The client wanted me to help creating an app that offered people in Indonesia quicker access to a doctor. His budget was tight, so I also had to figure out which was the best platform to develop the application for, by making sure there is potential for the product to spread around quickly.
I was responsible for the experience strategy and design of Alodokter. I worked closely with the client towards the final goal of creating a tool that satisfies the user needs (getting in touch with a doctor, even when living in poor areas) and reaches the business goals (creating a solid mobile product that expands beyond their website).
My vision was to create a product that gives individuals in Indonesia access to a doctor in a quicker, cheaper, and easier way. I wanted to design a product that allows locals to get in touch with a doctor and find a solution for their smaller health issues without having to visit a facility. The app was not supposed to fully replace doctor visits, but to keep them to a minimum.
The discovery phase was fast-paced because of the tight deadline. It allowed me to define the project vision together with the client, begin researching user needs and their pain points, and understand the constraints of the final product.
My research showed it made sense to develop this product. Most of the locals I Skyped with mentioned they don’t visit a doctor unless their health issue becomes serious. In most cases, they avoided the doctor because they were busy at their jobs or had too much responsibility at home and therefore no time for it.
After conducting my interviews, I created a couple of personas and a strategy for the final product. Our audience was quite large; therefore it was difficult to create a product based on everyone’s needs. For the first prototype I decided to focus on personas similar to Ganesh and Amala, whom I created based on my interviews.
An opportunity that I quickly spotted during the discovery phase was the fact that most of our interviewees were novice at using smartphones. Some of them owned low-performance smartphones, but didn’t use them for anything else other than calling and texting. Therefore, it seemed clear from the start that creating a simple – but not superficial – design should be one of my goals.
At the same time, numbers showed that 33% of the Indonesian population uses the Internet, with most of it accounting for mobile traffic. Internet usage is growing rapidly, with mobile leading by far. Therefore, a mobile version made more sense than their desktop product. Almost 70% of the Indonesian population that uses the Internet lives in a rural location, where access to a doctor is limited compared to the bigger cities. Also, in 2014, the top two operating systems in Indonesia were Android and BlackBerry OS. Android accounted for 70% of the market and is actually still growing. There was a market for Alodokter on Google Play!
During this phase, the client and I decided to create an application that works like a forum, where users can ask questions about minor health issues and where doctors can answer. This was because we didn't want the application to replace doctor visits, but to create a tool through which locals can get help with their minor health issues. Because of their busy lives, it was important for this product to answer questions and then let people move on with whatever they were doing. I also decided to add a magazine section, with curated articles from their website feed, to help users live a healthier and better life. This would decrease the need for a doctor in the long run.
The tight deadline only allowed me to create a single set of sketches to showcase the functionality and features of the product. I felt extra care was needed here because the audience I designed for, according to my research, was novice in tech use.
Prototyping was done with UXPin, which was also used for usability testing. The client and I discussed the objectives for usability testing and decided that it would be difficult to test on locals. It was tough to get in touch with them, agree on a time for a Skype call, find a spot where they wouldn't be disturbed and so on. Instead, I did the second best thing: I tested the application on older people in Romania. They often behaved like the main audience and have the same approach to smartphones.
If I would have more time, I would definitely try to test on the actual audience, but considering the constraints, I am confident this was the best alternative.
The biggest issue that we stumbled upon was the floating button. Our novice audience often felt confused about it, and this made me reconsider the component. Although the floating button is well known for avid Android users, it took some time for this novice audience to figure out how to add a new question. I can easily say this was a serious issue, considering the main objective of the app was for users to ask questions.
In the end, I kept the floating button concept, but replaced the “+” icon with “Ask”, to make the call to action clear. I decided to keep the floating button because it is native, it offers a good alternative to fixed buttons, as well as good contrast with the other elements of the interface.
The final product looks very much like other Android apps, and this was the idea right from the start. For this project I’ve decided to stick to well-known patterns instead of reinventing the wheel, mainly because I designed for such a novice tech audience. Powerful color contrast indicates possible actions the user can take to navigate the app.
There is a large set of animations and transitions in Android’s GUI guidelines, which I thought would be nice-to-have, but not need-to-have features. Therefore, I decided to strip it down to the bare minimum. There was also a constraint considering the budget. I argued that transitions and animations would be something to think about in a later phase, but we agreed to put them on the shelf for this version.
The application has been released in mid-March and already has quite good reviews in the Google Play Store. This is an MVP, so future releases are planned, and also possible expansion in other countries in the region. Alodokter can be found here. Notice that the application is in Indonesian, while the mock-ups below are in English.