Aged care software: Why user experience matters

| 06 Feb 2015
User Experience vs User Interface

Leading software companies are increasingly turning to user experience experts to ensure their product is enjoyable and easy to use. To better understand the importance of user experience, we turned to iCareHealth’s User Experience Manager, Matthew Sarah, to explain why it matters and how it benefits users.

What is the difference between User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)?

In simple terms, good UX is achieved through a user centred design process that takes into account the users’ perception and attitude towards a product. For example, does the software make a user feel relaxed or frustrated? Do they find it easy to use, or do they struggle? Can they navigate the software quickly, or is it time consuming? These are some of the key user experience factors to consider when designing software.

UI on the other hand is just one aspect of the overall UX. It is the software’s tools and interface components, which help determine whether a user has a positive or negative experience. A quality UI would mean a clean design, and a structure that lets users access the features they need as easily as possible.

Why is UX so important for software used in the aged care sector?

One of the main benefits of a user centred design approach for the aged care sector is the boost to productivity that can be derived from software with a clean and simple design. By allowing users to navigate the system with minimal clicks, workers have more time to focus on what they do best; providing high quality care. These benefits are particularly felt by users who don’t have a lot of experience with computers, as more intuitive software requires less training for non tech savvy staff members.

How do you know which elements of functionality and design are most important to users?

It’s important to never make assumptions about what functionality users want or how they will use it, that’s why I collect as much feedback as possible by talking to clients, stakeholders and members of our own multi-disciplined team at iCareHealth. Depending on the project, I may spend more time with our developers to look at enhancing back end functionality, while some projects call for me to spend extensive time with users and watch how they interact with the software. Conducting research and gathering data is key to making informed decisions.

It’s the ‘why’ that really drives my passion for UX. You can learn far more from an in depth series of questions with a user then you can from simply watching them use the system. That’s how I really get an understanding of what drives a user’s work and what will truly make their job easier.

Can you tell us about the iCareHealth UX journey?

The team saw the value in enhancing our software’s look and feel, and in 2013, iCareHealth began working with dedicated user experience specialists Navy Design. Both teams spent months researching and working together to develop a new user interface for version 4 of our Clinical and Care Management software. I joined iCareHealth in mid-2014, and have been working with our developers to ensure our software is simple to navigate, with a modern and fresh look.

What UX changes have been made to version 4 of iCareHealth’s Clinical and Care Management software, and what’s your focus for the future?

The main UX priorities were to enhance the top level navigation and update the visual design. Having a simple top level navigation is so important, because it makes everything easy to find, and ensures daily work processes are streamlined. Enhancing the overall look was also key, and we’ve worked hard to create a modern and clean look.

Another important UX priority was for our Clinical and Care Management product to be ‘touch enabled’, so it can be used on a variety of tablet devices. The design has been specifically engineered to fit the screen of tablet devices, to accommodate touch interactions, and to ensure it can be easily read and used on the go.

As technology continues to change the way aged care providers deliver care and manage their operations, I’m thrilled to be working for an organisation that recognises the importance of user centred design. I’m looking forward to working with the iCareHealth team to further enhance our software’s design and functionality, knowing users and the people they care for will be at the forefront of what we do.

 Which UX features do you feel are most important for software in the aged care sector?

Tags: aged care, aged care software, design, research, software, technology, user experience, user interface

Sophia Bolden

Communications Manager

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Manager at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.


  1. Shane King

    I could not agree more.

    There are too many applications that I have endured over my 23 yrs in IT where the interface and user experience have not been considered. I have to say that iCare Health has been impressive in its approach in this area. iCare Mobile Medication app appears to be well thought out with the Nursing staff picking it up very very quickly among differing levels of computer literacy.

    I recall one of companies we used when in local Gov created our Water Meter reading software that ran on handhelds. 2 clicks to read a meter. They were bought out by one of the big Local Gov solution providers who customised it. The end result was 7 clicks to read a meter. Until the day I left in 2009 I could not convince them it was a backward step.

    I try to adhere to a few rules
    1. The application must be intuitive to use
    2. The application must cater to different levels of Computer literacy
    3. The Application should flow when data entry is required
    4. Screens in the application should be consistent when interacting with the same dataset
    5. Error messages should be descriptive, they help the user understand what might be wrong and fixing it themselves, and help the Support people to extract the issue from the users perspective.

    • Sophia Bolden

      Hi Shane,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. You make some really excellent points, and I particularly like your 5 UX rules. I’ll make sure to pass that onto our UX Manager Matt Sarah; I know he’ll find your feedback really interesting.
      Thanks again, Sophia


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