Hamilton/Gerber Precision Stone Treatment Simulator
Creating data-driven strategies for treating kidney stone disease
Experience Design Intern at Focus21 Inc.
Jun - Sep 2017
The Hamilton/Gerber Precision Stone Treatment Simulator is a training tool for urology residents and professionals to create data-driven strategies for the treatment of kidney stone with Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL). It is intended to accelerate the training time for evaluating the relationship of various components of SWL on outcomes for particular patient profiles.
I worked on the first phase of this project between June 2017 and September 2017 as a UX Designer at Focus21. I was part of the Experience Design Team and had the opportunity to take ownership of this project. I designed the end-to-end experiences of major platform features, interaction and product interface, and presented these to the client. I worked alongside the software engineering team and other designers.
The goal of this project was to evolve the simulation service from a “static model and algorithm-based service” to a “dynamic machine-learning based service” with the aim of accelerating the training time and educating urologists and technologists to create data-driven strategies for treating kidney stone disease with SWL.
I reviewed recordings and notes of past meetings to gain an understanding of the project because I was not involved from the beginning of the project. The team whiteboarding sessions aided my comprehension of the overall workflow. On the side, I conducted preliminary research into the treatment of kidney stones to determine the information required to create a comprehensive product.
I first attempted to fit the simulator screens to the height of the device to reduce the need for users to scroll.
However, with the number of dropdown lists and input fields that had to be completed to run the simulator, this approach broke the user flow. I resolved this issue by retaining the scrolling feature while reducing and simplifying the fields, and grouping related fields. This created a seamless flow within the simulator.
UX Tools & Techniques
For this project, I made task flow to have a big picture before I start wireframing. Then, paper sketches were created as low fidelity wireframes. Finally, Design assets, high fidelity wireframes, prototypes and mockups were developed using Sketch and InVision.
Prior to delivering the project’s outcomes, I had to rapidly familiarize myself with medical terminology and different procedures for the treatment of kidney stones. This process was essential to facilitate communication with our client and understand the project as a whole.
UNCERTAINTY OF FEATURES
Some of the client’s requested features were lacking in information and were not feasible. Because the features of the project had not been finalized, they tended to change at every meeting. To resolve this issue, I made a quick prototype to help determine the client’s precise needs. To establish a concrete concept, multiple versions of the prototype were created. Obtaining the information necessary to create a feasible product was challenging, but I persevered and delivered the design on time.
Process - Collaboration
Our teams collaborated with the client to avoid miscommunication and provide the desired product on time. In addition to our weekly meetings, we could communicate instantly via a shared platform. To minimize any conflict within the software engineering team, I created a developer-friendly style guide for the simulator and demonstrated the mockup to the team several times. Whenever we encountered technical issues, I resolved them by devising proper design solutions that satisfied both the client and the developers.
I had awesome experience with Focus21, Inc., and I want to share what I learned during my internship:
1. Ask the right question
2. Design with purpose
3. Taking ownership
4. User research
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION
I joined the project when it had already been in progress for a few months. The research and defining stages were already nearing completion, so there was an overwhelming amount of information to assimilate; however, I exerted myself and quickly acquired a comprehensive understanding by asking the right questions whenever I needed additional context. During this defining period, I made notes and Excel files of all the elements required to run the simulator. This both enhanced my own productivity and provided supporting materials for the software engineering team.
DESIGN WITH PURPOSE
Projects within the medical field, in particular, contain various intricate features, all of which seem all important. Complex features create convoluted interfaces; however, by undertaking multiple purposeful design iterations, I strategically positioned the elements and created intuitive interactions.
Taking initiative and full responsibility for this project’s designs triggered my passion and enhanced the productivity of my work. At Focus21, we participated in weekly design walkthroughs and client meetings. Taking ownership meant that I was confident and proud of presenting my deliverables. I received valuable feedback during these presentations, which improved the project outcomes.
Users all have unique habits, which are difficult to change. Such habits form particularly when technicians become accustomed to following certain paths or taking specific actions. Interfering with the natural flow of a user creates confusion. Therefore, the design of any new functionality needs to consider repeated actions or habits carefully because the new functionality could create unnatural interactions for the user. This should, ideally, be uncovered during the research stage.