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How to craft more empathetic experiences in healthcare — a UX analysis


Empathetic UX Design in Healthcare

Examining how empathy can be fostered through the review of Curable App

Empathy is of paramount importance in UX. Its relevance and need in the field of healthcare is exponentially more. While it goes without saying that the user needs to be placed at the centre of design decisions, there is a long way to go in crafting good UX for healthcare. Out of the multitude of apps that exist, very few are successful in carving a niche for themselves and it is pivotal to understand what they are doing right. One such app is Curable.

What is the Curable app?

Curable is an online pain psychology program. The Curable app provides evidence-based chronic pain therapy in your pocket. It uses a combination of pain science education and research-backed techniques to address pain from every angle.”

There has always existed tonnes of information on the web regarding chronic pain and its treatment. Curable has done the much needed and commendable job of bringing together such quality information at a reasonable price to the finger tips of ‘pain warriors’.

What can we learn from it?

1. Conversational AI to guide the user through the journey

Every Curable user gets access to Clara, a virtual pain coach. Interacting with Clara is like text messaging a friend who understands your pain, has scientific information at her fingertips, and sends interesting new lessons and exercises. As a companion who helps people overcome chronic pain, this is Conversational AI being put to great use.

Learning: Providing the human touch through Conversational AI helps users feel like they have a friendly companion and thus connect with the app.

2. Succinct UX writing and customised pain management program

Healthcare UX tends to people with different ailments. Through a series of questions (which indicates good UX writing), it understands the underlying stressors which result in pain and then offers a customised program.

Learning: While designing a healthcare app, it is imperative to understand that users will have varying health concerns which should be attended to. Thus, a specialist over generalist approach should be preferred.

3. Accessibility

It goes without saying that accessibility is one of the most important aspects of healthcare UX. As evident, the app lets users alter font sizes, provides option for one handed control and the most important option — dark mode for photosensitivity, it makes a real effort to understand concerns of users which is indicative of very high empathy in its UX.

Learning: Understand the accessibility concerns that potential users of the app might face and then design the necessary considerations.

4. Crafting a delightful experience

Putting a little smile on your face when you don’t feel the best is very important in good healthcare UX. Curable provides a delightful experience through clever wordplay, puns and sitcom GIFs, providing a much needed comic relief in their battle against chronic pain.

Learning: Help users to get out of the rut of their problems through providing an experience with delightful graphics, animation and writing that helps them feel better.

5. Progress Report / Recognition over Recall

By displaying a RoadMap of the exercises that the user has taken, the app helps to track progress and mark the exercises which were particularly helpful, thus not straining their long term memory.

Learning: The main reason that users are using the app is to improve their condition. Hence, it is essential to show the users the progress they make to highlight their personal victory. Also, by making such important information prominent, it helps users by not taxing their memory.

6. The SOS for pain flare ups

Users can go to the ‘Panic Mode’ during their pain flare ups to undertake activities that would lessen their pain/calm their mind. The dark UI and again, excellent UX writing in this mode reflects the app’s attention to detail.

Learning: Make a provision for SOS mode when designing for specific health ailments as the care and guidance needed during a flare up is different from the usual days.

The state of UX in healthcare needs a revolution. As a UX designer and a happy user of the Curable app, I am very glad that this app really does the work in the most empathetic and user friendly way as possible.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to promote the Curable app.

I am interested in exploring UX in the healthcare field and would be glad to have conversations over the same. Cheers!


How to craft more empathetic experiences in healthcare — a UX analysis was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.