Mobile UX/UI: Field Examination App
Nominated for the 2015 Health and Human Services (HHS) Innovation Award
Field examinations of our national food supply are vital to citizens' health and well-being. Field officers' examination process was error-prone because data collection was mostly a "pen to paper" task and data is entered into an old and complex system after the examination process. This process, being very manual and time-sensitive, was riddled with inefficiencies that reduced the amount of field work that can be performed daily by field officers.
My team was tasked with developing a solution that would remove inefficiencies in the field examination and inspection process. One of these solutions included developing an application that would reduce the investigation time for field officers. I developed a methodology with the client for a human-centered design approach to building an effective solution.
Field officers need a way to conduct field examinations faster and more efficiently because the demand for field work has grown beyond their capacity to complete this work in a timely and accurate manner with the current process.
I formed 2 integrated product teams (IPT) of field officers from across the nation and other stakeholders (including executives and sponsors) to understand the current workflow and challenges of the field examination process from an end user and business perspective. We conducted system walkthroughs and process workflow reviews to develop an AS-IS view of the field work, data collection process, data entry activities, system interactions/interfaces, and reporting requirements.
Empathize and Observation
I assisted 2 field officers on a domestic examination to observe the end-to-end workflow of data collection, observe the working conditions and environment, and to talk informally with other field staff. I immersed myself in the experience of being a field officer to get the understanding of how labor intensive and process driven their work is.
Design and Iterate
I facilitated weekly design reviews with mockups to refine the needs of the users. I discovered that field officers needed 3 key features to be effective in the field:
- A mobile application that eliminates the need for printing documentation before the examination and reduces manual data entry after the examination.
- An ability to research items while conducting examinations and add notes that would be acceptable by law.
- Enable mandatory activities in the field including label printing, capturing media (i.e. images, video, audio), and online access to system databases.
These key features would allow user to conduct most examinations from end-to-end in the field without having to return to office to complete their investigation.
Prototype and Test
As I continued to finalize the details of the design, I developed a high-fidelity prototype to conceptualize the application framework and style guide. I directed the changes of the requirements and project scope through a collaborative ideation with the IPT/users. We continued to test the functionality and design of the app to get to the simplest requirements for the first phase of our field examination modernization project.