Student blog: Chris Welfing
Chris was part of a group of students from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences who took part in our Health and Social Care Data Challenge, working with open data sets from the Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland.
The students’ challenge was to improve the use of this open data and increase engagement through a user-centred approach to design and analytics. After two days working on this with Wallscope, ISD and other data users in Edinburgh, they had 6 weeks to develop an MVP focusing on their chosen use case.
So how did they get on? Have a read of Chris’s blog to find out!
After we met Wallscope's Lead Developer Antero in Amsterdam for a project briefing, we started to prepare ourselves for a trip to Edinburgh where we would meet up with Wallscope, the NHS, and a couple of other stakeholders for a two-day co-creation session and design sprint. I booked some tickets for our flight to Scotland, and we traded sunny Amsterdam for rainy Edinburgh on Wednesday 29 May.
The next day, the design sprint started at the University of Edinburgh Business School. The first few hours we wasted a lot of paper on useful (and not so useful) sketches that would form a possible solution for the problem. At the end of the day, we had a good start. But we were not quite done yet.
The next day, we had to present our first version of the solution to all the stakeholders, so there was a little pressure. After some more sketching we transformed our design into a digital interface. We presented our work to an audience including people from Wallscope, the NHS and the target groups and received some very positive feedback. We had two very productive days and a solid idea we could further develop during the remaining weeks of the project.
After the end of the presentation, Stijn and I went for some more sightseeing and climbed up the mountain to visit Arthur’s Seat. After that, we headed to the Royal Dick pub where we met up with the people from Wallscope to drink some beers. We decided to walk to the Cameo Picturehouse where Wallscope bought us some more pints. Time flies when you’re having fun, because a couple of pints later we realised that we had an early morning flight the next day. It was time for us to go back to the hotel to get a couple of hours of sleep.
Further designing the solution
The week after our trip to Scotland we started to work on some more screens to make the new platform more complete, as well as working on user testing. We tested a first version of the prototype with a nurse. And she said the following:
“I get why people would be interested in the medical data. But for me personally, I would not really use a platform like this, unless it is providing more context about the data. Like for example stories based on the data.”
This insight made us realise that somewhere during our design process we missed the fact that by just providing cold, hard data a lot of potential users would be forgotten. So we went back to the drawing board to improve our design. The goal for our first iteration was to make the new platform even more attractive for one of our target groups, ‘the curious’. The curious are people that are interested in the medical world. They don’t necessarily need to be doctors or medical students, but anyone with a general interest in the data.
We decided that, next to giving the user access to all the datasets, we also wanted to provide them with stories and articles based on that data. And because the curious target group could be anyone, we also wanted to think about accessibility. We realised that just providing a screen-based interface would leave a many potential users – such as blind users - unable to use the platform. So we designed a voice-based user interface in addition to the existing platform. The user can ask the platform questions with their voice after which the search engine uses Natural Language Processing and Speech-to-Text to provide the required information.
That decision turned out to be a good one. During our second user test the next week, the feedback we got was very positive. The people who tested our concept really liked the fact that they could read articles about the datasets and also understood the reason behind our decision to add a voice user interface. Of course, there still were some small things we could improve, but that’s exactly why we were testing our prototype: to make it better for the user.
After some fine-tuning of the prototype to incorporate the feedback, we prepared ourselves for the final pitch presentation to our class. Our pitch went very well and we were graded with an 8.5/10. We are really happy with the result of the project and are very satisfied with the amount of work we were able to do in just seven weeks. You can watch our product video here:
Thanks to the successful collaboration with Wallscope and the NHS, we were able to design a working solution. I would like to say thank you to everyone involved in the project because I really had a good, fun, and educational time from the beginning to the end.