Aesthetic Design and Healthcare UX – How will the two go hand-in-hand?

Author: James
September 26, 2018
Aesthetic Design and Healthcare UX – How will the two go hand-in-hand?

Aesthetic Design – Is it limited to “The Halo effect” alone?

Let’s start off with the very basic question – “What is an aesthetic design?”

As the name suggests, something that’s quite appealing to the crowd. An aesthetic design does not limit to the good looks alone or the ‘Halo effect’, which considers good looks to be the only positive quality. Aesthetics provide a complete enhancement of our five sensory systems that includes- vision, hearing, touch, and taste and smell. It would be appropriate to say that aesthetics can either make or break a design. The aesthetic designs have a strong influence and higher possibility of being used since it gives the perception of a better understanding of the personal needs ofa user.

However, Aesthetic designs prove valuable for product designers as it provides the user with a 4D experience; which gives the sensation of more than just a visual treat. With the latest Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) tech advancements, the aesthetic design seems to gain more attention and proves to enhance user experience to a 4D scale. A complete balance between aesthetics and usability need to be maintained for the successful launch of a product.

How is the Healthcare sector UX/UI design different from other sectors?

Healthcare industry provides great scope for UX/UI designs, as it challenges both aesthetics and usability.  While designing for the healthcare some of the key elements that need to be taken care are –

  • Designs that focus on patient experience

  • Designs that helps to facilitate patient-provider experience.

  • Designs that turn as solution providers to manage medical data and help to improve health conditions.

Healthcare UX/UI designing is even more challenging, when compared to the designs created for other industries. The potential risk is higher for healthcare UX than enterprise UX, as in the healthcare sector,  the term ‘user’ may refer to either healthcare professionals, patients, family members, care providers, pharmacists, etc. The designer needs to demonstrate the proposed design process and ability to solve problems pointed out within the complex healthcare systems. Analyzing the hospital environment and creating a UX design based on its specific needs is a key component for a successful healthcare UX.

Aesthetics designing can bring about a change in the healthcare industry as it is coupled well with technological advancements like – Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality(VR) along with our human sensory systems. For example, healthcare designers can help to enhance an interactive guide for new primary care patients, increase efficiency in data retrieval from electronic health records for doctors and caregivers, promote healthcare education among hospital staff, and much more. One of the biggest challenges of the healthcare UX is to keep up with the user-friendliness while developing an app/software. A successful healthcare product design process should focus primarily on the needs of the people and not necessarily on what they want.

Aesthetic Design and Healthcare UX blog image

Some of the top trends and UX challenges for Healthcare UX

User-focused Design and Personalized Experiences– This makes the UX designing for healthcare industry unique and challenging at the same time. The readily available information of the user or patient, makes them feel more engaged and involved during the treatment programs. With the personalized data and understandable UX design, healthcare apps help patients to know about their health condition and recover with ease.

Wearables and Data Visualization for Healthcare UX– The practice of using wearables have increased rapidly in recent years. We are just a tap away from our daily health monitoring, as we can track down our day to day activities including body functions like monitoring the heart rate, blood pressure, walking, sleeping, etc.
The current functionalities of the wearables devices are limited to cater the growing needs of a user.So, it is essential for a dedicated focus in the healthcare sector.

The biggest challenge faced by the UX designers, in the wearables sector,  is to smoothen the interaction between a the user and the device. Even though the device provides the most accurate data, it won’t be sufficient enough to satisfy a the user. An insight into the user’s future health results will be more appreciated. So choosing a minimalist design interface would be an ideal solution for the wearable healthcare apps.

Virtual and Augmented Reality for Healthcare - VR, and AR have become part of the healthcare industry for quite some time and we are witnessing major enhancements in the application of VR and AR for Healthcare UX. VR applications in the healthcare sector have already proved to help patients in many ways like explaining a medical treatment and how your body reacts to it,  distracting the patient while conducting an unpleasant treatment. AR applications in healthcare have already eased many challenges in surgical planning and diagnostics. So introducing both AR and VR technologies help us in real life and evade many challenges.

The biggest challenge while designing UX for healthcare using  AR and VR is that a balance needs to be maintained between the real world and the digitized content to attain user attention. Since healthcare is an industry, where the user might be already anxious about the medical procedure, grabbing their attention without panicking is very important.

AI and Chatbots and Healthcare Apps– The latest tech trend that everyone is talking about has so much to offer for the healthcare industry. The potential of AI and Chatbots in the healthcare industry is way beyond imagination. Real-time discussions, data collection, adding reminders, guiding a patient with ease in real-time are just a couple of AI and Chatbot experience that one can imagine.

The challenges faced while implementing Chatbots and AI are interesting than stressful. Healthcare UX design for a chatbot needs to have a clear communicative and minimalist design. Building a basic algorithm for an AI implemented healthcare app won’t help, as it searches for more precise and detailed explanations on specific topics.

Voice User Interfaces for Healthcare– With Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home entering our daily lives, we are not limited to GUIs anymore. VUIs can offer so much in the healthcare industry without any manual/physical data entry. The user just needs to give the required voice commands.

Prototyping the VUIs, specific user identification, and being aware of the touchpoints are some the UX challenges faced for Amazon Echo products. However, certain tools are created to overcome such limitations.

Healthcare apps need to be created not just with an aesthetic design sense but also keeping in mind that each user is unique and has different needs. It should be aesthetic but not limited to creativity alone.