As our world becomes ever more connected, medical device design has seen a shift towards utilising digital health and connected devices, to give patients more control over their health and provide real-time data for clinicians.
Ahead of SAE Media Group’s 3rd annual Wearable Injectors and Connected Devices Conference, Design Development Engineer, James shares insight into methods for building successful digital healthcare products. As covered in a previous post, Digital Health: 5 Key Emerging Trends in 2022, digital health is a rapidly expanding sector with a wide range of benefits for healthcare providers and patients worldwide.
It is critical to properly research, test and market your digital product throughout its development. In this post, I will outline some of the main steps to ensure the success of your digital health innovations.
What are user insights and why use them?
User insights are a way of helping paint a complete picture of the specific user you intend to target for your new product. This helps you create a product that is perfectly suited to them whilst aligning with broader market trends. This differs from market research which typically offers broad opinions and statistics about a large group of people. User insights provide a much deeper understanding of individual users or user groups.
It is critical to start initial user research as soon as possible in the design process (even if it’s basic), so you can use the early feedback to influence the design direction and avoid wasting time developing a product that isn’t suited for its intended users.
Valuable insight comes with in-person formative testing, where you can watch people interact with your digital product throughout various stages of development. This allows you to watch interactions and gage reactions in addition to impacts of factors such as the intended environment of use (for example, does the lighting prevent the user from seeing the screen properly?). This testing often reveals issues that were not foreseen previously, which can then be considered in the next concept. As technology develops, there are platforms which can assist with undertaking such testing remotely enabling you to gather quick and valuable insights from users globally.
User insights can also be used to overcome unconscious biases held by the designers, who have maybe assumed something about a consumer or market that transpires not to be true. People will often take the easiest or most convenient route when doing something. So, when presented with a new product they may use it in a completely different way from how you were expecting. If you can remove barriers to use and make the experience as streamlined as possible, you will end up being able to sell to many more people when you launch.
After you have collected your data, it is time to analyse it and interpret the results! You can do this qualitatively or quantitatively, but you must make sure that the data is anonymised to protect any sensitive information.
A popular method is to collate your data into a user journey map that shows who the intended user is, how they interact with your product and any pain points they had with the design along the way. You can then integrate these pain points into your design specification, to enhance the next iteration of the design.
If done correctly, the introduction of a new digital product can benefit thousands of people as we transition rapidly to a digital-first society. To ensure this success, it is important to ensure you are putting your user first when designing a new digital product. User insights can help designers understand if their product will deliver real value to consumers and health care providers, by defining their needs, challenges, behaviours and motivations. If you would like to discuss this topic further or require assistance with your new product or medical device development project, please get in touch with the team at Haughton Design.