Product design

How to Design a Healthcare App that Makes Its Users Happier?

August 31, 2022
Credit to Anna Yashina

In the modern-day world, most people address their doubts using their smartphones, and the healthcare sector is no exception. This makes mobile apps for healthcare appealing to entrepreneurs and investors. And given the level of competition investors have to encounter, it pays to focus on every detail of the mobile development process, starting from market research to design and maintenance.

Let's first discuss the benefits of healthcare apps before delving into the subject of discussion.

So what is a healthcare app? Well, healthcare apps are mobile applications that aid in achieving health-related chores. They come in different versions, ranging from simple lifestyle solutions like medication and fitness apps to advanced products that heavily depend on technological progress. This includes apps that help medical experts to identify and address complex medical problems.

Benefits of healthcare apps for patients include:

  • Easier appointment process.
  • The ability to create a personal account using an electronic medical list.
  • Different service functions, including reminders to swallow drugs or a calorie counter.
  • Online talks with doctors.
  • Maintaining a well-being diary.
  • Updated information on vaccines.

Benefits of healthcare apps for business include:

  • High customer loyalty.
  • Increased engagement.
  • Save staff time.
  • Attracts new customers.

Here is how to design mobile apps for healthcare;

Research

The initial step to a successful healthcare app is doing research to know your target audience and their requirements since not all products can satisfy everyone. The specifications and capabilities of users dictate how they associate with an application.

Therefore, all your steps should be anchored on the user's perspective. After gathering all the relevant information regarding the users' characteristics, goals, and objectives, you can come up with priorities and decide on the features and functions that matter most and what adjustments can be completed later. Such findings can help a healthcare mobile app firm establish a more accurate budget forecast.

Next, ask yourself the following questions;

  • What issues will the app address?
  • Who will use the healthcare app and why?
  • What trait distinguishes your target audience? ( gender, education, age)
  • Are there existing apps like yours?

Try concentrating on one issue at a time rather than creating a general-purpose product integrating all the possible functions.

Know who are your competitors

The next approach is to comprehend your competitors. I recommend compiling an up-to-date outline of all competing apps before delivering yours in stores. Assemble basic details; launch date, average rating, and updates. Sift through the user reviews since you will need them as a reference to the interests and preferences of your target audience. You will also want to highlight the imperfections of your rivals and address them in your app.

By examining your competitors, be sure to deliver something unique. Your app needs to feature a unique selling point.

Determine the mHealth technologies to use

The next step involves identifying the platforms and technologies you'll use. Again, this has to be based on your user's perspective. The platform you choose ( iOS or Android) relies on different factors: user-oriented and economic. For instance, aged patients are unlikely to use sophisticated technologies. They incline towards websites and tablets, while the younger generation fancy mobile apps. Besides, your audience might choose one platform over the other.

Additionally, you ought to ask yourself, will the app necessitate the use of cameras? Integration with the iOS health kit? Or GPS tracker? Once you have all this information, you can establish an elaborate plan of what your app will feature. The good thing is you don't need to implement all these aspects at once.

Check out this list of what people expect from healthcare apps:

  • This feature is used by patients to formulate appointments and by doctors to regulate them.
  • Both doctors and patients use this feature to examine their health condition either by a physician or individually.
  • Push reminders for drugs.
  • Security and privacy.
  • Social interaction and networking.
  • Reporting and charting Functions.
  • Telemedicine options include real-time chat and video to assist patients link with doctors to discuss treatments.

Simplicity and clarity

After accomplishing all the requirements mentioned above, you're now set to design your hope. Please note that medicine is a sophisticated discipline for any typical person. As such, you need to make the design of your healthcare app very simple and easy to use to keep users focused.

You don't have to make a medical user interface too detailed with the aim of making an impression. It's best when the interface is easy to interpret, regardless of whether or not the app is meant for medical personnel. Knowing this, it makes sense to design an understandable healthcare user interface and offer an informative onboarding. If not, users may get disappointed with their experience even before accessing the central selling points of your app.

Both doctors and patients will enjoy navigating through your app if it is

  • Clear and minimalist: This eliminates the need for people to study how to use your healthcare app.
  • Progressive disclosure: Help your target audience discover features easily by giving direct instructions. Start with onboarding and split each section in the app into manageable bits.
  • Use appropriate colours.
  • Limit the volume of information one has to input.

Lastly, ensure all the medical information is provided by certified medical specialists. If not, the content will incorporate errors that are not commendable in this industry.

Functionality and features

Common sense dictates that design and functionality should work jointly. A good design should address the user's problems. The types of features that best suit a healthcare app depend on its objective and target audience. Medical center apps, for example, require a personal account for patients to see records of their visits, appointments, and propositions.

On the other hand, telemedicine apps are worthless if they lack secure and encrypted communication and video conferencing characteristics. Given that the home screen is the center for all functions, you ought to ask yourself: why does a client use your application? If a client visits your healthcare app to receive or record some details, check on their progress, confer with a doctor, etc, then the functionality must be positioned to the right side of the main screen.

Navigation Explore and Enjoy

A well-organised navigation structure is key to a constructive healthcare app. Without it, your app won't be widely adopted. Proper navigation means better speed and ease of access/use, which is a valuable addition from the user's perspective. For example, medical specialist needs a quick-responding app since they spend most of their time working on electronic health records.

For this reason, consider displaying valuable information on the surface with available details upon request.

Colour choice

Ideally, the colour option for your healthcare app relies on the target audience as well as the app's theme. For instance, kids prefer bright, contrasting, and positive colors. Women prefer soft and bright colours whereas men like dark or neutral-looking. Colour preferences are similarly affected by culture, life experience, education, and the rest.

Here is how most psychologists perceive colours:

  • Yellow is attributed to joy, feeling of enthusiasm, and attracts attention.
  • Blue reflects calmness, trust, and strength.
  • Green is linked to health and success.
  • Violet provides a feeling of freedom and respect.
  • Orange is associated with a surge of energy and friendliness.
  • Black is for security, strength, and authority.

A good healthcare app design is often characterised by neutral shades with the bulk of cold-toned blue and green, then white for the background. This colour format parades numerous advantages including adding credibility and easing anxiety.

However, given the versatility of medical software, there are no specific limitations to colour choices. The basic idea is that the all-around look of an app must cultivate a positive impression, rather than causing fear and other unwanted emotions.

Personalisation

Mobile app personalisation is arguably the most marked design trend of the current years. For example, you can set a specific function to adapt to a particular user pattern, then the system recommends the next actions that a user may perform. The objective of this tactic is to help users to figure out their problems using an application more quickly.

For this to materialise, it makes sense to identify and evaluate user patterns and trace their changes. There are numerous customisation options that you can employ in healthcare design solutions, key among them being interactive elements, notifications, and colour themes. It's also advisable to use AI to develop personalised suggestions and more.

Accessibility

It must be noted that mobile healthcare solutions are formulated to be used by persons with distinct visual and hearing abilities, physical and psychological traits, and age. So your objective should be based on making the app accessible for all users with the characteristics mentioned earlier.

Prioritise their limitations and aim to subdue their negative impact. For instance, persons with motion sickness won't wish for too much animation. This can prove difficult to attain the desired outcome, but you ought to be careful to reap the benefits of your investment. Use the best colour blindness simulators and contrast analyser but don't forget to place the prime elements in a thumb zone.

Thereafter, work on other sections such as changing the view to horizontal mode, making texts readable, and more.

Positive attitude

We all know that medicine is complex and intimidating. So your goal is not to make it more complicated. Instead, make your healthcare app seem like it has little regard for medicine. This will make the user experience enjoyable.

Besides using soothing colours and themes, add motivational messages and bright-coloured components at certain stages of a user's adventure through the app. Ensure your images and icons embrace positive and pleasant emotions. They shouldn't encourage fear and insecurity.

Don't exaggerate

It makes sense to maintain a perfect balance between attraction and functionality. Your healthcare app must be fast and not drive away users from its content. It would help to examine the points above to ensure you don't surpass the limits.

All graphical components including animations must serve their purpose such as illustrating the micro-interactions of users with the app. They must not be incorporated to make the app appear impressive.

Another consideration is to direct the users' attention only to the relevant information. This means you should not overexpose gradients and shadows. In addition, use one font and adjust it by altering the size and other features i.e, italic, bold, etc. Don't forget to use simple colour schemes for better navigation.

Don't copy

Don't be tempted to copy from a successful competitor app. Though it might work, their design may have irregularities and you might end up accumulating your competitor's imperfections that will affect your app's functionality in the future.

Usability testing

Most designers may become too much confident about the effort they've put into designing a healthcare app, to an extent they forget to test the app's usability. Test your app to check the interaction patterns and figure out the behavior schemes.

Tip: Active user involvement will contribute to the mission success of your application. Therefore, select a suitable testing audience that relates to your target audience in terms of age, geographical location, gender, occupation, etc. Make sure they go through the major functions in your app and collect the feedback.

Image credit:
Alex Aleksandrov