Although the article discusses the creation of a health app specifically for online communication between doctors and patients and providing Indonesians with more simplified access to healthcare, Fadhel Adam draws on some important points and research that is useful for designing any health-related app.
Firstly, the author highlights a fundamental when combining technology with healthcare and that is that healthcare is personal and needs to focus on the user, and one effective way of doing this is through conversational UI. Conversational UI can take two forms, either through a voice assistant that allows users to talk, as we can see with Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Echo or through chatbots that allow users to type their needs. Conversational UI in a health app can increase interactivity and allows the users to get the comfort of humanised experiences.
In implementing a conversation UI into a health app, the article discusses important elements that need to be included for it to be beneficial, such as:
Compassion – regarding a mental health app, the user may be in a vulnerable mental state, and so the app needs to understand their needs and goals compassionately.
Education – educational tools that can provide knowledge to the user.
Reporting – so parents and doctors can contribute based on information provided in the reporting.
Social capabilities – providing recommendations and sharing information with the user.
Personality – any chatbot or assistant on the app needs to be engaging, humanised and expressive so that the user can interact.
Deep understanding of the user – the ability to learn the user’s habits and meeting their needs, for instance, having them as a backdrop of conversation.
It is also important to consider how the conversational UI will operate when users communicate with the app. For instance, will the UI be defined, with controlled and close-ended responses where users are limited to the options provided? Or will the UI be non-defined, with open-ending responses that allow the user to communicate more freely and naturally? The article makes a great point in suggesting the cooperation between the two, so users can give faster responses on some topics and divulge later when wanting to express their feelings.
This article also discusses some further points on making a health app more beneficial. For instance, customisation, such as an avatar that can be customised on user preferences, as this can make the experience more personalised and engaging. Fadhel Adam also highlights the importance of supporting features to a healthcare app, so as to encourage a broader and healthier lifestyle for users. This includes features such as a ‘wellness buddy’ or a fitness or sleep tracker.
Additionally, we must consider the design of the app. For example, what should the conversational UI look like, and how to make it as natural and humanised as possible for the user, such as possibly designing it to look like a text conversation with a friend. It’s also important to consider colour theory and what colour suits best to the target user. For example, if I’m doing a wellness app for children – I have to into account what colours feel the most friendly perhaps green, or blue – additionally, looking at it further what time of day are they accessing the app – all things must be considered.
Evaluating and exploring this case study has expanded my knowledge of creating user-friendly designs and experiences. This is extremely important to me as I am looking to create a mental wellness app for kids every element needs to be justified.