioned above. There is room for discussion and debate on how to make improvements but IBDPromise has become a reality.