Cómo hablarle a los usuarios / Cómo no informar de los errores 

De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de informar a los usuarios, cuál es el mejor modo de hacerlo para saltar de la mera muestra de información a una comunicación más natural, más humana. Siguiendo los ejemplos de la foto, estas son mis reflexiones.

Título

No estás conectado vs VimeoError

Mientras el primero de ellos sintetiza un estado general del usuario de forma clara, el segundo se decanta por usar un código del sistema para resumir lo que ocurre. VimeoError nos hace pensar que algo ha podido incluso romperse, que algo hemos hecho mal, quizá el propio hecho de haber intentado usar la app. No estás conectado no dice claramente que sin conexión no hay contenido que ver.

Mensaje

La conexión Wifi y los datos móviles están desactivados. La página se podrá cargar cuando te conectes a una red. vs Could not connect to the Vimeo server. Please check your network settings.

Obviando que uno de ellos esté en inglés, aunque resulte más inaccesible para muchos usuarios, la gramática de ambos mensajes es diametralmente opuesta también. El primero se centra en explicarte qué significa No estás conectado y qué debes hacer para volver a estarlo sin más. El segundo insiste en describirse como un fallo de la app, de algo que escapa del control del usuario (el servidor) y que miremos la configuración de la red. No sabemos muy bien si también nosotros como usuarios hemos configurado mal nuestra red de repente y tendríamos que cambiar muchos parámetros, quizá baste con ‘encender la WiFi’, quién sabe…

Icono

Dinosaurio vs Alerta!

Sin duda, el primero de ellos no sólo intenta suavizar la gravedad del mensaje explicado la situación y la forma de salir de ella sin que cunda el pánico, sino que además busca simpatizar con un recurso gráfico que recuerda a la prehistoria, relacionando el hecho de la falta de conexión a Internet como algo de otra época. Esta línea de diseño emocional contrasta con la visualización de un icono de Alerta que enfatiza la gravedad de lo que ha pasado, aunque se contradiga incluso con el nivel de gravedad: ¿es una alerta o un error?

Control de acción

Más vs Cerrar

Una vez entendido o no el mensaje, la acción se ofrece como última escapatoria para el usuario. Más sugiere ampliar la información acerca de lo que ocurre, la confianza de que es posible hacer o saber algo más acerca de lo que sucede y por tanto yo, el usuario, podré saber cómo solucionarlo. Cerrar es simplemente una señal de que eso era todo y lo que pase después de cerrar es imprevisible.

Contenedor

Dentro del contenido vs Pop Up

El contexto también es importante y en el uso de móviles incluso más debido al espacio reducido para mostrar los contenidos. Usar ventanas modales ha sido una práctica común en aplicaciones de escritorio ya que ayudaba al usuario dentro de toda esa marabunta de ventanas a centrar su atención en el mensaje y tomar una decisión y una acción concreta. Usar un Pop-Up en un móvil en el que todo el contenido visible es ese mensaje (ya que no hay ni conexión ni se han cargado datos), además de ser innecesario me fuerza a considerar el mensaje como prioritario en mis atenciones, aunque lo primero que quiera hacer no sea interaccionar con él sino salir de allí como sea.

Conclusiones

Informar de los errores sin más no significa haber alcanzado un buen nivel de usabilidad en una aplicación, el modo en que esa información se dirige a los usuarios es clave para que éstos sepan qué está pasando y cómo pueden salir de ellos. En este contexto, el tono del mensaje debe acertar con la gravedad del mismo, entender que se dirige a un humano que no tiene que entender nada de sistemas, servidores o bases de datos, sino, a lo sumo, de su micromundo móvil que lleva en la mano.

El ejemplo de Google Chrome me parece fantástico para mostrar como un Diseño Emocional no significa hablarle a los usuarios de forma ‘jovial’ o personificada, sin sólo entender el contexto, empatizar con el humano que lo está usando y reforzar la confianza de que se puede prolongar un uso satisfactorio de la app a lo largo del tiempo.

Siento que Vimeo haya salido mal parado en esta comparación a pesar de sus muchas bondades sigue estando un poco oxidad.

Using Google Keep for need finding

Many (mean) words have been said since the launch of Google Keep, but rather to analyse the next Google failure I’d like to consider this as an opportunity and share with you how do I professionally use Google Keep.

As you already know, need finding is an approach used by designers of different fields to research and understand better people’s needs. There are two basic kinds of need findings: observations and interviews.

Observing people, your potential users, and their behavior require spending time patiently watching, and waiting for something interesting to happen.  However there are multiple occasions that nothing happens or we are simply not in the right place on the right moment.

For those situations is when Google Keep can be helpful. Either if you suddenly start watching an unusual scene, or there’s something that catch your attention, Google Keep could be used to

  • Capture the scene by adding a picture
  • Repeating people’s comments by transcribing  them
  • Grouping and relating notes by using different colours

You don’t need to plan it neither to know what you’re looking for. For me it’s not something I’d like to mix with any other note-taking tool just because I don’t expect to classify it or organize it. I don’t even think they have any value in the future but it’s my reminder that something surprised me, and a problem – again, an opportunity – may emerge for those notes.

It has passed just few days since I’m using it in this way, every time I see something related with the topic I’m researching I just capture the moment expecting to find the needs.

Google Keep keeps it simple, and its lacks of functionality is not a lack of utility, actually it is a motivation to try to behave as a real user experience observer/designer.

Of course, if you’re using it for a different professional purpose, I’d love to know it 🙂

Facebook-like EMR (Part II)

Facebook-like EMR Hi-Fi

In my previous post, I published a simple mock-up to introduce the idea of an Electronic Medical Record looking like Facebook social network.

We initially saw how taking advantage of this website could help to contribute for a better tool for doctors, nurses, and patients.

In this second part of the exercise, we can see as well the hi-fi prototype where the visual design will allow us to make new musings.

Top Bar

Notifications will lead the activity of users under specific contexts.This space would be used in a similar way, so we would expect to see there:

  • New patient admissions
  • New results
  • Prescription modifications
  • Activity of another physicians on my patient’s profile
  • Events notifications
  • Automatic clinical alerts

The search box will index patients, activities and tasks. This way, finiding a patient grouped under a particular list or jumping to the a functional module will be quick and simple.

Patient Banner

The patient banner is now taking a considerable amount of space: Is is really needed? Well, If we follow the idea of having patients accessing to their own profiles, it would be nice to have this personlizable. This way, patients would create a human connection between them and their clinical staff. I think the balance between the clarity of a customizable banner and the used space make of this a valuable area.

Thumbnail area will show the teaser of each content type (clinical domains). This way the patient banner won’t be only an area to ensure the patient identification but to highñight a meaninful set of content related with the latest activity of the patient.

What about the ‘Like’ buttton?

What would ‘Like’ mean in a clinical context? It might be pretty controversial saying ‘Like’ under a patient diagnosis. However, there are other social actions which could provide a helpful support to the care activity.

  • Notify
  • Comments
  • Share

Notifications could be triggered automatically by events or due to a professional opinion. A notification doesn’t express an emotion, but a objective idea. It’s not a bad idea having a mechanism to communicate subjective feelings but here we shouldn’t make an error by this Facebook ‘positive-thinking’.

About the prototype

The opinions, ideas and suggestions shared in this article and in the ‘Facebook-like EMR (Part I)’ one only represent me (Carmel Hassan).

This prototype has been made adapting the icons of Jigsoar. The shown data is fake and the girl in the picture is me! I know I know…

Facebook-like EMR (Part I)

Facebook-like EMR (Part II)

In 2008, Bob Watcher wrote an article called “Why the medical record needs to become more like Facebook” where lay down the idea of having the social network as the mirror for a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) User Experience (UX). A collaboration and social framework to provide better care to patients while keeping useful information between physicians and nurses.

He was not the only one; already in 2007, Robert Nadler established a high-level model remarking out the core functionalities that it could have EMR software. However, it was not intended to get only a Facebook-like UI but a real social site to connect Patients and Doctors.

The idea is not new; many authors – doctors and software engineers – have continued talking about this idea with no final proposal.

After the latest Facebook re-design I don’t know if those authors would still maintain the same opinion about this topic, anyway I do think it’s a very very interesting approach even assuming any usability issue that Facebook could have. So here are my two cents.

A Design Proposal

Users & Profiles

If a clinical solution would need to completely work like Facebook, every user (physician, nurse, etc.) would have their own user porfile. However, the analysis of having a EMR looking like Facebook timeline suggests that the profile page is planned to show only patient data. Why would we need to see a nurse profile, then?

Following this idea, the Home page would be reserved for (primary) users and the Profile pages for showing the electronic medical records of patients (secondary users).

A possible extension would be allowing the access to the EMRz by Patients, so they could also check their own EMR online by themselves. In this case, we could consider them as secondary users not as part of the network community, but just to contribute to their own medical history and keep a direct communication between them and they’re care providers.

Social network

Social activity will be generated by clinicians considering patient-centred documentation based on Profiles. As suggested before, there are two main social groups: the one created by clinical staff only, and the one where patients and clinicians would interact.

Social interaction is the key point of this proposal and it underpins the main usaibility goals:

Profiles: Patient Timeline

Facebook profile pages have been re-design to look more like a real timeline where any important event is chronologically displayed. In this example, right side will be used to show a summary of the most important event types associated to the patient medical history like Health issues, Allergies, Diagnosis, Requests and Results, Progress Notes, Prescriptions and any other clinical subject. On the left side, any user (doctor, nurse and the patient) could add comments anytime.

Privacy

Privacy should have a strong presence here, since having restricted-access data is a valuable feature that doctors, nurses and patients. They all will need to control the visibility of the data they entered in a fashionable way. Although setting permission in Facebook is pretty hard and unclear to get control about which type of users see which type of patient data or personal comments is still a requirement. This could be done seeing users by their role, applications as domains, and groups as teams. Still, patients are a special kind of user which will have direct access to his own record.

Utility

There’s a weak line which separates the Facebook familiarity advantage into the most confusing UI for a productivity tool and it’s called “enjoyment”. The idea of this Facebook-like EMR was to promote some typical behavioural patter of users when interacting with a social network like:

  • Safe Exploration
  • Microbreaks
  • Habituation
  • News Stream
  • Other people’s advice
  • Personal Recommendations

However, there are some other existing activities that the clinical staff usually does and this UI is not oriented to

  • Changes in Midstream
  • Keyboard only
  • Streamlined repetition activities

Nevertheless, the app integration approach of Facebook suggest me to become a good exercise to imitate outside the UX field.

Content

The content is not about what people think or feels, but what physicians and nurses make, diagnose, treat or provide to patients. The language of the user interface should be adapted to the purpose in order to ease the kind of content expected to be entered.

Data entry is one of the most challenging features in healthcare apps. The smarter the application, the quicker the data is entered. The whole phylosiphy of Facebook puttin atention into every single details should be adopted also to create content such as vital signs, prescriptions, a soap note, or a discharge letter. As an example, below there’s a list of content with different natures which depends on the context of use, the user role and the business model.

  • Task Oriented
    • Notifications
    • Lists of patients
    • Lists of tasks
    • Scheduled activities
    • Events
  • Content Oriented
    • Patient history summary
    • Patient evolution
    • Patient current health status and diagnosis
    • Clinical decisions
    • Procedures
  • Process Oriented
    • Treatments
    • Protocol based care planning
    • Admissions and discharge
    • Scheduling
    • Follow-up

What’s next

This is only the first part of the exercise. For the second part I’ll try more mock-ups and the high-fidelity prototype adding more details also in the content used in this sketch to get a better idea about how crazy (or not) is the proposal of being inspired by Facebook to create an electronic medical record.

There’s also an important gap where Facebook has no direct answer: clinical safety and episode-related information. We’ll talk about it also for the next post.

By now, how realistic do you think it is?

The visual interface is now your brand

Let’s go for inspiration…

ckcimagery:

Nick Myers: The Visual Interface is Now Your Brand.

“… about the considerations of visual interface design. First of all, Software isn’t fashion. The goal of visual design is really to support the user experience, primarily, and we also have to think about creating experiences that are timeless.”