CGHE was launched in 2017, as an initiative for hepatitis elimination. The current website was designed by a development firm, at a time when the available data and resources were low. Since then, the orgaization has grown exponentially and now attracts about 2000 new users every month.
The amount of data it has gathered since its initiation has outgrown the current design. The lack of an updated information architecture has led to data being hidden across various nested tabs and a confusing layout.
2 x product managers
1 x product designer
1 x researcher
2 x web developers
1 x social media manager
We collaborated with the Taskforce for Global Health as part of a HCI studio project. I paired up with a researcher to form the UX team. We touched base with the leaders at CGHE once every week, and discussed our designs with their website developement agency once in two months.
As a complete outsider to the space of hepatitis elimination, it was essential to familiarize myself with the language and technical terms used in the field.
Apart from our weekly calls, I reached out to people from the CGHE for short seminars to gather as much information before beginning user research.
Our interview participants ranged from policymakers, to workers in government agencies. Being able to interview people across the globe was a learning experience, and helped us gather findings we hadn’t expected.
I did not notice the HBV and HCV tabs. More detailed prevalence data is available here and useful to me, but I didn't know it was here!
We conducted 6 semi-structured interviews with users located in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. The feedback we recieved revolved around critical usability issues, and features that would better support their analysis.
I ideated 3 concepts that guided the remainder of our project efforts.
From our research responses it seemed like people had various preferences about viewing data. One group of users knew what they wanted and were looking for specific country-related information. On the other hand, the other group of users were exploring and browsing through trends in their countries as well as other countries.
I ideated variations of different concepts keeping these 2 user personas in mind:
Concept 1: Enabling exploration
There were certain users that preferred interacting with the map before navigating to their country. I brainstormed concepts to make better use of the free space in the world map to convey extra information.
Concept 2: Supporting the power users
There were certain users who preferred the PDFs a lot more than dashboards. However, almost all users complained about the length of these PDFs (~10 pages). My solution to this was to allow users to choose what they wanted to view and be able to export the view as a PDF.
Concept 3: Optimizing the layout and navigation
My main concept was geared towards redesigning the dashboard to allow users to explore trends at a glance. Throughout our user interviews we were repeatedly reminded that the current tab layout wasn't intuitive to users. Users also complained about feeling lost and confused while scrolling. My solution to these usability issues were to have a sticky sidebar and top bar to help users retain a sense of navigation.
Given the large amounts of health indicators, I was also keen to hide more complex visualizations and data tables behind a "See more" button to prevent the users from getting overwhelmed while skimming through the dashboard.
After recieving client and developer feedback on my concepts, we designed mid-fidelity prototypes focusing on presenting data through the world map, country dashboard, comparison view.
We talked to users around the world to uncover key usability issues
Everyone always sees what's on the first shot before deciding to scroll further. The current website has a lot of empty space and just navigation.
The data on your prototype jumps right away, and some of the stuff where you've to toggle between tabs, you've consolidated that as much as possible. I like that.
Once we had a mid-fidelity, interactive prototype in place, I designed a study to gather feedback on our key concepts. For our research method, we followed a task-based think aloud usability test.
Users were given a total of 6 tasks, and asked to rate their comfort level on a scale of 1-5 after performing each task.
80% of the users took longer than expected to turn on comparison mode.
60% of the users found it difficult to add indicators to the world map.
All users liked the comparison feature on the map and dashboard.
Users were more comfortable with the new navigation layout.
Having iterated on the prototype primarily from a usability point of view, I went back to testing with users to guage metrics for control, trust & comfort. To test these metrics, I designed tasks that were borrowed from the journey maps I had created in the previous round of research.
Our usability tests suggested that our interactions to add health indicators to the overview box were not obvious enough. In order to make the interaction more obvious to the users, I redesigned the box to include a settings page that would allow them to add or remove health indicators.
Instead of having to hover over another country and viewing comparison reults in the overview box, I included results in another box that appeared on hover, to make the interaction as intuitive and simple as possible.
During usability tests users emphasized that they liked being able to see the most relevant information in the first view. Building onto our progress in that aspect, I added a section that allowed users to get a quick overview of a country before diving deeper into its health data.
In the usability tests, users found it difficult to navigate between the different data views. Some users struggled to switch on the comparison mode. As a result, in the final iteration, I focused on making segementations between different views more clear and central to the experience.
Keeping in line with user feedback in the first round of interviews, I focused on designing simple visualizations that communicated trends over time to users through colors.
Additionally I chose to include unit visualizations wherever possible, as I felt that visualizing the people affected in this way would have more impact.
The exisiting website consists of data visualizations which are hidden deeper in sub tabs. In order to make them more visible and structured, I decided to directly link health indicators from the overview tab to a more detailed view about all data collected on those indicators.
In our user research, there were a group of users that loved being able to print PDFs for their stakeholders meeting. They liked having everything in one place, but however, complained about the length of these reports. This feature allows them to generate their own reports, and be in control of what they are printing.
What I learned from this experience...
This was my first UX project, working with different stakeholders as well as users all around the world. This posed some unique challenges but made it a rewarding experience. Through our client calls, developer meetings, and focus group meetings, I learnt how to take various perspectives into account while designing. We were fortunate to be connected with CGHE's diverse userbase. Talking to users from a diverse list of countries such as Ghana, Gabon, and Moldova, was challenging due to the communication barrier and helped me learn ways to make my research questions more accessible to people around the world.
In our first month, we were overwhelmed by an entirely new space. We didn't know the problems we would be solving for CGHE and nor did we understand several health shortforms that came up in our communications with the CGHE. Using this as an opportunity to learn instead of getting intimidated, we scheduled two hour long calls with the CGHE to give us a seminar on epidemiology and Hepatitis.
As I became more familiar with the space, I found myself enjoying the process of simplifying and organizing the UX of data exploration. Looking back, I feel a sense of satisfaction to have designed user flows for interacting with data at different granularities.