Practo makes healthcare accessible to millions of Indians.
I designed a system to get the products closers to users while providing them with a personalized experience.
The app, which was built four years ago, has the primary objective to get health products closers to users by providing them with a much better and personalized experience. The plan was to create a system of healthcare offerings to connect consumers to providers.
However, the then-existing Business structure led to teams working in silos, they were all sandboxed and worked as mini-apps. This system did not exist.
The app's growth and metrics had become stagnant. We tried pushing the app through intensive marketing campaigns and TV advertisements. However, we noticed significant dropoffs throughout the flow and extremely low adoption rate.
I went through our existing user data, had focus group interviews, sat with our customer satisfaction team and identified a list of issues which troubled our users. The organizational structure of Practo caused many inconsistencies which led to most of these problems.
The list of issues identified was humongous. Hence I, with the help of Product Leadership, prioritized them on the basis of urgency, user need, business value, feasibility, and alignment to strategy.
These are problems which we went down to tackle ahead:
Practo's app has been available in the app stores since 2013 and had been used by around 2 million users. But, as an organization, we highly misunderstood these user groups. This was the virtue of fast expansion in offerings and the team-size.
The 3-level complex architecture led to non-discoverability of features (Practo had a dozen offerings in the app). This also made the app too tight to build new stuff.
Health is a personal issue and the existing app didn't cater to making the experience personalized.
There was extensive use of medical jargons and complex non-understandable icons. Since every business unit had its own design team, there were a lot of irregularities in visual design.
Practo's app has been available in the app stores since 2013 and had been used by around 2 million users. But we had highly misunderstood user groups. This was the virtue of fast expansion in offerings and the team-size.
Hence, my first step was to re-define these personas. I went through our user data and examined the engagement, transaction recurrence, and life-time-value of various user groups. I also performed a lot of market trend research and analysis to come up with our three prime user segments.
The subsequent step was to learn the user stories and create an experience map. These helped us thoroughly understand the genuine difficulties for our users and ideate on ways to efficiently solve them through the health app.
I did a usability analysis of the app with a few participants. Also, going through user data, I saw patterns of less engagement and drop-offs. During the process, I sat with our product team to better understand the complexity of this wicked problem.
The solution was to build a circular architecture which helped tie in all the features present in the app. This linked all the transaction flows to one another, helping replicate the real world physicalities of medical consultation.
In the structure above, there are a few new items introduced.
All the 3 iterations went through usability tests. I also had participants perform card-sorting activities. The results showed that iteration #1 performed better than the rest due to high affordance towards "To-Do" actions.
However, while having a discussion with the Tech and Product Leadership, we realized that building such an architecture had a lot of tech constraints. Having the To-do and Quick Actions in one screen would extend the timeline by 5-6 months. Hence I came up with a new compromising response, which even though not optimal, was far better than the existing solution.
"Your list" is the "Brain" of the application. With all the user data Practo collects, we understand the user's necessities and desires. Hence we were able to direct them through the health journey towards better healthcare efficiently. I used anticipatory design to send contextual, personalized and purposeful prompts to our users. I was able to reduce decision fatigue and create more personalized user flows.
The application, however, does not take decisions on the user's behalf. Instead, minimizes superfluous interactions and let users get on with their day. This section also serves the purpose of the notification center by sending the most meaningful and contextual alerts to users.
While the exisitng Business Units kept working on the respective features, a new Core team was formed to ensure this structure prevails and works smoothly.
Healthcare needs to be personal, and that can only be accomplished when we understand our users better. This required Practo to create a few means to understand what users wanted so as to provide with contextual information.
Hence, I designed two different concepts to collect user intentions, while at the same time solving corresponding usability issues.
Through market study, we identified that our users did not know of all our offerings. This led to low engagement and less brand-recall. Moreover, for data-security reasons we needed users to sign in to the app. The existing implementation had a pretty high drop-off through the funnel.
I sought to combine the login and user onboarding to implement a seamless experience for our users. The signup flow was rethought, making it more instinctive with lesser cognitive pressure by using complexion reduction and high-grade communication.
Individually, all screens were designed in a manner that the first-time experience would take less than two mins for a user to complete. I went through a lot of iterations, feedbacks, and testing to come up with this final flow. I designed an OTP based login system which improved our login funnels. Users could sign in by just entering their mobile number, and the app would do the rest by automatically reading the verification code sent through the SMS.
I also developed a conversational UI based question wizard inside the app with the intention to complete the user’s health profile. I worked with the medical staff to come up with 32 questions. I also worked with the tech team to create a modular way of implementing this which helps in loading pages faster.
To help all business units and 4000 employees of Practo to function in an organized manner, we needed a shared vision and fresh analysis of our brand. We had to understand better what design excellence and user-first thinking meant to Practo. Moreover, how would we know if we had achieved it or not?
To help answer these questions, I created a working group with the goal of creating a set of design principles. Check the link below to read more about this process.
A comprehensive design system was created. I went through all the existing screens on the app and made a list of components used. This Sketch-based style guide consisted of all rules, examples of usage of components and assets. At one time Practo had as many as 17 shades of brand blue been used in the app. Our aim here was to remove all of such similar inconsistencies.
I made an exhaustive repository of 220 icons which is now being used by the entire tech-design-product team. Our technology team helped us adopt compressed and refined components leading to the reduction in the download size of the apps by 63% consequently helping us serve 30% more patients in India.
The last stage of the project was a colossal visual brand revamp. I worked with the legendary team at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv to come up with our brand identity. In respect to the visual design, we tried to reduce any chance of ambiguity making the important aspects clearer and reducing decision fatigue.
Read more of the branding work below:
The app was exceptionally well received by our users. We got numerous encouraging reviews on social media and play store. All the core metrics which we track improved. Many issues regarding the discoverability of products and first-time user onboarding were resolved to a large extent.
This, 16-month long project has helped me understand that good product are built with human-centered thinking and is amplified when created in collaboration with people of diverse backgrounds. Bringing in the engineering team early on in the project helps things to go smoothly down the line. Also, spending a few sprints in fixing the groundwork keeps the team to move faster.
It also made me realize the importance of having a team to prevent the individual teams to diversifying. Design systems, design principles, unified tech databases, and many more centralized systems help in steering the ship in one unified direction.
Moreover, it's pretty tough to get the Leadership onboard on projects which take so long. I struggled a lot during the early phase of the project, but soon realized that quantifying the possible return-of-investments helps make a stronger case.
Practo makes healthcare accessible to millions of Indians. I designed a system to get the products closers to users while providing them with a personalized experience.
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