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WebMD


A more personal online health experience

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WebMD


A more personal online health experience

CHALLENGE

Trust in WebMD is declining, as users are overwhelmed with too much & irrelevant information, as well as impersonal and annoying advertising.

INSIGHT

As many doctors themselves will testify, no one doctor knows everything about health. At the same time, no one knows their own health quite like themselves. WebMD bridges this divide, allowing individuals to consult a community of medical resources anytime, anywhere.

SOLUTION

We redesigned WebMD's site experience to be centered around the user's personal health. By improving content discoverability and consistency, WebMD can gain back its credibility and user trust. 


"I CAME TO WEBMD WITH A SYMPTOM AND LEFT WITH ONE MORE - A HEADACHE."


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Process


Process


ROLE: UX Researcher & Designer

TEAM MEMBERS: Alyssa Bautista & Kelsi Harris

PROJECT DURATION: 2 week conceptual group project, 1 week solo UX design as part of General Assembly's User Experience Design Immersive

SKILLS: Research, Empathy & Journey Mapping, Teamwork

TOOLS: Paper, Pencil, Pens, Axure, Illustrator

DELIVERABLES: Personas, User Flows, Sketches, Sitemap, Wireframes, Interactive Prototype, Presentation

# OF HYPOCHONDRIACAL SCARES: 10


In a conceptual design challenge at General Assembly, our team of three UX Designers set out to redesign the user experience of the most popular online health destination - WebMD.


METHODS

START WITH A SURVEY

We surveyed 66 respondents, finding that nearly everyone seeks health information online, often at least once a month. 

 

BUSINESS CLIMATE ANALYSIS

WebMD's user experience issues are well-documented. Competition in the e-health space is growing, and the website is trailing behind.

 
 

WebMD's main competitors are Yahoo Health, the Mayo Clinic, Healthline and HealthiNation. All offer a better experience to their users- simpler, cleaner navigation and an emphasis on healthy living and wellness.

There are also hundreds of mobile apps and online tools for tracking diet, exercise, medication, personal symptoms and more. Users are overwhelmed with choice- but there's little integration between the many services.

 

A SICKENING USER EXPERIENCE

Observations of 6 users interacting with the existing WebMD site solidified our understanding of the site's pain points:

Overwhelming homepage prompting immediate dissatisfaction

Content is inconsistent across pages & often irrelevant to what users are seeking

Massive search results (200+) making it difficult & time-consuming to find answers to simple questions

MyWebMD account is difficult to discover

IT'S ABOUT HOW THE USERS FEEL

In six additional user interviews, we gathered three key insights:

1

Everyone cares about living a healthy lifestyle

2

Overwhelming info & ads lessen credibility & trust

3

Users expect sites to be simple, fast and reliable

When asked which sites feel like they were "made for them", interviewees mentioned sites like Airbnb & Candy Crush. These sites feel intuitive & intimate not because of obvious personal features- but because of how they make the user feel.

                                                                  Interview highlights

TOP PRIORITIES

While WebMD's apps & mobile website are restricted by the medium to prioritize information delivered to its users in a single-column format, the desktop site clearly needs the most work as its content strategy continues to overwhelm users.

WebMD's information architecture needs to be refined & simplified to provide reliable, consistent information that meets the primary needs of its users first, and serve as an online health news resource second.

                                                                Feature Prioritization

AN INTERSECTIONAL APPROACH TO PERSONAS

To guide our design ideation, we created three personas illustrating the recurring patterns found with our research participants. WebMD users range in age, comfort with technology, health, income and needs. But they all had one thing in common: they came online in search of information and help.

Realizing that life is never simple, we anticipated user scenarios common to those we heard expressed in our user research: people feeling burdened with multiple sources of stress in their lives prior to even visiting the site. The last thing they want is to be sick, and they want to be reassured and have their questions answered quickly. 

SEEING THE BIG PICTURE

I mapped out the current site structure and overwhelming navigation and created an alternate concept model for the redesign that centered around a personal, clear experience.

 
 

VALIDATING DESIGNS

Multiple design studios yielded a new site map and rough sketches which were evaluated in six usability testing sessions.

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Solution


Solution


By bringing personal health and wellness to the foreground and providing a consistent experience across the site's vast wealth of information, we believe WebMD will increase user acquisition, retention and overall trust in the WebMD brand. 

 

Key Improvements:

Welcoming, calming homepage - because they're stressed out already!

Simplified navigation - reflecting the most-visited sections of the site (to be verified with Google Analytics)

Focus on healthy living - regardless of demographics or health status, all research participants were interested in living healthier lives

Showcasing of existing WebMD tools - (Symptom Checker, Pill Finder, etc.), centralized in key navigation rather than buried in site architecture

Personal voice - further emphasized throughout the site (you, we, etc.)

Standardized & simplified content - modeled off medical textbooks & encyclopedias to improve credibility

Highlighting of MyWebMD profile with new health portal - featuring customized news feed, existing WebMD health tools & syncing with outside services

Native advertising - to further increase trust in WebMD brand

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

next steps

As stated in the feature prioritization, WebMD's primary focus should be provide its users with the information they are seeking in a clean, trustworthy format. Secondarily, however, the site holds a wealth of news & content that should be strategically showcased throughout the site. 

  • A full site audit - will allow us to further strategize content delivery & placement
  • Business strategy refinement - there's an exciting opportunity in native advertising from the growing E-Health sphere. WebMD, being a top name in online health information, would be the perfect place for users to discover & review these services. 
  • Further usability testing - How does the site compare to the old experience? Is there more than can be done to the health portal to increase personalization & trust?
 

learnings

Nothing's more personal than your health, and the health of your loved ones.

Great UX isn't in competition with, but can rather increase profitability —

websites have changed a lot over the years. But web-advertising has been slow to catch up. A short, curated ad can yield a greater ROI than an invasive, flashy and disruptive pop-up. Everyone wins!

In the terrain of health and personalized, smart experiences - privacy, the principles of Universal Design, and accounting for edge cases is crucial. WebMD's user base is vastly diverse, and a personalized experience should be welcoming, not disconcerting, and not make assumptions about the user.