February 20, 2024

Building Trust in a Race Against Time: Designing a Health Matching Platform

About the project

Medatus is a matching platform that connects health seekers with healthcare providers. Its main feature is a questionnaire that assists patients in identifying the required service based on their symptoms and then helps them find a specific health provider.

Customer request

The first problem we encountered was choosing a design strategy. The clients already had a clear vision for the product, including its functionality and design files for both the platform provider and the website. However, they made the mistake of hiring an incompetent design team that struggled with basic patterns and created unnecessary designs. We quickly assessed the files and determined what could be kept or improved.

Initially, the client wanted us to create a design system and update all the screens based on the existing design. We proposed starting from scratch, which would have been faster than fixing the incomplete designs. After some thought, they agreed to a fresh start with a new design and a detailed design system. The design system was crucial for the project’s success since their development team consisted of two junior developers and one product owner. Therefore, a comprehensive documentation of each component’s functionality was necessary for the design system.

Design strategy: Starting Fresh

In this project, we did not conduct a Discovery stage due to client’s preparedness and budget constraints.

  • The project was related to familar to us e-commerce in the healthcare niche.
  • The clients provided a list of indirect competitors and proto-personas of the target audience.

However, we still analyzed the User Flow and Information Architecture to understand the scope and logic.

We only created wireframes for specific functionality, skipping the overall wireframe design as the task was quite clear. This decision helped speed up the process and accommodate the client’s tight budget and launch ambitions after a failed design attempt by another vendor.

Although we minimized the budget by skipping wireframes, the client provided hand-drawn sketches to explain the product’s logic. Understanding the client’s hand-drawn wireframes was challenging, especially since they had to redo it due to the previous design team’s actions. This disrupted a bit our usual workflow of creating wireframes after understanding the user flows and overall logic.

Client’s Vision Realised

We first designed the provider platform for doctors to register, introduce their practice, and describe their services. Then, we developed the website where health seekers can search for services and doctors by interacting with a questionnaire.

The unique feature of the matching platform is the questionnaire that helps health seekers find relevant services and providers. Instead of directly searching for services, health seekers can take the questionnaire to select their health complaints, answer relevant questions, and then match with suitable services. When choosing a service, they can compare how different providers perform the service.

Initially, we suggested faster ways for health seekers to find provider contact information, but the client insisted on their vision. We respected their decision and designed the platform accordingly, with a promise to revisit after user testing. Client returned after testing to apply the approach we suggested earlier — data-driven decision making in action.

Design Challenges: Trust Issues and Multilingual Design

1. Overcoming Mistrust

Clients initially lacked trust in us due to their previous experience with the design team. They closely monitored our real-time design process in Figma, which made us feel uneasy. However, after we expressed our discomfort, clients began to change their behavior. Additionally, they were satisfied with our initial results and the progress we made.

2. Multilingual Design Hurdles

We initially designed the platform in English, but it had to be translated into German. German language has long words, so when we received the German copy for screens designed in English, some components would not work properly. We had to redo the German design separately. This resulted in four files: Desktop English, Mobile English, Desktop German, and Mobile German. Making any adjustment required correcting all four files, which demanded attention to detail. We taught the client the basics of Figma, so they could translate the copy themselves while we ensured design consistency.

3. Crafting a Seamless User Experience

Regarding UX/UI design, the most challenging part was the matching flow. Initially, we envisioned it as a simple yes or no questionnaire that appeared as a narrow and bright strip in the middle of the page. It immediately caught the user’s attention and displayed the search results below the questionnaire. However, we faced the challenge of accommodating a large number of answers suggested by the clients. After considering various options, we developed a concise solution that emphasized the product’s unique selling proposition and provided a seamless user experience.

4. Innovating within constraints

Innovation is possible even with a limited budget and style constraints. The clients requested an upgrade to the old illustrations without a complete redesign. They were attached to the old style but recognized the need for a refresh. Our challenge was to improve the illustrations while considering cost efficiency and limitations. The refreshed illustrations now include added faces, giving them unique personalities.

Paved the Way for Success

1. Rapid Momentum through Effective Feedback

Thanks to prompt feedback from our clients throughout the project, we were able to maintain rapid momentum. Timely feedback is crucial for projects like Medatus to stay on track. The founders actively engaged with us in Figma calls where they provided valuable insights or sought clarification on specific aspects of our designs. This balance between communication and design allowed us to proceed smoothly while incorporating new perspectives into our work.

2. Fostering Co-Creation

This was possibly the most collaborative project in terms of client-agency relationships as well as inner agency dynamics. Our product and creative teams worked simultaneously together on the website, unlike the usual flow in which product and web are separate between the two teams.
As we designed, clients provided continuous feedback, creating an environment of co-design. We welcomed their ideas and engaged in open discussions to ensure that we delivered a classy and modern product while also fostering a positive working relationship. Our collaborative approach resulted in a design process that was far removed from their previous nightmarish experience.

The recipe to build trust

1. Agile Problem Solving

We usually have weekly calls with the client and the communicate the rest in Slack. At this project the founders often called us right in Figma, although we do not usually practice this as it can be overwhelming. Whenever clients thought something was not going as expected, or wanted to ask for recommendations — they called us and we resolved issues on the fly.

2. Empathy in Client-Agency Relations

Building empathy is crucial for establishing trust with clients, especially those with previous negative experiences. It can be stressful for clients to hire a new design agency, especially if it is located in Ukraine where there is a war. Clients naturally want to have control and ensure that everything is done correctly and efficiently. Moreover, as we learned the startup founder’s life can be demanding due to the sleepless nights and constant rush.
By understanding the clients’ backstory, we gained a new perspective on their need for control and realized their passion for the project. They simply want the best for their product and are committed to its success. It’s not about micromanaging or dictating how things should be done, but rather caring about the end result.

3. Dedication

As we demonstrated our dedication, openness, and focus on user interests, the clients began to trust us more and let go of their grip on the project. They even decided to expand the scope to include both the platform and website, allocating additional budget. We felt a great sense of responsibility and appreciation for the startup and our work. What touched us the most was when the client started learning Ukrainian and practicing with us during our calls.

Lessons of Collaboration

Medatus provided us with valuable lessons on designing more mature design systems than ever before. With a development team consisting of junior developers who required detailed explanations of component functionality, we delved deeper into component anatomy, rules, and areas of use. We analyzed each part of the design system in real-time interaction rather than relying solely on static mockups. As a result, our design systems evolved from mere component guides or UI kits to comprehensive and mature frameworks.

Empowering Startups: Fulfilling Dreams with a Budget

We focused on improving our deliverable standards and adopting a client-centered structure for design files. Clients valued organization and structure, so we adjusted everything to align with their workflow. We automated layouts as per their request to enable easy editing. The clients received well-structured, clean files with completed designs that they could implement immediately and modify as needed.

Despite the project’s dynamic nature and discovery of new features, we completed it quickly. We understood the founders’ financial constraints and aimed to deliver maximum value in minimal time. The clients appreciated our work and approach in helping their startup succeed!