The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably transformed the workplace landscape, ushering in an era of remote work and hybrid office arrangements. As organizations adapt to this new reality, the need for efficient workspace management tools has become paramount. This is where my Microsoft Teams app, 'Places' steps in.
Beyond Empty Desks: Maximizing Workspace Efficiency
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a paradigm shift swept across the corporate landscape, as organizations embraced remote work arrangements, offering employees the flexibility to work from home for a portion of the week. However, this transition posed a unique challenge: how to effectively manage office space in an era of fluctuating occupancy. ti&m AG recognized this challenge as an opportunity to develop the Microsoft application "Places" that empowers organizations to optimize their workspace utilization.
Designing a new product in an agile environment
Operating as a startup venture within ti&m AG, the 'Places' team adopted an agile approach, releasing an initial MVP and subsequently embracing a continuous delivery model. This ensured a steady stream of new features and enhancements, keeping the app in sync with evolving user needs.
As the leading designer embedded within the team of engineers, my responsibilities encompassed establishing a cohesive design language, crafting a comprehensive design system, conducting user research, providing guidance and mentorship to the junior designer on the team and managing the abundance of feature ideas from the passionate product owner.
Book your favourite spot in the office
In a sea of workstations, 'Places' is guiding employees towards their ideal workplace. Based on past booking patterns, accessibility requirements, and team affiliations, 'Places' suggests workspaces tailored to individual needs. A touch of playfulness is added by highlighting the most popular desk, sparking curiosity and encouraging employees to explore different workspace options.
Tailored for diverse workspace realities
In order to offer a competitive solution, 'Places' distinguishes itself with its adaptability and customization capabilities, catering to the unique needs of various workspace realities. Employers can tailor the booking options to suit their specific requirements, enabling employees to reserve desks for a full day, choose from predefined time slots, or select a custom time frame based on their needs. Extending its versatility beyond workspaces, 'Places' also facilitates the management of parking spaces.
BLPK (Basellandschaftliche Pensionskasse) embarked on a project to revamp their client portal, with a primary focus on enhancing user experience. At the heart of the portal lies a pension simulator, designed to provide users with a clear and insightful projection of their second-pillar pension earnings. This transformation aims to help individuals better understand the financial aspect of their retirement, thereby ensuring a more informed and secure future.
How might we make a dry but important topic more engaging?
Complicated rules and exceptional cases make it almost impossible for laypersons to understand how they can optimize their pension funds. The subject of retirement provision is often postponed, and most people deal with it too late.
To address this challenge, the project sought to define what is desirable, viable, and feasible. After the kick-off workshop, I created user stories. Some of the ideas from the workshop turned out to be too difficult to implement within a realistic budget.
The current state of your pension always on display
The new customer portal offers users a continuous snapshot of their current pension status, accompanied by a user-friendly pension forecast. Moreover, users can access and review saved pension simulations, as well as create additional scenarios for a more comprehensive and informed perspective.
Dynamic pension simulation for informed planning
Within the real-time pension simulator, users can explore diverse future scenarios, gaining valuable insights into the potential impact of adjustments like salary changes or early retirement decisions on their projected funds.
The landscape of business interactions was transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Talking to a relationship manager remotely has become a service that people expect. In response to this evolving need, Migros Bank has taken the initiative to provide its customers with the option to receive financial advice through video calls.
Creating a seamless user experience in a remote setting
The concept of a remote financial advice service had been lingering in the pipeline for some time. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project's urgency was heightened, demanding swift implementation. Thanks our compact project team, consisting of a project manager, a developer and me as a designer, we were able to implement solution quickly.
A seamless user experience thanks to the attention to detail
Creating a user interface to start a video call might not seem very complex. However, there are many possible dead ends, if the UI is not designed carefully. We had to consider things like access rights procedures for different browsers, video formats sent by Skype for Business and the design of confirmation emails.
Navigating a multitude of software applications is an integral part of the daily routine for Hôpital du Valais staff. For nurses and physicians, the electronic medical record (EMR) serves as the primary point of interaction. While the EMR software was acquired from an external vendor, it allows for the integration of custom web applications.
Unveiling hidden insights through a user-centric approach
Previously, software projects at the hospital were often initiated without the benefit of field research. Requirements were typically gathered through extended meetings between developers and user representatives, potentially overlooking the intricacies of real-world usage." Fortunately, this time we were granted the opportunity to observe individuals in their workplace and conduct in-depth interviews, unveiling valuable insights that would have otherwise remained hidden.
Our findings revealed several key areas for improvement:
- Software designed for silos: Crucial patient information was often trapped within individual departments or professional groups, hindering effective collaboration and patient care.
- Unstructured data dilemma: Doctors' tendency to dictate or write medical information in lengthy paragraphs made it challenging to extract and reuse specific data points, limiting the potential for data-driven insights.
- Patient Exclusion from Medical Records: Elderly patients, in particular, faced difficulties in managing their medical information and keeping track of appointments.
A user journey map showing pain points a patient might experience when visiting the hospital.
A user journey map visualising inefficient steps in the workflow of a secretary.
Building less but better
Any staff member of the Hôpital du Valais had the possibility to request the development of new forms for the EMR. This led to an overwhelming backlog and a proliferation of forms (over 900), each catering only to a limited user group. To address this inefficiency, I undertook a comprehensive mapping of existing forms, identifying those with overlapping functionalities that could be consolidated into a single, unified web application.
Unlocking data's potential with FHIR
The current forms require doctors and nurses to input the same data multiple times. Simultaneously, this valuable data remains underutilized, lacking integration into broader contexts, statistical analyses, or automated summaries. To address this inefficiency, we embraced the FHIR framework, enabling us to establish meaningful relationships between disparate data points within patient medical records. For instance, if a transfusion reaction is documented on the transfusion form, it could be automatically displayed as a "Complication" on the problem list.
Establishing consistent rules and interaction patterns to ease cognitive load
To achieve a quick win with a potentially significant impact on medical staff productivity, I standardized the presentation of recurring information. This involved creating a consistent layout featuring a header section for page-related tasks such as 'print' and 'help,' and a sidebar displaying critical patient information like 'allergies' and 'reanimation status', that had to be visible at all times.
The decision to adopt Google Material Design and Angular Material as our framework was a pragmatic one, driven by Material Design's inherent suitability for both desktop and touch interfaces, its widespread adoption, and its ability to expedite the development process.
From a collection of digitized forms to modern software
This project paved the way for a pipeline of web applications that will be developed and implemented in a phased approach. The key improvements we achieved include:
- Fewer applications for more users: By incorporating effective filtering, search functions, and improved UI design, we eliminated the need for separate forms catering to individual user groups. This consolidation fosters cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing and reduces redundant documentation.
- Minimizing cognitive burden with standardized interaction design: Enabling users to locate recurring information effortlessly and consistently reduces frustration and accelerates onboarding for those transitioning to new roles within the hospital.
- Unlocking data's value through meaningful connections: Repurposing data across different contexts amplifies the value of each data input and streamlines workflows, saving valuable time for healthcare professionals.
- Empowering users with accessible help: Providing accessible information on application usage reduces reliance on IT support, freeing up resources for further product development and innovation.
'Hospital stay' gives a high-level overview over the patients encounters with the hospital. The card-based design allows to add modules for specific departments if needed.
The 'problem list' shows all of the patients conditions and is shared across departments. Drag and drop allows to quickly change the category of a problem.
A chronological feed of notes about a patient, that can be filtered and searched.
At the Hôpital du Valais, doctors and nurses rely on desktop computers or laptops on trolleys to access patient information and perform clinical tasks. However, the hospital had decided to run a pilot-project to understand how mobile phones could streamline processes and enhance communication.
Are mobile phones just gadgets or can they improve workflows?
Rather than replicating the entire medical record on a mobile device, we focused on utilizing unique mobile phone features like the camera, barcode scanner, and mobility to enhance specific workflows. This approach enabled us to develop a lean mobile application for a pilot project, offering a few shared devices on each floor that nurses could access when performing the targeted task.
Understanding nurses’ workflows
I had the chance to immerse myself in the daily routines of nurses for a week, I observed their tasks and engaged in insightful coffee break conversations. Some of the challenges I have observed:
- Digital and non-digital task switching: Nurses often switch between digital and non-digital tasks, sometimes resorting to temporary paper notes due to time constraints or limited computer availability.
- Inadequate hardware: Nurses rely on laptops on trolleys as their primary mobile devices. However, these trolleys are not designed for transporting medical supplies, forcing nurses to maneuver multiple trolleys and equipment, creating inefficiencies and hindering their mobility.
- Task- instead of patient-based workflows: Workdays are organized by tasks rather than patients, resulting in nurses completing one task (e.g.: handing out medication) for all patients before moving to the next task.
- Nurse-devised workarounds: To compensate for technology limitations, nurses print patient lists and take notes on paper throughout the day.
Streamlining the blood transfusion workflow with mobile technology
The blood transfusion process involves multiple identity checks, traditionally requiring two nurses to ensure patient safety. Additionally, space constraints at the patient's bedside and the need to maneuver two trolleys – one with equipment and one with a laptop for documentation – add to the complexity.
Our mobile app leverages barcode scanning to streamline identity checks, enabling a single nurse to quickly verify patient and blood product details, enhancing both speed and patient safety. The app also eliminates the need for a laptop trolley, reducing clutter and improving maneuverability.
The mobile app's design seamlessly aligns with the desktop application for blood transfusions, ensuring a consistent user experience.