Enter The World of Online Audiology
As a pioneer of an online audiology solution, we had a clear mission to improve
the way audiology practice is performed. That is, leaving the technology take care of the same
repetitive process in order for our users to focus on what really matters; patient care.
Since 2014, I've been working with a team in Israel as the lead UI/UX designer.
I'm responsible for validating product features and defining specs for
development through iterations of visual prototypes.
Here are some of the challenges I faced:
We developed a diagnostic controller that any level of user can operate with ease.
Hearing ability can be evaluated in number of ways and getting an accurate and
instant feedback of a diagnostic result was at the heart of this product.
I was challenged to come up with a diagnostic controller that can be used
across various types of diagnostics and maximise user's productivity.
Hearing tests are performed iteratively over time to monitor improvement or
deterioration of patient hearing ability and it’s essential for any audiology products to show diagnostic
data in a comparative format. We developed a visual system that promotes an instant data screening.
TRANSLATING SOUND DATA
Most hearing tests run progressively step by step at a different volume or
frequency to evaluate patient feedback at a varied rate. We needed a method to
display the volume and frequency in a vertical flow chart so the operator can evaluate
the result visually and be able to take next action with minimal delay.
SIMULATING REAL WORLD SCENE
Hearing diagnostics is a complex process and it's difficult to get accurate test results.
There are many ways to test one's hearing ability and some work for a certain type of
patients while others don't. Being able to test a patient in a real world scene with
realistic every day noises in the background is something that any audiologists craves for
as it best reflects the difficulty that a patient experiences in their every day lives.
We designed a studio feature that allows a simulation of any real world scenes
using unlimited sound resources in any sequential layers. User can choose to
share their custom simulation data across the product community which also means
users have access to all simulation data that others shared.
DESIGNING FOR EMPTY STATES
Crafting a user journey when no data is available was not our top priority work of line.
And we were totally wrong about this. It’s like we were saying to our first users
"our first hand shake with you is not important”. Luckily, we learned our mistake early and
defined a route to make experience more engaging for the first time users.
MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS
As our product matured with more features, we noticed that important data
gets scattered all over the place. We needed a way to centralise important data
and make all practitioners aware of what's happening in a clinic. There was no guarantee
that patient "A" will be looked after by the same practitioner every time.
We believed that communication will be more effective with an appropriate context.
We looked for the right context to adapt the communication feature and
eventually we found that we could use a history log that is often under utilised.
After a series of design explorations, we were able to turn this plain
boring history log into something that our users can’t live without.
BESPOKE DATA VISUALISATION
Data schema for audiology diagnostics is sophisticated.
Data symbols are responsible to represent variant patient hearing conditions such as
currently tested ear, hearing aids equipped ear, equipment type and many more.
There are existing symbols that the industry likes to use but the range was limited
to cover our product. We developed our own symbolic system to cater for our product.
The main challenge was to create 40 distinctive shapes that can be read in any scale.
While dealing with this challenge we also had to make sure that we adhere to the
industry standard so there is no surprise for users migrating from other products.
FINDING RIGHT VISUAL TONE
Every product is unique in many different aspects. It was important to make
sure that we provide our users with a systematic visual language that is concise and consistent
and have a product appeal. To find the right tone that takes all those into consideration,
it was absolutely crucial to start with understanding our users. We clearly knew only grown-ups
would be using our products so it was important that our product doesn’t look casual
and icons are not too abstract that older users may get the wrong message.
Through a number of exploration stages we settled into a nice visual system that met our objectives.
VALIDATING MOBILE EDITION
Hearing can be improved. Best result is achievable if both audiologist and patient
are passionate about it. Traditionally, at the end of a visit session for a treatment,
a patient would be given a sheet of paper, stating their hearing results.
And, that pretty much wraps up the visit. We wanted a better engagement by introducing
a mobile app that patients can easily download and access their own data in hand
with the given secret codes. Through the app, we aimed to make patients more conscious
about their ongoing condition with live data and knowledge base information.