What's the best way to design software that your customers will actually enjoy using?
Ask your users.
It sounds obvious enough, but you would be surprised by how infrequently this perspective is taken into consideration when designing clinical trial software.
When most people think of software "design," they may focus on solely the visual aspects, such as the colors, graphics and font. User experience (UX) design encompasses much more than that. UX design is the process of designing an optimal experience for your users as far as usability, accessibility and overall enjoyment in using the product. When you focus on UX design, you're thinking about the user's entire experience interacting with the software, not just how it looks.
At Bioclinica, we feel that since software is evolving so fast, the user needs to come first because it's essential that they have an enjoyable experience using a platform. The goal of UX design is to put the user first and foremost, allowing users to drive the direction of where the software is going. While user-driven design has been the norm in technology for the past few years, many clinical trial technology companies are behind the curve. Although our team may have opinions internally on how the software should be designed, it's important to focus on what the customer actually says they need instead of just what we think they'll need.
These insights come from talking to our customers. Through their feedback on our products, we can recognize their pain points and use our expertise to develop meaningful solutions. Gathering customer feedback to drive our UX design has been a big focus for us at Bioclinica as we work to enhance our products, particularly our IRT, Trident.
We ask customers questions: What works well with this software, and what doesn't? Do you get hung up on any particular tasks? Do you have any trouble finding what you need? If you could have one functionality in the software that you don't currently have, what would it be? Once we hear those insights from our customers directly, we can apply our own design knowledge to determine solutions they need—but maybe didn't realize were possible.
To create a truly user-centered design, it's important to ask questions in order to understand your customer's environment and how they work. How, where and when are they using the software on a day-to-day basis? Often even the simplest details will uncover the most valuable insights.
For example, we recently talked to one of our customers, a site user who is using Trident for her studies. We talked through her work environment—Does she spend most of her time sitting at a desk, or is she walking around all day? Does she often bring her laptop with her to meetings? When subjects come in, do they sit in a meeting room akin to a normal doctor's office? Does she greet and see subjects there, or does she administer the drug and walk back to her computer to enter in information? If the site user is walking around most of the day and may need to enter information into Trident on the spot, having a tablet-based platform may better meet her needs.
We firmly believe that in the modern-day era of applications, user-centered design wins out. In the increasingly complex world of clinical trials, we at Bioclinica will continue to put the users first. If you're interested in learning more about UX design or if you're a current Bioclinica customer who wants to share their feedback on any of our products, please reach out to Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to hear from you.