Fortune identified ‘no market need’ as a top reason for newly launched products to fail (42% of startups failed due to this reason). In this regards, a digital healthcare solution is no different than any other start-up or SaaS product. You can have a great idea but if your users (patients) don’t want it, you’ve wasted time and money. Formulating UX strategy is about taking what you’ve learnt during Discovery phase (user needs and pain points) and transforming that into a product opportunity. Once again – fall in love with the problem, not the solution. But what if you already had a solution when you started your project? You still need to validate that there is a real need for your idea, and chances are, if you went through Discovery and Strategy phases, that you stumbled upon a more relevant problem and came up with a better solution.
From a project management perspective, another benefit of going through the strategy phase is a shared vision between everyone involved in the project. In the healthcare setting your project team will likely include a product owner (entrepreneur, founder or product manager), a subject matter expert (healthcare specialist), designer(s) and developer(s). For a project success, everyone involved needs to share the same vision and expectations. The UX strategy phase is the time when each stakeholder can contribute their unique knowledge and expertise. This ensures that the product is desirable, feasible, profitable and possible to implement within the healthcare setting or users daily routine in case of patient-centered products.
Three steps to formulating UX strategy
Step 1: What problem are we solving?
During the Discovery phase, you’ve likely discovered many user needs and pain points. They’re probably not all equally important and you probably can’t solve all of them with a single product. You need to identify the critical user needs and problems, those that when solved, will significantly improve the user experience. There are several methods of going about identifying those critical needs. One way is to write each identified need and pain point on a post-it note and plot on a matrix based on how critical they are to users’ goals and how frequently they appear. You should evaluate where each of the needs and pain points plot on the matrix based on your findings from Discovery Phase. If you have several pain points that are similar enough, you can group them in one theme. At the end, you should have a clear and concise design challenge to solve, not too broad to stay focused, but not too detailed so you don’t prescribe the solution yet.
Step 2: How can we solve it?
Once you have a focused design challenge to tackle, you need to generate possible solutions. The secret to coming up with good ideas is… wait for it…research! Yes, you need to conduct what I call an inspiration research. Instead of waiting for an inspiration to come, you have to go out and look for it.
Here are some ideas of what good topics to research are:
- Current trends in technology
- Behavioral trends
- White papers and academic papers related to your subject
- Other products that solve similar problems, not necessarily from the same industry
- Competitive solutions
When conducting your research try to be rather broad and go beyond your industry. The most inspiring ideas often come from unrelated disciplines. You can start writing down your ideas and solutions as you go through your research. For each inspiration write down what is the main idea, what you like about it and how it can help solve your problem. Now you have to select the most promising ideas. Again, there are several ways to do that. If you’re working with your team you can critique each idea in terms of their benefits and downsides and vote for the best idea. It’s also useful to come up with a set of criteria by which you will judge your ideas.
Step 3: How will your solution work?
So now you know what problem you’re solving and how you want to solve it. This is the time when you define how exactly your solution will work. What are the functional requirements? What is the content it will present to the user? The most efficient way to do this is to create a user scenario. You can use storyboard method, user flow or simply write it down. The goal is to describe step-by-step how the user interacts with your solution. Then for each step of the journey, write down functional and content requirements. These will later form the basis for information architecture and user flows.
Following this 3-step process will give you and the design team a great starting point for defining the solution. It might feel like an extra effort when you came up with a great idea and are eager to start implementing, but it can really make a difference between a product failure and success.
To learn more about specific activities you can use for each phase of the design process, download our ‘Health App Design Blueprint’ (coming soon!). You’ll find all you need about the roles within a project team, exact activities for each phase a case study.