UX Design Approach. The following slides show samples of my UX User-Centered Design approach. I led both internal and external teams in the UX design processes for a custom website program called “CancerHelp Online”. My design approach included developing user personas, defining user pain points and goals, and having “design studio” ideation sessions. These all supported my development of prototypes and using them in usability testing. The final design was successful.

User Pain Points and Goals. Site visits included visiting four separate cancer centers around the U.S. On these site visits, I observed and interviewed nurses and patients using a prototype of the website program. From the site visit observations and the user experience map, Post-it notes were used to identify and capture Pain Points and Goals. The ideas generated by the “Post-it note process” are valuable for developing personas, storyboards, and ideation steps. Note that the main Pain Points for both patients and staff highlight the need for a way to message patients using the EMR/Patient Portal system. This was a surprising detail that might have been missed without identifying pain points and creating personas.

Developing User Personas. Personas, shown below, were created using information from the user experience map, the patient and staff pain points, and the patient and staff goals.

Some key observations for the patient personas include the great degree patients suffer (pain points) when they live far away from the clinic. Even the persona “Far Away Sharon”, the family’s fictitious daughter, has a need to learn more and feels challenged. Staff feel frustrated, too, in trying to solve the problem of educating patients who live far away.

Interactive Prototype for Usability Tesing. After the Ideation step, I developed an interactive prototype for usability testing. Shown below are Web pages from the prototype that were used in the user testing. Testing revealed many important usability aspects of the Web pages. One important “Pain Point” was that patients were asked to select services based on their region but they did not know what region of the Essentia Health Cancer Program they were in (East, West, or South). This information was used to redo the UX design of the region menu to include a map that users could touch or click on to identify the area where they received medical services.

This Web page from the prototype Website was used in user testing with both patients and nursing staff. Testing confirmed the simple text interface was easy to use to find information. Many titles were changed so they were clearer for both patients and staff.

Ideation exercises revealed the idea to use an icon from the publication cover design in a scrolling menu of topics. Staff did recognize these icons and many had a prior familiarity with paper copies of these same documents. Patients were supported with the icons which served as a symbol for people who shared their cancer side effect experience.

This design for the patient education videos Web page went through several iterations. My design goal was to let the videos play in an embedded form but to delete the extra buttons that YouTube has in their default embed view resulting in a simplified interface.

User testing found an important problem in the prototype. Users could not determine their region from a list of region names. It was unclear how to solve this problem without adding a lengthy text description. This “fix” might also have been confusing for users. Several of the staff who participated in testing suggested a map UI or user interface. The final iteration with the map UI enabled patients to touch or click on an image of the health care regions based on where they received care. Touching or clicking on the map did an automatic query to display the local “Care and Support Topics”. User testing showed this worked well for patients.

Examples of my final design. These screen shots and tablet/smartphone views highlight the lessons the team and I learned from many sessions of user testing. For this custom and mobile website program, helping staff to be able to send links to their patients was important. The design was successful and has been adopted by 8 different cancer centers, each with their own custom “CancerHelp Online” website.

Final Outcomes and How my Solutions Performed. These screen shots and user statistics from the CancerHelp Online subscribing sites show that the UX design was used successfully by both staff and patients. The EMR Smart Menu UX Design Feature was successful and I was invited to co-author a poster presentation for CPEN, the National Cancer Institute’s network for cancer patient education professionals. See below for the actual poster presentation.

Google Analytics Dashboard for 1 CancerHelp Online Subscriber. The tables and charts shown above include the type of device used to access the CancerHelp Online Website and the range of users by age. Although there are slightly more users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age brackets, there are still a significant number of users over the age of 55. The UX design process included personas for users in all age groups though much of the design was intentionally kept simple based on user testing with users over 55.

A CancerHelp Online Summary User Statistics Report for the top 3 subscribing cancer centers. The data is from page views on various patient education topics. Several UX Design decisions were made based on this user data including keeping as many topics as possible on the Home Page. What I learned from the user data is that topics nested two or more layers deep received about 30% fewer hits.

Electronic Medical Record Messaging Menu to Address a Key Pain Point. For Essentia Health’s Electronic Medical Record or EMR, a Smart Menu was designed and implemented. This allowed staff to easily insert links to their CancerHelp Online Site for patient education into any EMR messages to patients. These EMR messages appear in the user’s patient portal view from their health provider.

Poster Presentation at National Health Education Conference. The main stakeholder at Essentia Health asked me and my team at the CancerHelp Institute to co-present at the CPEN National Cancer Patient Education Conference in Cleveland, OH in 2016. The poster presented the solution to the rural cancer patient pain points and illustrated the various ways doctors and nurses could better “link” with their rural patients.

Professional Societies and Associations:

I am a member of UX Design and Interaction Design Professional Associations which connect me to other professionals and keep me up-to-date with best practices and industry trends.

Professional Association for
Sustaining Member

Interaction Design Professionals Association

User Experience Professionals Association
Sustaining Member

Nielsen Norman Group
Seminars & Ongoing Education