Any app's long-term success largely depends on having an active user base. As a result, developers must map out comprehensive user journeys so they have a proper understanding of their users' motivations and expectations.
Modern healthcare apps offer ever-growing opportunities for stakeholders to tackle the issues and challenges that the healthcare sector is currently facing, thanks to the covid pandemic. However, for these apps to adequately deliver the entire scope of their benefits, it’s essential that developers design robust solutions that adhere to their market’s needs, expectations, and motivations. Additionally, healthcare developers are building more and more mobile products to decompress healthcare systems worldwide. Consequently, the need for these products to be better, faster, and more specific increases. Said demand puts the burden on developers to ship healthcare apps that align insights and build empathic relationships between stakeholders. This is possible thanks to user journeys, a development tool that helps healthcare apps to better target their users.
As a result, patients can access services more easily, potentialize the availability of lab results, EHR, and other medical data, and finally, place the medical realm within reach of all stakeholders anywhere and anytime. Understanding, creating, and delivering the mobile products that fully fulfill these needs and tackle all challenges is, in part, possible thanks to user journeys and their mapping.
This time around, we want to touch on the importance of mapping user journeys for an app that handles lab test results. These apps are becoming extremely popular and relevant during the pandemic, especially when we consider that, as of May 2021, the US performs 2,274 COVID tests per million people. Having access to online test results means that those 2,274 people don’t have to gather in clinics and labs, risking contagion. Still, for these apps to properly deliver said benefits, you must map their user journeys to avoid mistakes and completely miss your app’s end goal.s
What Are User Journey Maps and Why Are They Important?
Say, for instance, you built an excellent lab test app with a lot of cool features, cutting-edge technology, and mind-blowing graphics. Chances are, your users aren’t going to care about any of those fancy elements—they likely only want to read their test results or make appointments, at most. Whichever the case, you have a small time frame to prove to your users that your app can solve their problems before they lose interest. User journey maps are your avenue towards accomplishing this.
A user journey map is a visual layout of a user’s path to achieve a given goal or solve a problem by using your app. Since understanding a user’s journey isn’t enough, mapping it into a diagram usually gives you more visibility and insight into their minds during the development process. Mapping this journey helps you build your user stories and also allows you to envision the entire customer experience, from their feelings and questions to their needs and pain points, while interacting with your app.
Moreover, mapping user journeys is an exceptional tool for your company to add direction to your development processes and focus on the user’s perspective, which can substantially potentialize your UX/UI design and optimization. This way, you can better pinpoint your app’s functionality requirements without overdoing it, saving valuable time, resources and avoiding low retention rates. After all, we now know that 33% of Americans switch companies after just one instance of poor service. So staying on top of your user’s experience within your app is pivotal.
User journeys are also crucial for contextualizing the information you gathered about your target market in your research phase. Mapping this information and translating it into user journey flows allows you and your staff to view the whole customer experience as a path that begins with having a problem and ends with having that problem solved. For this particular case, your users’ journey starts when they need a quick way to access their lab test results and ends when they receive them. Your user journeys will show you the precise moments where a user is likely to experience delight, as well as those moments where they might face friction. Singling out these touchpoints ahead of time allows your company to plan accordingly, strategize, and intervene when necessary to maximize your app’s value.
Additionally, and as a direct result of the mapping process, you and everyone involved in your app’s development process will empathize better with its users. This bond between you and users can help your company have more proactive customer service, making your app seem more reliable and professional. For example, suppose it’s flu season. In that case, you’re likely anticipating a surge of test requests, so you can send personalized messages to your customers, letting them know about any potential delays and maybe apologize or offer some additional benefit for their troubles. This way, you will better hone in on a customer’s journey, feelings, problems, experiences, and motivations, tackling issues before they result in high churn for your app.
Looking at a user’s experience through the lens of a journey map is a fail-safe way of aligning your vision with that of your customers’, helping you achieve a transcendental relationship with them that will undoubtedly result in a wholesome, bulletproof apps
How to Create a User Journey Map for Your Lab Tests App
Before getting started, it’s important to note that there is not one single universal rule for mapping user journeys. At Foonkie, we use various ways of visually representing these journeys, from infographics and post-it notes to computer graphics and Excel spreadsheets. The method you choose entirely depends on your company and your team’s needs. However, the most crucial thing is that, whichever method you select, the map makes sense to everyone using it.
Another vital consideration to keep in mind is that user journeys are rarely straightforward; chances are, your map will not be a linear journey from A to B. More often than not, users behave in a back and forth, multi-layered and cyclical manner, so plan accordingly. Luckily though, if you’ve done your qualitative and quantitative user research before mapping, you won’t have a problem understanding your users’ pain points, issues, and behaviors.
1. Set clear objectives
Before you dive into mapping, you must lay the groundwork by establishing the goals and purpose of your app. It would help if you asked yourself some of these questions:
- Why are you making a lab test app?
- What is the final goal of your user journey map?
- Who is your app specifically aimed at?
- What problems is your app trying to solve?
After you answer your specific set of questions and have established your goals, you’re ready to start building your user personas.
2. Define Your User Personas
Your user personas are made-up characters that act as representations of your actual target users. These characters are actors based on your user research and should be tied to real, tangible behaviors and patterns. They often include information such as name, age, birthplace, occupation, likes, dislikes, devices they use, medical problems, other lab test apps they have downloaded, and what problems they want to be solved, to name a few. Ideally, you should develop several user personas (but no more than four) and do a user journey map for each one of them.
Name: Julius Colton
Profession: Accountant for a Multinational Company
Background: Julius is the father of two, a six-month-old girl and a four-year-old boy. Julius is head of the accounting department at a multinational company. He is a sailing enthusiast and spends the little free time he has sailing and fishing. Julius has diabetes, and even though he tries to take care of his health, he loves to eat chocolate and drinks too much soda. Currently, his major problem is keeping his diabetes in check due to his hectic life. He works most weekends and tries to spend time at home or sailing when he can. He has trouble taking time off work to go to the doctor and has several blood tests each month. He’s looking for a mobile solution to download his test results and share them with his doctor without having to go to several in-person appointments each month.
3. Research what their motivations and goals are.
Great user journeys and their mapping is based on research, so make sure to gather feedback from user testing or target market surveys and analyze that data thoroughly. Once you’ve established your user personas, dig deep and use your research to truly understand what each of them wants to accomplish as they go through your app’s flows. During this step, it’s crucial that you nail down your users’ motivations and pain points, why they’re using your app, and what outcome will be successful for them.
A great way to single out these behaviors is to identify a user’s paths through your app. For instance, If your user is a pre-existing customer, the first thing they might do is log in. On the contrary, a first time user takes a different path because they would have to create an account and sync their information. Other activities include uploading medical data, browsing, downloading test results, contacting a doctor, and more, so make sure you list all these activities to identify your users’ goals associated with each touchpoint.
4. Map the Touchpoints
Touchpoints are places on your app–or outside of it–where your users come in contact with your brand. Based on your research, you should be able to list all the touchpoints your users are using, as well as the ones they aren’t but should. This step is vital when mapping user journeys because it gives you visibility of your users’ actions. For instance, it can provide you with insight into how many touchpoints they’re using, which will tell you how your app is working for them. If they are using fewer touchpoints than expected, it may mean they’re leaving your app too early.
On the contrary, if they’re using more than expected, it may mean your app is too complicated, and it takes them several steps to reach their end goal. It would help if you also looked at the external touchpoints, such as social media, ads, search engines, email marketing, third-party sites, mentions, or recommendations.
Once you’ve narrowed down your app’s touchpoints, you must associate them with your user personas and add the emotions they go through at every interaction. Remember, every action your user takes is motivated by emotion, and that emotion changes depending on where they are on their journey. Knowing what these emotions are can help you to deliver the right content at the right time to ensure a smooth flow within your app.
5. Identify pain points
Now it’s time to bring together all the data you’ve gathered (both quantitative and qualitative) and organize it so you can look at the big picture. This step is crucial because it’s the pathway to identifying roadblocks and pain points that can disrupt your users’ journeys. If you don’t recognize and address these pain points, you risk losing users at different stages of their journey through your app.
To make this process easier, you can ask yourself–or your test subjects–these questions:
- Are my customers solving their problems using my app?
- Where are the main areas of frustration?
- Why are people uninstalling my app?
- Where or when are people abandoning my app?
- Are my users taking too long to reach their end goal?
Once you’ve answered these questions and know where users are experiencing frustration, you can pinpoint your app’s pain points and mark them on your user journey map. For instance, a user who is not tech-savvy may have issues when uploading test results to the app and sharing them with their physician. They might also feel insecure about sharing personal data, or they may feel frustrated with long loading times, delays when receiving results, and even making appointments. In the example exposed above, our user persona Julius Colton, a pain point for him would be the lack of time to personally go to the lab and pick up his test results. Or maybe he has a hard time going to the doctor or making an appointment.
Remember, healthcare app users are susceptible to churn due to the nature of the information and circumstances under which these apps are used, so you need to be extremely thorough when identifying and addressing these pain points.
6. Create a Visualization
After you’ve identified every aspect of your user journey narrative, it’s time to map it. Usually, you want to place a usual sales funnel as the spine of your map. This means you start from awareness (or search), followed by research and ending in conversion with an additional step of post-conversion engagement, which helps with retention rates. Afterward, you should start differentiating the different stages of your map so you can identify what needs to happen at each stage. For your lab test app, these stages can look something like this:
- Search for lab test apps.
- Watch an ad for your lab tests app (or other touchpoints that directs them towards your app).
- Download your app.
- Create an account (link medical data, insurance, personal data, previous lab results, and other necessary information to create the account).
- Schedule the first appointment at the lab.
- Receive the test results through the app.
- Rate the app.
Each of these stages has an emotion, action, motivation, and pain point. Ensure to place them correctly according to the data from your research, user personas, test groups, and surveys. However, keep in mind that this information can translate into nonlinear journeys, which is expected and normal. Users rarely exhibit predictive behaviors. Some users may jump from awareness straight to conversion, others may spend too much time bouncing back and forth between awareness and research before converting, and others may never convert.
7. Update and Keep Improving
Now that you’ve built your customer journey map, you’re ready to step into the next stage of your development process. However, this doesn’t mean your map should be archived and left for dead. App user behaviors are constantly changing and evolving, as seen in this study where healthcare apps have a post-install retention rate of 20,2% on the first day but withers down to only 4% by day 30. These numbers mean that healthcare app developers aren’t reading their users correctly and are losing them too fast. So, make sure your user journey map evolves as your users do.
Ensure you keep your testing and maintenance strategies flawless while you update and improve your customer journey map using actual feedback from your users. Update your app as you gather new information and insights about pain points, new feelings, and motivations. Also, consider technological advancements, public health policies, outbreaks, and many more factors that can directly impact your users’ health and, consequently, how they interact with your app.
Healthcare app proliferation came with its challenges for development teams. We had to become increasingly skillful at understanding and even predicting user behaviors to deliver robust, long-lasting solutions. Luckily, mapping tools are now widespread, and they have become a relevant approach for building cohesion between development teams and our users. Now, thanks to user journeys and their mapping, development companies can understand their users better than ever and can get valuable insight into a patient’s experience within a specific digital environment.
Moreover, we can now empathize with patients through actual data, witness their emotions, motivations, and act towards meeting as many needs and solving as many problems as possible, all with a piece of mobile technology. We can now close gaps within mobile healthcare systems and improve our users’ experiences by making gradual but pivotal modifications to help them access everything they need and, hopefully, push the medical world towards a mobile-centered life.