Design Process for OUVA
While interning at OUVA, I led an effort to integrate user-centered design practices into the startup’s product development cycle.
Design research & process
With a mission to create engaging, immersive experiences for patients and their families, the team at OUVA already recognized the importance of human-centeredness for healthcare spaces. As their customer base and product line began growing, I had the opportunity to formally integrate user-centered practices into each phase of their product development cycle.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR DESIGN
While OUVA was already using ethnographic interviewing techniques to understand the needs of hospitals and patients, I saw an opportunity to better convey early design insights into future development decisions. To that end, I added two milestones to the team's design research process: the creation of a Vision Statement, to align the team with user needs throughout the development phase, and the distillation of Design Criteria, to tie specific user insights to future features & functionality.
By far the biggest opportunity for OUVA lay in user testing, especially in low resolution prototyping. Evaluating the quality of user experiences earlier and more often would help the team avoid costly changes later in development. I outlined three types of user tests OUVA could use at specific points during their product development cycle. I also created detailed guides for how to run, debrief, and synthesize results from each:
1. MODERATED USER TESTING
Running moderated user tests at various stages during product development would help OUVA better understands their users’ behaviors, motivations, and emotional reactions to their products. I recommended the team begin prototyping in lower fidelity — from paper mockups to projected slideshow animations — to validate early design decisions before investing in costly software development.
2. EXPERT HEURISTICS
There are many design and usability issues that can be caught without recruiting test subjects. Building off Nielson’s usability heuristics, I created an expert review guideline specifically for OUVA’s Kinect-driven, gesture-based interfaces. To capture crucial design criteria from accessibility to story immersion, I drew from Microsoft’s Human Interface Guidelines and Desurvire and Wiberg’s Heuristics of Playability research.
3. UNMODERATED USER TESTING
Because their products use the Kinect system, OUVA had access to a wealth of user data. From evaluating which features were most engaging to capturing moments of joy, I saw the Kinect platform as a rich resource for understanding use & usability. I incorporated Google’s HEART Framework to help the team make the most of their metrics.