During my bachelor graduation internship at Hike One, I identified several user needs international students have in the Dutch healthcare sector – issues with choosing the right Dutch general practitioner, understanding health insurance or getting informed about various topics within healthcare. After thorough user research consisting of interviews, a competitive assessment, desk research, user journey mapping, card sorting and a co-creation session with the target audience, I gathered a set of insights which then guided the design phase of the project.
The design phase consisted of research-through-design and card deck design. I used all my research findings in creating a healthcare platform with Protopie, through which I could test and create knowledge regarding what is important for healthcare. The most crucial challenges of the platform were examining what psychosocial experience users desire in healthcare and how to create a calming and trustworthy atmosphere (as trust, safety, intimacy, security and transparency were the most important values identified during my research). Apart from focusing on what experience users desire in healthcare, the research-through-design platform also examined how interaction should be built, what language should be used and what features users expect.
The platform researched two approaches - one which features a tailored personal experience – where each user could pick an animal advisor, name them, and then arrange all their healthcare matters they need, while being guided through the process by the animal companion in a dialogue-like way. The whole experience of stressful healthcare arrangements was transformed into a relaxed, step-by-step process with plenty of information, choices and explanations being presented to the user by a “digital pet”. The second approach was more serious - instead of a friendly companion, a serious tone and animated explanations were used. The results showed a strong preference of the friendly animal approach, due to its relaxing, casual and helpful nature.
The final product of the project combined all the knowledge I gained through my project into a single card deck about designing for healthcare. The cards in this pack serve as a guidance and inspiration for projects that focus on how to create a valuable experience in a stressful foreign system (such as healthcare in a foreign country). The cards are divided into five categories: Values, Information, Interaction, Guidance and Design Identity. Value cards serve as a backbone for a core value important in healthcare, with the other categories showing which elements should be combined when aiming for that certain core value. The cards aim to guide ideation, inspire new features, but also help test whether a design has reached the meaning of the card in question. The printed card deck now serves as a knowledge piece in the design resources of Hike One, and can be used for future project as an aid to guide a design project.