As the modern digital healthcare universe is becoming more reliant on emerging technologies, the need for app developers to start creating more user-centric experiences is paramount.
Did you ever envision being able to go to a doctor’s appointment without leaving the comfort of your home? Or have your watch track your heart rate, measure your oxygen levels, and monitor your blood sugar and then send that information to your physician for analysis? Chances are you didn’t. A couple of decades ago, going to the doctor or tracking your health was tantamount to physically going to medical appointments, getting prodded and examined, and then waiting weeks for test results. In most cases, healthcare services were very impersonal, sometimes unpleasant, and overall, they were something most of us tried to avoid whenever possible. Thankfully, with modern mobile technological advancements, we now have a plethora of mobile healthcare apps and medical software solutions that grant us access to high-quality remote medical services…and without stepping one foot in a hospital!
So, as the convergence of modern and emerging technologies with the healthcare industry opens up new avenues for more efficient medical care, better patient care, safer access to health information, and interoperability, it becomes crucial for app developers to understand that the success of mobile healthcare apps hinges on their ability to provide valuable and seamless user experiences. So, as an experienced mobile healthcare app development company, we want to delve into the significance of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design in healthcare app development and tell you all about how to successfully implement them to deliver robust applications that add value to patients’ lives and enhance their overall healthcare journey. Let’s see, but first…
Why is UX/UI design so important in mobile healthcare apps?
Fact: a good UX/UI design in mobile healthcare apps has the power to save lives. Yes, it sounds dramatic, but the reality is that a user-centered UX/UI design not only simplifies the already complicated realm of digital healthcare but makes online interactions between doctors and patients more straightforward and simple. At any rate, digital healthcare initiatives are now more in vogue than ever, one of the silver linings of the pandemic. Henceforth, healthcare app development is at the beginning of its golden age, and the most sustainable and innovative healthcare mobile apps will be the ones that provide solutions to the industry’s problems and needs, and no other sector has a user base so delicate and in need of special attention and care such as the medical sector. People with physical challenges, older people, the injured, those who reside in isolated areas with a lack of medical coverage, in particular, or everyday users in general, all need digital medical attention to be as seamless, efficient, and straightforward as possible. Or imagine being sick or in pain and having to deal with a mobile healthcare app with a complicated navigational flow, medical terms you don’t understand, and unusable features. That’s not a good experience to have for anyone, doctor or patient, sick or not. Hence, the importance of developing mobile healthcare apps that makes users’ lives easier, not more complex, and facilitate the seamless delivery of online medical care.
Most modern app developers have already leveraged the benefits of the current advancements in healthcare technology, some of which have allowed all participants to accomplish better health outcomes. However, with the digitization of healthcare services also came a growing need for developers to strive harder to understand what healthcare app users experience while interacting with digital medical products and services. As a result, an increasing number of developers are starting to understand how crucial UX/UI design is in mobile healthcare apps and how creating a user-friendly interface and intuitive design can make it significantly easier for users to perform otherwise complicated tasks such as managing their medical records, tracking medications, and engaging with their healthcare providers online via telemedicine services.
So, here’s our take on which are the best practices for an excellent user-centered UX/UI design in mobile healthcare app development.
Research, research, research
As we mentioned above, mobile healthcare app users are very particular, and you need to understand them and know exactly what needs your product must meet and how it will impact your users’ health and well-being. Doing so requires a lot of planning and preparation from you and your team. It highlights the need for you to conduct meticulous user and market research to gather valuable insights regarding your users’ expectations and special needs. Who are your users? What do they want? How will you give it to them? Which special needs or illnesses do they have? What features will your mobile healthcare app need to meet those needs? How will you ensure the security and confidentiality of your users’ data? Will you build an MVP? Asking these, and other questions, is pivotal to helping you perform the initial scoping and planning of your project.
The data you gather at this stage will also allow you to identify your user personas or the representations of your target audience, including patients, healthcare professionals, insurance companies, pharma, and other caregivers, so you can better understand your users’ needs, goals, and pain points, which is priceless to help you tailor your app’s UX/UI design and features accordingly. Moreover, your research phase will allow you to identify essential user journeys within your mobile healthcare app, such as telemedicine options, appointment booking, or medication management, and understand how your users might interact with these features, which can help you create a seamless user experience.
Bring accessibility to the forefront
2.2 billion is the global estimate of people who live with some form of vision impairment. So what are the chances of at least a couple of those people using your mobile healthcare app? Very high, I would say. And even if not, chances are a big chunk of your users have some form of disability that grants special attention from your part as a healthcare app developer. Moreover, one of the things that make modern mobile healthcare app UX/UI design great is the fact that your product can be used by anyone, especially people who have physical or motor, visual, auditory, speech, cognitive, or any other type of disability. In other words, accessibility shouldn’t be a bonus or an extra perk of your mobile healthcare app; it should be a non-negotiable part of your product’s original requirements.
So, you must bring accessibility to the front of your mobile healthcare app development process. For that, we suggest you first adhere to WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). These guidelines highlight some standards that help you ensure your app’s content is highly accessible, especially for differently abled people, and help you provide key accessibility features such as adjustable font sizes, high color contrast, alternative text for images, and compatibility with screen readers. Second, to bring accessibility to the forefront, you need to simplify complex medical terms and concepts and provide clear instructions regarding navigational flows and functionality usage. For instance, you can use visual cues, specific color schemes, clear icons, and other consistent design patterns to aid your users in finding different parts of the app. These elements, however, must be implemented according to what you determine in your research phase.
Choose the right colors
When it comes to mobile app UX/UI design, we often make the mistake of prioritizing aesthetics and looks over functionality and accessibility. Yes, no one understands better than us the need for our products to look beautiful and have visually appealing components. However, those aesthetical elements, while also essential, can never make us lose sight of the importance of creating accessible, practical, and compliant mobile healthcare apps that actually enhance the user experience of digital medical products. And a pivotal part of that user experience is the color scheme.
For user-centered UX/UI design in mobile healthcare apps, your chosen color scheme is crucial for aesthetics, accessibility, and the effectiveness of conveying information. But before you start, know that there’s no magic formula or secret here. Colors have a significant impact on human emotions and can influence some behaviors because they have the power to evoke different emotions and feelings in your users. They can also help you with the following:
Build visual hierarchy: You can use different colors to organize information and create a visual hierarchy in your app, which can guide your users’ attention to essential elements and help them identify and interact with them easily. For instance, you can use one color to highlight relevant information, another for interactive components, and another for static content so your users can quickly see what matters to them, what they can click, and what they can interact with.
Create emotional impact: As we touched on before, colors can evoke emotions and convey different feelings and moods. For your mobile healthcare app, the color scheme should include calming tones such as blue, white, or green, which can create a sense of tranquility, peace, and serenity.
Support accessibility and readability: Colors play a crucial role in ensuring the accessibility and readability of your app. You can play with different levels of contrast and color combinations to help your users, including those with visual impairments or color blindness, read and navigate your app seamlessly.
So, as you can see, your color scheme of choice plays a vital role in ensuring accessibility and contributing to an overall positive user experience. By carefully selecting and implementing an appropriate color scheme in your mobile healthcare app, you can create intuitive, engaging, and user-friendly experiences for patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals alike.
Be thoughtful about typography
Just as you would with your color scheme, choosing the right font for your mobile healthcare app means striking a balance between accessibility, legibility, and aesthetics. You can’t simply go with a sophisticated font that looks classy. Still, the lion’s share of your users won’t be able to read quickly, which is fatal for your user experience because, in healthcare settings, legibility is critical for the correct and efficient delivery of medical services. So, since your users need to be able to read in-app information quickly and accurately, it’s essential you choose, arrange, and style your application’s fonts mindfully to ensure they enhance the readability of all content and convey information effectively while creating a visually appealing and engaging UI.
So, first off, avoid overly decorative or stylized fonts that, while they may look beautiful, can hinder readability and impact accessibility and UX. Also, make sure to steer clear of playful or too creative fonts that defeat the purpose of the sensitive nature of medical products. Instead, make sure you select a font that transmits trustworthiness and professionalism, such as the sans serif font family, which is not only clear and legible but remains easy to read in different sizes and on various devices. Also, make sure to use your font to support your color scheme in establishing a clear hierarchy within your app. For that, try using different font sizes, calibers, colors, and styles to assist your users in navigating the various menus, help them distinguish between categories, and aid them in understanding the information hierarchy within your application.
Aside from choosing the right font, you also need to promote a good UX and proper accessibility by ensuring there is enough contrast between the text and the background. You can easily accomplish that by using text with darker shades on light backgrounds or vice versa, thus avoiding low-contrast combinations, which can be uncomfortable and can strain your users’ eyes. Moreover, you must be vigilant in implementing appropriate font sizes and line spacing to promote comfortable, efficient reading, as excessively small or too big font sizes can make it difficult for your users to read in-app content. Doing so helps improve legibility, particularly for users with visual impairments, and can significantly contribute to the success of your mobile healthcare app.
Test and iterate
If you’ve read our previous blog articles on app development, you already know how crucial testing is to us. We can’t stress this enough: you should always test your mobile healthcare app on real users. What’s more, it’s crucial you incorporate testing and iteration not only as the last part of your development process, but as integral stages of the entire UX/UI design, coding, and building operations, from beginning to end. So, first of all, we suggest you start planning your testing strategies early to ensure you properly allocate your resources. Second, it’s pivotal that you choose a usability testing strategy that suits your needs. Be mindful that one key factor that makes mobile healthcare apps unique is that they typically have two key user groups: healthcare professionals and patients. So you must take into account each user group’s unique characteristics, behaviors, needs, limitations, and motivations when planning your app’s UX/UI design, creating your user personas, and selecting the members of your test groups.
Additionally, you can test iteratively, which allows you to make incremental improvements based on the feedback you receive from your testers and refine your mobile healthcare app’s functionality accordingly. You also need to ensure that you test your application on a wide variety of devices, platforms, and network conditions. Doing so will help you identify any device, medium, or network-specific issues, performance challenges, and drawbacks that can hinder your app’s user experience across all platforms. As a result, you can effectively identify your product’s flaws, understand how your target audience engages with your product, and gather valuable data to make informed decisions.
Undoubtedly, user-centered UX/UI design is essential in mobile healthcare app development. It plays a vital role in helping healthcare app developers place the needs, preferences, and motivations of healthcare professionals and patients at the forefront. It also helps us ensure that the needs and preferences of our users are always prioritized and met, which results in mobile healthcare apps that are not only highly usable and functional but also innovative and actually help in improving healthcare outcomes. And finally, by involving your users in the design and testing processes, healthcare app developers can build more functional, useful apps that truly meet all stakeholders’ needs.
If you have any questions regarding user-centered UX/UI design in mobile healthcare app development or want an experienced team like ours to work on your healthcare solution, get in touch! We’re more than happy to help!