On this semester-long design consulting project, I worked on a design consulting team with 3 other students designers and a project manager. My role as the synthesis & ideation sprint leader was to consolidate insights gathered from user interviews to generate new feature ideas for our client, NURX, a telemedicine startup. I also led client meetings to communicate ideation direction to ensure that our design decisions aligned with the company’s current business goals.
The pandemic has forced many in-person tasks to shift to virtual, including visits to the doctors office. As wellness has become a priority for many, the need for a more streamlined, contactless method for people to access it has also increased.
To address this issue, NURX—a telemedicine platform—aims to make healthcare more accessible and personalized. Mainly targeting the younger female demographic, NURX offers personal medical services and products such as birth control, STI testing, and acne treatment in effort to address the taboo around hormone medication and contraceptions.
Specifically for this project, NURX wants us to focus on their birth control treatment as their most robust popular service that serves as a springboard for launching other hormone medication for women.
Since using and receiving birth control is still highly stigmatized, many young women who are prescribed or currently seeking birth control encounter difficulties in discovering the right prescriptions for their bodies.
While NURX has its own app, many new users visit their platform on the mobile web, given that most of their traffic comes from Google Search or ads on popular social media apps like Snapchat.
For this project, my team and I aim to uncover ways to achieve NURX’s goal: increasing their checkout rate and streamline the process of discovering their services to ultimately purchasing their products on their mobile web platform.
We identified the core values of NURX's platform:
Our client NURX mentioned that they do not have a clear idea of what the public perception of NURX is. Given that Reddit is popular platform for anyone to express public opinions and product reviews, I decided to conduct an audit of Reddit communities.
Additional insights were uncovered from our Reddit audit:
Our client previously was focused on user retention and did not have a good grasp of the barriers to entry/why new users would not want to use NURX.
I conducted 5 out of 17 total user interviews on non-NURX users to gauge what users value when seeking birth control services, their attitudes on telemedicine, and any barriers to entry. Our interviewees were a mix of female birth control users and non-birth control users from different states around the US ranging from age 18 to 25.
One key challenge we faced in the project was narrowing down our scope and refining the plethora of information we gathered into key concepts. As the leader of research synthesis, I reconnected the team to communicate and consolidate our findings across user interviews and affinity-mapped them into key themes and categories.
From data and information collected from our user research, we uncovered the following insight themes:
1. Trust & Transparency: A few major contributive factor to trust in healthcare/health service providers for young women is clarity in information (where the information is from, where the data will go) and knowing the human behind the platform. Because telemedicine operates in the absence of a physical visit to a doctor, young women have a strong desire to know that there are still reputable practitioners and doctors behind the NURX platform.
2. Stigma: Young women are aware of the stigma around contraceptive and birth control usage, and it acts as a barrier for young women considering birth control to seek out options and prevents current users from wanting to openly talk about it. As a result, this stigma leads to the general lack of understanding about birth control, especially those from conservative upbringing.
3. Education: Stigma, upbringing, culture, and lack of awareness cause young women to not fully understand various birth control brands, their usages, and side effects. This incites fear in non-users who would consider birth control options as they are not confident in finding the right brands for their personal needs.
4. Poor Flow: Participants appreciated how the platform's design seemed to be geared toward a younger demographic given in pops in color, but found the general flow of discovering what service they want to screen confusing. This is a huge issue especially for users who lack the understanding of birth controls and want to easily navigate how NURX works and what services are best for them.
5. Mental Health: Birth control users who have mental health conditions found that certain birth control brands have worsened their mental health, which leads to a strong need to also have doctors take emotional needs into account when choosing the best birth control option.
6. Personalization: As many young women believe that health is a personal/"touchy" subject, they want to ensure that whatever medical recommendations made to them are specific to their health profile.
Our user research indicates that overall, there is a fear and lack of confidence around using birth control telemedicine platforms, which is the biggest barrier for new users to want to consider NURX as an option, let alone continue to checkout. Since telehealth generally lacks the "human" aspect that in-person doctor visits have, it's important to ensure that patients still feel emotionally supported throughout the process.
Because NURX previously was focused on providing breadth and depth in product options but failed to recognize this psychological need, I steered the team in crafting a more specific problem statement:
As one of the main challenges we faced was narrowing down the scope of our project and synthesizing our plethora of insights into key themes. As the sprint leader of ideation and synthesis, I proposed the creation of a few key personas in order to better tie in key motivations and pain points of our user, and clearly define who our user is and what their journey of using NURX looks like. Then, it will be more clear on where our solution can come into play. Because we found our insights and attitudes commonly overlapped across our interviewees, these 3 user personas would encompass the key pain points, frustrations, and motivations of potential users.
From our user research and interviews, we realized that there is a difference in attitudes and pain points in obtaining birth control depending on the user's background, prior experience, and exposure. In order to better understand how to get new users to want to use NURX, building user personas through categorizing these differences could help the team see which user segment should be our main focus, and how can we improve their experience with using NURX.
From these 3 personas, I specifically focused on the novice persona, who I named Layla, given that her needs and motivations were most representative of new users and those who have limited knowledge of birth control and obtaining health care. NURX can take on the opportunity of appealing to young women like Layla as they are incoming users, who have the highest potential to build a long-lasting relationship with the platform through familiarity and usage. Additionally, the confusion, lack of transparency, and fear in obtaining birth control that Layla has also touched on some of the key pain points of the other personas.
In order to better understand when Layla would use NURX and how she uses it, I created a journey map detailing her process from exploring options to obtaining her prescriptions. This is critical to picture where in Layla's journey poses the biggest opportunities for NURX to aid in areas such as transparency and education.
Within this journey, we've identified that key areas to capitalize on for our ideas are:
1. Providing guidance and outlining clear steps/process during the landing and exploration phase right from the get go
2. Establishing credibility and building trust through presenting information on the doctors
2. Including context and information on key terms that are unfamiliar
As the sprint leader of the synthesis and ideation phase, I led the team to sketch and ideate solutions that best align with our themes that were identified earlier. Based on the key pain points and concerns we have identified that users like Layla have, we explored three key solution areas targeting guidance, trust, transparency, and education.
As these explorations align with the user research insights, key themes, and client goals/interest, we proceeded to move forward with low and mid-fidelity prototypes in order to visualize the screens and overall user flow.
We built preliminary low-fidelity mockups for a few of the key features we decided to explore:
Additionally, given that users who tested out NURX original mobile web platform felt confused along the process, we mapped out a more cohesive user flow along with our new ideas embedded.
From our initial flow, our client informed us that certain individuals who are in states where NURX is not currently offered would be ineligible, so we included it after the types of services. The reason why we did not include it in the very beginning is to allow the user, regardless of location, to still gain brand awareness and have a general understanding of what NURX's services offer, in case that information becomes relevant down the line (word of mouth, relocation, etc.).
In addition, we also expanded our screener to account for any symptoms or level of knowledge a user has on birth control so their matched doctor can best provide the necessary information to keep them informed and confident.
In our mid-fidelity prototype, we decided to categorize symptoms into tags in order to reduce cognitive overload on the user. Because we understand some users may want to expand on their symptoms or may have unique symptoms, we included a text box for the user to manually enter any additional information.
After concluding our low- and mid-fidelity design processes, we had 3 iterations of our high-fidelity designs. On our first iteration, we used feedback from our client and others to prepare our second iteration. This second iteration was used for usability testing. Finally, the testing results and feedback allowed us to create our final prototype.
We were able to conduct 3 formal usability tests with our interviewees from our previous research phase. We asked them to walk through our prototype while voicing their thoughts and questions out loud.
The following were key pieces of feedback we received:
Following Layla’s persona as a hypothetical user, we walked through the user flow of our final iteration.
Layla discovers NURX on social media and lands on the Home Screen. Excited to see what NURX has to offer, she clicks “LET’S GET STARTED”, taking her to a simple screen where she can easily see all the services offered by NURX.
Unsure of what birth control she needs, she quickly selects “Help me find what’s right”. While initially, she was a bit anxious about how would be expected to already know, she feels at ease seeing that it’s ok not to know and that she’ll be guided.
From the get-go, Layla is shown a step-by-step explanation of what will happen next, and what she should prepare. Knowing exactly where the process is going, she feels more confident and reassured.
Now that she knows exactly who will be reviewing her medical history, she feels at ease knowing she could trust the app.
Layla is presented with the initial screening stage. She is asked about her current birth control knowledge.
She selects the okay option and writes down more details about what she knows about birth control. Layla likes how she could share what she knows with her prospective provider.
Layla is next taken to a screen where she can tag any emotional or physical symptoms she has felt in the past 3 months.
She selects a few emotional and physical symptoms from the screens. Layla enjoys that she can provide additional context and details that can help keep her provider informed of her emotional and physical health.
Layla is asked to indicate the severity of each of her symptoms that she has selected on her previous screens.
This different user interaction also keeps Layla engaged, as it deviated from the usual tapping back and forth. Layla feels more content knowing that not only will her doctor know of what symptoms she has, but can also adjust to the severity of the symptoms, thus creating a more tailored experience & treatment for her.
Layla then begins filling out the questionnaire about her medical history. She initially felt unprepared to answer these, given her parents usually fill out her medical information for her.
However, with the helpful definitions for less clear medical terms, she feels reassured and informed.
Layla is then asked about any conditions she may have and indicates that she experiences migraines.
Unsure about why she’s being asked this, she consults the handy tooltip button, which explains and justifies the question to give her peace of mind.
Ready for Checkout
Layla has completed the questionnaire and is ready to become a NURX user.
She is then taken to a checkout transition screen, where she is told exactly what she needs before starting the checkout process.
As mentioned in the beginning of the project, NURX aims to achieve 3 key goals with their platform. With our solution based on the insights we've gathered, we have addressed the following key values:
1. Choice: for users to make informed positive decisions about their own bodies.
Transparency about birth control usage and sides effects provides users with the information and agency to make calculated decisions on the types of birth control and care they desire.
2. Control: users can plan ahead and look after themselves without complication.
Building trust among users in what they are signing up for and who they will be interacting with provides users with the knowledge needed to discover the best birth control options for their individual health needs.
3. Freedom: access to medication should be open and easy, regardless of an individual's background.
Guidance provides users with the education and support needed to find the right, personalized service for them, regardless of the individuals' prior knowledge and background in birth control.
One of the key challenges of working on a startup consulting project is the the breadth in scope of the problem. In the beginning of the project, the general goal was to find a way to streamline the checkout process. However, after conducting user research, we uncovered underlying problems regarding fear, lack of confidence, lack of trust, and lack of education with obtaining birth control. Given the fast-paced nature of the work environment, we had to quickly make decisions as to what we had to focus and narrow down on, which we ultimately decided on the themes of guidance, trust, transparency, and education as it was strongly supported by the insights that permeated throughout our user research.
Another fascinating process was understanding the problem from the user’s perspective. Although I am not a birth control user myself, as a young woman, I had a better understanding of key frustrations around stigma, lack of education and support, and other key factors that prevent women from accessing birth control.
While our project was done completely virtually, it was extremely exciting and rewarding getting to work on a project that was especially relevant in our current virtual world and accessing health care, knowing that my contributions can help young women have more control over their bodies.
Ultimately, our solution was not only able to point NURX toward the emotional need of their target audience that they have initially missed, but also provided them with a redesign that will inform future iterations of their mobile web page.