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There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in design. But, there are right choices that you can make to strike the right balance. The right choices always revolve around the balancing of elements and how to go about incorporating them into your design. Design is largely intrinsic, something that depends on how you look at it.Utilizing strong design principles will go a long way in transforming your UX desgin for your users.

 

But, how do I improve it?

The vital ingredient of any design is a discernable pattern. Patterns are universally observed, and by incorporating the right examples in your designs, it can evoke a desired reaction or response to a specific interaction. So the challenge is to decide – how do you want the user to perceive the design while simultaneously solving the usability problem.

Let’s look at some simple steps.


Hierarchy
This is level zero. By setting visual hierarchy, you are communicating to the end-user where to look first. The entire sequence, along the visual journey, has to be laid out first. For example: making an element bigger to draw the attention and set a focal point for the user. Hierarchy can also be set by using white space or bright colours to highlight crucial parts of your interface.

In Fig A, the design has all the information laid out for the user, but it’s set in no particular hierarchy, meaning there is no indication of what is important and what is less important, so a user can feel lost in the visual journey of what message the design actually intended to say.

      

Fig A                                                                                                                          Fig B

In Fig B, by using intentional white space, we bring the most important message to the fore – so what a user sees first is that the game night is between who, where and when, and everything else is kept secondary to it.

Keeping things simple and consistent
By keeping the elements in your design minimal, placing them in your layout will be easier to manage – making it easy for users to navigate through your design. Too many elements in one design can be off-putting and confusing to look at. Consistent use of elements is a better approach, that usually sets the users mind at peace – like the style of a button or the placement of a close button. In this way you are guiding the users on what to see first and where to click next. Interaction consistency is also as important as visual consistency. Always try to minimize the number of ‘clicks’ in your design – no one likes to engage in redundant clicks to get quick information.

In the examples below, the design on the right can be improved by simply reducing the number of clicks from 10 clicks to 5, by reducing redundancies in the information design.

Reducing redundancies in the information design.

 

Mind the space
Spacing is vital for great composition. Using whitespace and negative space correctly, plays a crucial role in your design. It is just like your living room, when you decide what to keep in a particular area and where to leave space – the same applies to your design also. For example, when there is only a line or two of text, try to put the text in the one-third

of your art-board either from top or bottom. If however, there is more text to work with try to group them and set the hierarchy by increasing or decreasing spacing between each group. By incorporating enough white space in your design, there will be sufficient breathing area for users to relax their eyes into.

White space is not just empty space. It’s about creating enough room for your text and design elements to co-exist.

 

Typography
Sensible use of typography can really enhance your design. Selecting the right typography involves certain decisions that include a choice of font family, weight & size, leading, tracking, kerning and scale. Avoid using too many fonts from different font families. Instead, use one or two font family and play around with font weight and size to find what works best for your design. Also remember, If no one can read the text on your design, it defeats the purpose of putting all that effort into your designs. Lastly, avoid using font colour which may clash with your background colour For example, ‘Red’ text on an Orange background, is an extreme choice.

 

Contrast
Emphasizing certain elements of your design is both visually appealing and functional. Finding the right color mix for temperature, saturation, hue, and intensity can help you set hierarchy for the elements you want to bring out in your design. However, contrast isn’t just a colour thing. It also involves shapes, edges, textures, scaling, and size. Albeit, like with almost any other design concept, it can be overdone. You should make sure that the contrast in your design isn’t so dramatic that it’s jarring unless that’s your specific intent.

 

Not a good way to use contrast

 

A more balanced contrast

 

Balance the Elements
This is where you draw the line between your design and your users. A design is not useful if it doesn’t solve a problem. Likewise, it is also not so useful if the user didn’t get the message right. Information is important to get across – it should have a higher priority in your design approach and draw the user’s attention first.

In the images below, the content is the same but what makes the right image better is the complete balancing of all the elements, relaxing the design using appropriate spacing and placement without overwhelming the user with all that textual information.

Making the right design choices for enhancing a user’s experience is all about creating a seamless link between the user and the applications they use. Every designer has their own style and while these design principles are important to consider – it’s more important to stay original and keep practicing.

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MantraTalks Podcast with Parag Sharma: Delivering Digital-first Health Experiences for Patient Care in the New Normal

6 minutes read

The healthcare industry took the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning. It was, and still is, a humongous task for hospitals to deal with the rising number of COVID patients as well as handling the regular consults. 

To delve deeper into the state of healthcare in the COVID times, we interviewed Parag Sharma, CEO, Mantra Labs Pvt Ltd. Parag shares his insights on how technology can help in delivering digital-first health experiences for patient care in the New Normal.

Parag is a product enthusiast and tinkerer at heart and has been at the forefront of developing innovative products especially in the field of AI. He also holds over ten years of experience working in the services line and has been instrumental in launching several startups in the Internet & Mobile space. His rich domain expertise and innovative leadership have helped Mantra climb to the top 100 innovative InsurTechs in the World – selected by FinTech Global. 

Catch the interview:  

Connect with Parag- LinkedIn

COVID-19 and Its impact on Healthcare Organizations

Considering the COVID situation, according to you how has COVID-19 impacted the IT & service operations among healthcare organizations?

Parag:  Since the onset of COVID-19, the healthcare sector has been deeply impacted. Institutions are facing a serious crunch in manpower. IT support systems which were usually manned and managed by a large team of IT professionals are not available in the same strength. Resource allocation’ is one of the biggest concerns due to physical and mental exhaustion of the healthcare workforce. 

Hospitals are facing issues such as operational disruption due to staff quarantine, supply-chain delays and sudden decline in patient footfalls, difficulty in sustaining fixed costs, etc. People are not comfortable getting out of the safety confinements of their homes due to the rising risk of getting infected with the virus. Hospitals will have to reassess their future strategy and budgets in light of the uncertain economic situation.

Preparing for the Future

What can hospitals do to ensure the continuity of their customer-facing operations in the wake of a second Pandemic wave?

Parag: There are many things that hospitals can do to manage themselves in this hour of crisis. Being more digital than what they are would be one step forward for all of them. They can bring their IT systems to the cloud so that the person can access data and manage their work remotely. They can enable their patients to book appointments and enquire about services through apps and chatbots which won’t require them to call the reception or come to the hospital. These are some of the services which hospitals can provide to their customers with minimum physical contact. 

Related: Manipal Hospital’s move to a self-service healthcare mobile application

Hospitals can extend Telehealth services to their patients. Recently, telehealth has proved to be useful especially when there is asymmetry between the number of patients and healthcare providers. I think it will be very useful for healthcare institutions to deploy telehealth solutions to provide medical facilities to people who have so far been outside the benefits of healthcare.

New Expectations in Health Experiences

Is consumer behavior defined by the ‘new normal’ going to change the way we access healthcare from this point on?

Parag: Yes, people will expect a completely different way to access healthcare services from now on. Hospitals should gear-up and rise to this occasion. The pandemic has also provided a new opportunity to adopt a completely different approach in the way healthcare is delivered. They always felt that medical care cannot be provided remotely but now this is happening and people are appreciating remote healthcare services. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are convinced that telehealth and remote care will be more successful soon.

Technology in Healthcare can Bridge Operational Gaps

What are the operational challenges, as far as digital capabilities go, that hospitals are facing currently? And, what steps must they take to bridge these gaps?

Parag: Operational challenges are not just digital challenges. But a lot of these challenges can be addressed with technology. For example, Electronic Health Records which hospitals manage within the premises can be moved to the cloud so that the person can access these records on the cloud itself and need not come to the hospital. 

Related: Medical Image Management: DICOM Images Sharing Process

Secondly, if you deploy telehealth and telemedicine solutions, irrespective of where your patients are or doctors are, hospitals can deliver the required care to its patients. You can even extend your diagnostics services to your patients by giving them an application through which they can seamlessly book appointments for consults, diagnostics, or pathological services and resolve their queries, etc. Simply by giving a seamless interface either through bots or applications can go a long way in providing better health experiences to the customers.

Role of Chatbots in Superior Customer Experiences

According to you, what role does chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence have in the Healthcare CX landscape?

Parag: Chatbots are the simplest example of the implementation of AI-based technology in healthcare. There are a lot of things which bots can do simplistically. For example, if a patient wants to book an appointment with the doctors, instead of going through a complex web applications and interfaces, what if I can simply write “I want to book an appointment with the doctor Dr. XYZ at 4 pm” and the bot can figure out in case the time slot is available with that particular doctor, it will confirm the appointment followed by a payment process if the payment has to be made upfront. 

Apart from this, you can extend your bots to provide e-consultations where doctors can do remote consultations via audio and video features of a chatbot. So there is a huge scope for bots beyond answering routine queries by customers or booking appointments. It does not stop just there. You can extend chatbot functionalities to support functions such as admin, HR, finance, and business process efficiency so that they can provide better services to their customers.

Related: Healthcare Chatbots: Innovative, Efficient, and Low-cost Care

Chatbot Use Cases in Healthcare

Could you tell us some possible bot use cases for delivering better customer experiences to digital health users?

Parag: Apart from booking appointments and resolving customer queries, these bots can conduct remote consultations, internal processes, health symptom checker, out-patient video consultation, second opinion consultation, ordering medicines, psychological counseling & mental wellness, scenario-based risk advice, Heroism Recognition for employees, etc. Also, it can be further extended to help patients enquire about health insurance related queries, and all the interactions between insurance companies and hospitals can be provided to the patient. 

Related: Healthcare & Hospitals Use Cases | Digital Health

The Road Ahead

COVID-19 has forced hospitals to revise patient support strategy with limited operational staff that is bringing every day a new challenge. A way out is to heavily rely on digital innovation.

In India we have a disparity between the no. of healthcare providers and care seekers. Without technology, I don’t think there is any way healthcare institutions will be able to scale to a level where they can provide meaningful services to such a large number of people. Hospitals can invest in setting up an information exchange; making the process as seamless as possible; and removing all possible inefficiencies from the supply chain through technology.

Future growth for hospitals will come from digital technology because patients will opt more for digital platforms. And it is up to hospitals to catch up with the pace at which modern technology is developing. We, at Mantra Labs, have achieved several use cases including hospitals/diagnostic centers that are able to deliver superior health experiences.

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