Cognitive demand and eye tracking studies.
I worked as a Principal Product Designer at Pearl Health, leading product design and working with the Chief Product Officer and Director of Product Strategy to create a new ACO REACH (Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health) management application.
Throughout my 11-month ride at Pearl*, I had a chance to work on many different aspects of the project landscape and make a lasting impact as a their first fulltime Product Designer.
*note: I still consult to Pearl Health on a infrequent ongoing basis
Principal Product Designer
Medical Design System
When I started at Pearl they were off boarding a part-time contractor. They created a workable design accompanied by a style guide.
The challenge did not stem from their design itself. Rather it lay in its failure to align with the future vision expected by both the team for the forthcoming product and project scalability.
Understanding the Need
The goal was to create a new version of an application for small to large medical practices. With time this version would move the core activities from reactive to proactive.
I envisioned an intuitive product for everyone, from a new hire to an industry veteran. The problem was that by trying to create something for everyone, we risked helping no one. So avoiding the design equivalent of an identity crisis became a big focus of mine. Instead, I'd find ways to inject a point of view into the product. By knowing what it wasn't, as well as what it was.
There needed to be constraints so the emerging team (we hired 2-3 people a week) knew which targets to aim at, which meant a whole load of user research.
We met with potential and existing customers, spoke to our growth team, and reviewed the analytics in detail.
Principles of Pearl Design
Pearl's principles helped me throughout the process. Whenever I couldn't work out how to approach a problem, they would get me back on track.
One of our most significant challenges was creating a product with this much power and flexibility that still felt intuitive for users. With so many new features, my first attempts at including them made the whole experience complex.
Articulating a design language that focused on design touchpoints rather than on micro-interactions or visual excitement required finesse. Creating a UI that helps coach users on what to do next without TELLING them what to do next is a very fine line.
Iterations and Implementations
First, I wanted to start with design tokens. I thought Figma would handle this and, with some basic structure, result in a perfect fit. I worked with the front-end developers to roll them out into the app. Unfortunately, at the time, Figma could only manage them with plug-ins and some back-end API coding. We didn't have the luxury of spending the time to learn, implement, or test them.
Moving forward, I created a UI system that worked throughout the application. I based it on Atomic Design, 8pt grid, and Figma components. This change made it remarkably simple for the team to consistently design and implement complex features. Our focus was now on solving the problem rather than worrying about styling and re-inventing the wheel every time.
It doesn't end there
What I've shown above is just a tiny fraction of the project. We designed entire systems to enhance the provider experience and reduce the need to open multiple applications.
Since healthcare is heavily regulated (and rightly so), we also had to manage security and HIPAA with the twist of a national pandemic. On top of that, it works with multiple types of medical offices and communicates expected and actual payments — all part of becoming a recurring payments network for Medicare.
If you'd like a demo, to hear more about the project, or to talk about how I might be able to help you launch a new product, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012-2023 James Young -- Principal Product Designer