Feature design and User testing - Mikata Health - 2019
Initially the company I was working for only did SMS text messages and simple communication between clinics and patients. With technology moving forward, one of the major elements I was tasked with as a UX designer and researcher summer intern was to help the company design and create a new feature that allowed a chat bot to interact with the patient to get the clinic more information, which we ended up calling Mika.
Do to this, I helped research what works and what does not work for current chats in different fields of work; created the chat’s conversational tone; designed the initial chat display and interactive elements; prototyped and user tested the chat on doctors and patients; designed the flow and layout of the conversation and more!
This was a very rewarding initial project, as much of what we have now in the company was built off this foundation
Brainstorming
Design and layoutLook at inspiration done by other companies in other fields.I looked at: 

       ● Stores
       ● Restaurants
       ● Airlines
       ● Car rentals
       ● And more.
In looking at these precedence, I looked at the good, the bad and the ugly from these sites and captured inspiration from all the good, and tried not including the bad. 
I looked at how the questions were asked, how the user could reply, and how they could navigate in and out of the box without interfering with their activity.
Created different use cases to see the edge cases of possible different flows. Some of these flows included:

       ● What will happen if the user leaves the chat and comes back?
       ● What should happen if they want to edit their last reply?
       ● How will we handle an error in a response?
       ● What might those errors be?
       ● What happens when a user skips a question?
       ● What questions should/can we make skippable?  
Wireframes
Once I had a solid idea of where we wanted the app to go in regards of the design and layout, I wanted to play around with different interface designs. I started with designing simple wireframe sketches with post-its, whiteboards and plain sheets of paper to see what would look, and feel, the most natural moving through.
  ● Experimented with where all the different action buttons can go.

  ● Played around with the look of different types of questions and their replies:
       ● Multi-select
       ● Single select
       ● Date inputs
       ● Text input, Etc.
​​I also worked and experimented on different layouts based on what was brainstormed and initially thought of as ideas.
Tone and Flow
Before looking at the actual script of the chat, the tone and the flow came next! Once the designs themselves were passed over to the developers to create things on the back end, it was now how we wanted to present the chat was something I needed to understand.  

       ● Decided if it was going to be more Q&A or more friendly conversation.
       ● Figured out where should the break points go so it feels more natural.
       ● How long should each of the messages be?
       ● If someone leaves, what will happen, how does the conversation  start back up again?
       ● Start where they finished? Start at the beginning of a section?
In the end, the chat was created to be super conversational and very natural, as if the user was actually chatting with someone on the other side of the screen.
 
High fidelity Prototyping
Once the development team completed creating the working chat, we wanted to make sure the users were using it as intended through some user testing. We tested this prototype with: 
       ● Doctors
       ● Family and Friends
       ● Nurses and clinicians
We asked them to complete the chat as they were a patient and try complete it as if you had an appointment with the clinic.

While user testing, we looked at: 

       ● The speed of message ‘replies’ (Some people felt it was too fast of the reply)   
       ● Did it feel as if a person was typing when the chat is replying to a response?  
       ● Length of messages (Did they feel that a message sent was too long?) 
       ● Some users said we split up the responses too much and it almost felt ‘choppy’.
       ● Types of responses Did they feel the question matched the type of reply?
       ● Should the single select be a multi-select or even a freeform text?

After the user testing, we took their feedback and the adjustments were made. The message response rate was a second or so slower and it made all the difference; the chat messages were longer, allowing for a more natural feel; and a couple response types were changed for another to get better responses from the users.

Currently, the chat has evolved into many different renditions. We have used this as a stepping stone for pre-visit instructions; Covid-19 screening chats; and even appointment request chats!
Main Takeaway
This was one of my first bigger projects in the “real” world and because of this, it came with a lot of different takeaways. One of the most interesting parts of this project was working so close with the development team to know what we can and cannot do, and my limitations for design due to lack of functionality developed. I also learned about sending designs to them and making sure that all the designs are created identically to what we would like to see in the final project. Even if they are a couple pixels off, adjustments need to be made after the fact. This was a new experience for me, and luckily I learned quickly and the dev team didn’t hate me too much! ​​​​​​​

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