Huddol is a platform designed to meet the complex needs of informal caregivers. My role was to develop the functional specifications of the platform based on conversations with the founder and UX research.
- What are the primary informational needs of informal caregivers?
- What are their primary practical needs?
- What are the needs of potential customers from such a platform?
- Online research. While caregiving is not well understood, academic and industry research sheds light on the needs and opportunities available in for this growing segment of the population. I read widely to situate our work.
- Structured interviews with caregivers, professionals and potential customers. Based on my understanding, I developed interview protocols. I conducted formal interviews with caregivers, nurses and social workers. And, we held more informal discussions with pharmaceutical companies and service providers.
- A caregiver survey. Building upon the interviews, I conducted a survey of a broader group of caregivers which included open and closed-ended questions.
- Prototype testing. After synthesizing our findings, I developed and tested low fidelity prototypes of our recommendation system. I conducted user tests based on a cognitive walkthrough approach to iterate upon the designs.
In open-ended questions, respondents expressed disorientation and discussed a need to simplify their search for services. One respondent stated this clearly:
An integrated approach to resources — caregivers do not have time to do all the searching and calling of caregiving organizations, touring of care homes, etc. The actual administration of all this is a full-time job in itself that goes unrecognized.
Rather than interest in talking to peers, respondents revealed a strong desire to connect with experts and find educational programs. See chart below.
Although we had been thinking about the site as primarily a peer network, this research shifted our thinking. It suggested the need to have experts tightly integrated into the platform. Access to experts is now a core part of the business model.
Interviews with companies and government agencies pointed to a lack of data in evaluating treatment options. Research partners revealed the sorts of data they would like to access through the site, allowing us to identify measures worth tracking.
Prototype testing informed the phrasing and presentation of information.
Based on our interviews and survey findings, we refocused the platform’s design and business model and built a platform.
I drafted user flows and functional specs. Together with the founder and UI designer, I detailed how the system should behave.
Huddol is a smart, social network providing personalized recommendations that connect users to experts, peers, and “networks of care,” while aggregating data to inform policy and research.