Huddol is a new platform designed to meet the complex needs of family caregivers. My role was to convert the founder’s vision for the platform into a concrete plan, developing a site that useful to caregivers and financially viable.

Background Research: Interviews and Surveys

I began this project by learning about the caregiver experience. I read widely, talked to caregivers in my network, and discussed the domain with the project founder to formulate a set of research questions on caregiver needs.

To investigate these questions, we began with contextual research. We spoke to caregivers, professionals that work with them, and potential clients. Informed by our interviews, we surveyed a group of caregivers.

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.

Another section of the survey rated interest in different types of site functionality. Rather than talking to peers, respondents revealed a strong desire to connect with experts and find educational programs.

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.

Research with potential clients also informed our plans. 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.

Based on our interviews and survey findings, we refocused the platform’s design and business model. Huddol will be 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.

Building the Platform: Prototype Testing, Site Functionality, User Flows

In order to develop our recommendation system, I evaluated the questions we will ask on the platform as users enroll. I conducted a cognitive walkthrough of the items with caregivers and professionals. We then circulated our questions to potential clients to gather a final round of feedback. I integrated the feedback to design the enrollment process.

Prototype Survey

I synthesized the research to date and drafted user flows and functional specs. Together with the founder and UI designer, I detailed how the system should behave.

Privacy Concerns

Privacy issues are central to healthcare. Building on my academic research in this area, I drafted the site’s privacy policy, user agreement, and data model to be vetted and finalized by a privacy expert. The platform begins beta testing in February 2017.