The first app tailored for the Dutch market that helps you make appointments with your GP and dentist.
The way we book visits at our GP in The Netherlands is very inconvenient and feels outdated in 2019.
Around 70 000 expats live in The Netherlands. They are highly educated and work as highly skilled migrants. They also sometimes get sick and have to see a doctor. Often these expats don't understand the Dutch healthcare system well and that makes them confused. Often they don't speak Dutch. They wish the process of booking an appointment with a doctor was smoother.
TYPE OF THE PROJECT
Proof of concept for a study project
The iOS app that lets you make an appointment with GPs and dentists. It is the first app that was tailored to the reality of the Dutch health care system.
The application helps users find a GP or a dentist, the one that is the most suitable for the user, and make an appointment.
Apart from making appointments and tracking them, it is possible to check test results, have an e-consultation and manage prescriptions.
I have conducted my research in two parts. First part was competitive research and second was interviews with 7 expats.
- Doctena.nl - is a European app that is present in 6 countries.
The app's website gives the impression that the doctors are targeted by the app, not patients. An app is not designed exactly for the Dutch market and targets tourists. The main feature of the app is booking appointments, it is impossible to view the doctor on the map. Shows results according to the distance, not availability, and there is no rating.
- Doctolib - Allow 24/7 online appointment scheduling, patients can view the history of their consultations and they can share documents with their doctors.
- Practo - It is the most popular app on the world of its kind. Allows making appointments, having calls and chats and making online orders of the medications.
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH - interviews
To select proper interviewees I asked them to fill out the brief online screener. The screener was filled out by 9 people. However, I decided to have an interview with 7 people because I focused my research on people who already have been to the doctor in The Netherlands or have a doctor (2 of my interviewees didn't). Interviews were conducted with one interviewee at a time, at interviewee's home (or another comfortable place for interviewees)
To countercheck my finding at the end I had a brief consultation with a Dutch person about his experiences with making appointments with a doctor.
UNDERSTANDING THE USER
The interviews helped me notice the most important things about how expats use healthcare in The Netherlands.
The interviewees register at the GP just before their first visit. They choose the closest practice and read reviews. Two of interviewees was rejected by the GP due to overcrowding. None of these interviewees could book their visit or register online.
“I checked google maps to find the closest doctor with the best reviews”
“I chose a doctor to whose clinic I can just walk in without an appointment during a certain time of day”
“I looked for doctors who has a website in English and are open to foreigners. My previous doctors had no such experience and it was hard for me to communicate with them”
“I had to fill the registration form online, print it and deliver it personally to the doctor. They don’t accept it via e-mail. This was super strange for me”
“I don’t know if the practice is full of patients or not, I had to first register to receive a rejection couple of days later”
“When I called to make an appointment with the doctor, there was an automatic voice machine that I didn’t understand. I pressed one, nothing happened, I pressed number two I was connected with the service for doctors. I had a hard time connecting with the proper line”
Based on my research I could consolidate all findings in one persona.
Although initially I had young expats in mind, the DocApp had to be used by everybody, that is why I paid attention to inclusive design.
BREAKING DOWN THE PROCESS
The next step was to put the knowledge from research in motion to define the app's functions, user flows and design the prototype
- Making appointments
- Making registrations
- E-consultations - chat
- Search via map, geolocation, shows the closest doctors
- Doctor profiles with reviews, bios, equipment, staff and contact details
- Bilingual: English/Dutch
- Access to results
- Monitoring prescriptions
- Information about medications
Based on my research I conducted two users' flow.
1st. - New user to the app that already has a doctor (prototype)
2nd. - New user to the app without the doctor.
I conducted a user test with my low-fi, clickable prototype with 3 users. I noticed that there were two main issues with my design.
The test was conducted with 3 users (they were different people than those from the research). I prepared the clickable low-fi prototype (made in Balsamiq). The users had to go through 20 tasks, the whole test took around 15 minutes each. The prototype was displayed on the monitor of the computer, users used a mouse to navigate and click. They were asked to think aloud.
The GP/Dentist filter was too confusing
In the beginning, I planned to design 4 user flows for new users.
First case: the user has the doctor
1st flow - User wants to just connect with the doctor via the app - doesn't plan to visit the doctor yet.
2nd flow - User wants to make an appointment
Second case: user doesn't have the doctor
3rd flow - User wants to only register to the doctor without making the appointment
4th flow - User wants to register and make an appointment.
After the test and revising my persona I decided to keep the 2nd and 4th flow.
During the second iteration, I applied all changes that solve problems that user testing showed. Additionally I checked once again all the iOS Human Interface Guidelines and made adjustments accordingly.
During the second stage, I focused on combining two aspects of the design - UX, and UI.
While designing doctor's profiles I decided to divide them into two 3 parts. This separation will make the screen less cluttered and keep the user more focus.
The prototype was designed in two iterations. The first part of the design was presenting the users' journey and making the appointment. I made the prototype in Balsamiq.
The flow of the new user who makes an appointment with their GP
During this phase of the project, I build the visual design and focus on saving the screen's real estate. Although the project was designed for I phone X, I took into consideration that the application will be displayed on smaller screens.
Making the first appointment with the doctor.
Resources for the app design:
Photos: unsplash.com by Asif Aman, Austin Wade, Luis Machado, Rob Tol, Marius Ciocirlan
MAIN ASPECTS OF THE APP
Online GP booking
- Convenient for users for users
No more calls in an exact very limited time. Now the user may book their doctor visit conveniently via their phone at any time and any place.
IInformation about doctors availability
- Clear indication on doctor's profile
Research showed that users had problem with determining if the practice can accept new patients. Now, there is information if the practice is full in the profile of the doctor, thus the user doesn't have to start registering process first.
Distance, reviews, and equipment information in one place
Three of the most important information that the user uses to make a decision about what doctor to choose. On the map, they see the distance from their place. rating - also can check detailed reviews and equipment info in the doctor's profile.
The most important lesson from this project was to always do research and user test.
During my research, I found out that every person is looking for something else in when they need to make an appointment with GP. And it was quite different from my first assumption. The best is to the research with as little assumptions as possible.
I strongly value research and I know I would not be able to design truly user-centric app without insights for my users.
"You never get your product right for the first time" - Alan Dix, Computing Professor at Lancaster University
User testing is yet the other tool that helps us - UX designers - to design outstanding products. I build one function that, as my user test, the show was too much confusing. I tried to give too many options to muse users. "Less is more" is the true rule in that case.
I am proud to share the review of this project that designer Ran Segall shared with his viewers on his YouTube channel Flux
Spoiler alert: he liked it :)