Product Design

I helped an active care company to match families to their perfect carer. Creating products that make it easy for clients to age healthily and gracefully.

Beginning at the end

Lifted's core mission is to create care technology that 'lifts lives'. With unfiltered, internal assumptions making it hard to build robust features. I held cross-functional design workshops in person and in Miro to help our team to kick off a project with a shared vision.

It's not always possible to run a full Google Sprint workshop. So I often cherry pick exercises from the playbook. At a company with huge amounts of embedded care domain knowledge, I reach for expert interviews, reframing problems into 'How might we' statements, grouping and dot voting to define the problem space live in the room!

By this point usually attendees have started to reframe problems and build themes in their mind. I put them into balanced teams and we start sketching out concepts. Consolidating and reviewing each others designs, this creates a shared vision and allows us to work backwards by beginning at the end.

Adding weight

Ideation in the workshop took us very wide and it's very important to put the group's thinking to the test. As an output from the workshop, I would create a bank of key priorities for clients, carers and regulators. For example, following the Care Plan redesign workshop we knew we had to create 'an engaging and usable resource for carers'.

Next, blending the workshop sketches and priorities I create a process flow in FigJam which can be validated against customer insights. This works really well to ensure we are taking forward ideas that advocate for the end user. On the Care Plan project I also developed a schema that helps to orient the development team on the structure of information and potential implementation challenges.

The secret sauce

With a robust design system waiting patiently we confidently convert our process flows into low-fidelity prototypes. I jump into my fifth limb Figma to develop components, patterns and layouts that give the user the best chance of completing the page goal. Members from the workshop are kept in the loop via slack updates and we pitch MVP/Out Of Scope features to Senior Leadership Team in separate meetings.

Another validation ritual we usually employ at this stage is working with CQC regulatory consultants. To release features like eMAR, a service where carers can log clients medication we need to make sure we get things right. We share prototypes and simulate scenarios with the Consultants to stress test our thinking and ensure the experience is safe for end users.

Bringing experiences to life

Now the wireframes have been validated internally and by regulators we are able to move to high fidelity design. A design system with iOS and Android guidelines (baked in) is applied to the app MVP and when needed our Tailwind-inspired web components are applied to dashboard tools. As the sole designer at Lifted, I'm able to make sure components, theming and feel is consistent from editable print design in Canva to our final Flutter builds.

High-fidelity prototypes are ready to be split into multi-variant prototypes to test with actual Carers and families. A relaxed atmosphere will help to get the best insights from our candidates. We open the UAT sessions with intros and context questions to gauge their fit for the user we had in mind during discovery. Observing the test candidate on their split of the MVT test, we give them simple goals and note down all of their observations. I like to close by asking for additional thoughts no matter how aspirational. This is usually invaluable as the end user isn't aware of the same internal constraints we may have.

The user feedback gets consolidated into a notion database and we often iterate the test prototype 4-6 times depending on project length.

'Check in' User testing with one of our lovely Carers

Finishing touches

With limited capacity across design channels I on tools that will integrate simply into my developers workflows. In particular Rive is an efficient way I can introduce some timely motion into the deliverables. Giving me the essential features of After Effects it's run times integrate with Flutter amazingly. The final interaction provides some excitement and haptic feedback for the user at the right point in the flow.

With a background in illustration I also assemble original vector graphics in Figma with consistent motifs to progress the app theme and create stronger visual harmony.

The impact of design

Lifted has not picked an easy business model for a start-up. Producing robust cross-platform apps while running an active care company day-day-to-day takes a whole lot of work. Picking the right product rituals and becoming an expert at 'designing the right thing at the right time' was my way of helping the team. Since I've started we have been recognised with a Human-Centred Design Grant, Laing Buisson Award for Innovation in Care and two HomeCare Awards.

I joined Lifted after my family went through an experience of Council Care, allowing my Grandfather to pass on in the peace of his own home. So on a personal level the biggest impact from me is hearing reviews from customers. One family in particular some 250 miles apart were able to keep their loved one independent in their own home and benefit from our app to experience the joyful moments. I can truly say I am helping to change the face of home care.