Today on the iCareHealth blog, we provide an insight into the User Experience (UX) engagement process and why it pays for aged care providers to partner with a responsive software vendor. To explain what this process can involve, we look at the recent UX engagement for a component of an upcoming software version release.
Effective software solutions begin and end with thorough client engagement. With the help and expertise of aged care providers, vendors can ensure each software version is intuitive and meets the specifications of the industry and its regulations.
UX engagement process
The discovery or research phase is an essential step in software design, and can involve surveys, data analysis, user interviews and prototype evaluation. This process can vary greatly as it needs to adapt to the scale and scope of any given project. iCareHealth UX Manager, Matt Sarah, recently undertook a discovery process involving three stages of user engagement for the chart component of a residential software release.
During the first stage, Matt and the product team visited several facilities to get a detailed understanding of the required content, workflow and context of use for charts. Based on the client’s initial feedback, Matt was then able to commence the second stage, evolving initial sketches into a prototype to trial with users. Staff were asked to emulate their everyday use of charts on the prototype, and provide feedback on the layout, hierarchy of information, and the overall ease of use.
Feedback and engagement
The third stage involved a client session held at the iCareHealth office in Melbourne. Users from six residential aged care providers spent the morning working in pairs to assess both the existing and proposed charts in detail. In the afternoon, the iCareHealth team guided the group through each chart, allowing the group to form a consensus on priorities.
Following the client session, Matt was able to begin work on the next stage of product development, before working through the findings with the development team. Once completed, the updated charts will be a component of a larger version release.
Benefits to clients
The users that attended our client session emphasised that they found the day useful and were keen to provide input in future sessions. Maree Wenham, the Quality Systems Manager at Sapphire Care, stated that the day was an ‘…excellent session showcasing the advancements in iCareHealth charting and using a collaborative approach for further advancements.’
The day not only provided an opportunity for users to network, it also enabled clients to learn about the differing processes that take place at other aged care facilities.
Holding a client session is an effective way for vendors to connect with clients and prioritise their needs, with Matt explaining, ‘It was really great to hear from a client perspective that the dynamics of the day worked well. The majority of the feedback our charts received was positive, and that wouldn’t have happened without a thorough client engagement process.’
Importance of user engagement
While a three stage engagement process worked well for this project, Matt finds that each piece of work requires its own unique form of engagement.
‘Every month we speak to a number of our users from across Australia. I spend a lot of my time on the phone to clients or visiting facilities so that I can watch how users interact with our software and gain an understanding of the context of use. Maintaining an engagement loop and involving our users in the process is essential to validating our approach and delivering the best outcome for our clients’, stated Matt.
Partnering with a vendor that has a thorough UX engagement process ensures that the software will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of providers. By actively seeking client feedback, vendors can prioritise the most requested features for future version releases. Effective UX methodology integrates the needs of users, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. If partnered with a software vendor who does not have dedicated UX resources, aged care providers may not receive the long term return on investment they had envisioned.
Want to learn more about the importance of UX? Read our blog Aged care software: Why user experience matters.