We’ve Updated Our App UI Design—Here’s Why.
Evan Minamoto has been at the helm of PeerWell’s design since 2014. As a co-founder of PeerWell, Evan’s vision has lived in the branding and design of our product since Day 1. And now, Evan has led the first major overhaul of PeerWell’s user experience (UX) in our patient-facing app.
We sat down with Evan, VP of Design, to chat about the inspiration behind PeerWell’s design, how the UI has evolved, and why it was time to give the app a facelift.
Q: Tell us a little bit about how the more unique parts of PeerWell’s brand came to be.
Evan: I’m assuming you’re talking about our characters. Back in 2014, we were working with a writer who used some stick figures to explain a point she was trying to make. The stick figures weren’t meant to be her main point, but we all liked the friendly light heartedness. Inspired by those original stick figures, the PeerWell characters gave us a way to illustrate complicated, sometimes scary, material in a friendly way.
Our programs are always upbeat and infused with humor to help people get through the challenges of getting better. We do our best to make a tough effort feel manageable and hopefully a little fun.
Our palette is still bright pastels because they’re upbeat and friendly. We want people to get ready to heal, so we convey this positive attitude throughout our brand and product.
Everything we design works together to present a consistent look and feel that supports healing.
Q: Why was it time to update the UX?
What does UX and UI mean? UX stands for User Experience. UI stands for User Interface. UX is all about user experience, and making an app feel friendly and approachable. UI represents the elements used, like typography and images, to create the feeling and mood within the app itself.
Evan: Our original design was from 2014. At that time, fewer customers owned smartphones so we kept the design as simple as possible. Now, most of our users own smartphones and are familiar with technology.
From a visual perspective, we were long overdue for an overhaul. We’ve been making a lot of advancements to our programs. They’re a lot smarter and more adaptive, so they need an interface to match.
We also launched a new service, PeerWell Health, which uses the app to connect patients to our own best in class care team. This whole new service also needed a sweet new home.
Q: What aspects of the original PeerWell design did we carry over to the new UI?
Evan: The main point of the product has always been ease of use for our customers. For the redesign we stuck with the same design philosophy—to keep it simple. Our brand and approach hasn’t changed. We still use bright colors and friendly graphics, but now there’s a lot more of it.
Today, nearly everyone has a smartphone and most people know how to use them. Now we’re able to add additional features, so that our more advanced users can get even more out of their programs. We’ve done this without making it feel complicated.
Q: What are the biggest changes to our UI?
Evan: Our goal has always been to put the most important thing right in front of our users. We want the patient to open the app and know what to do straight away. We’ve made the app even brighter, with more inviting and colorful images. We’ve used design to make our instructions clear, and to make the new app unmistakably ‘PeerWell’. We want to make sure that when a patient opens the app to start their daily activities or meet with their doctor, they feel like they’re entering a unique PeerWell space.
A change that is noticeable right away is the ‘home view’. It’s the first thing the patient sees when the app is fired up. It’s brightly colored and each touch target is larger than before. The daily list of activities is now more fun and inviting than ever.
The other major change is the new digital clinic portion of the app. This connects a patient directly to their PeerWell Health care team. In order to do all of this, we’ve built a complete interface for appointment scheduling and attending appointments. Care providers can also check-in and see the activities that their patients are doing and communicate through messaging.
Our goal has always been to put the most important thing right in front of the user and really invite them to do that thing. We want to make it simple.
Q: Why does the new UX matter for our patients and partners?
Evan: Ultimately, the design and the app affect the patient experience. Our app is patient-focused and we use UI to improve user-experience by making it more fun, engaging, and feel more polished.
We want the patient to open the app for the first time and be excited to tackle new challenges. We don’t want them to just see a list of things to do, or feel overwhelmed.
Why does this matter to partners? Well, happy patients are more satisfied with their experience. Healthier patients don’t come back with complications. Healed patients refer to their friends. We want to do everything we can to help patients engage in their health, and a well-designed app is a key part of this.
Q: How will the new UI improve the user experience?
Evan: Over the years, we’ve collected a lot of patient feedback. This new user experience addresses the feedback, and improves the overall experience. By tackling our sticking points and strengthening the branding and design, we hope to inspire even more confidence in patients that they’re receiving the best care. The app is sophisticated so we need the experience to feel polished, but without feeling dry or complicated.
When an app feels good, people are more willing to give it a chance and stick with it. In our case, when our patients stick with it, they get healthier and recover faster. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Q: What is your favorite part of the IU redesign?
Evan: The best part is that the app and patient experience finally feels like PeerWell. It speaks more to who we are as a group of people that want to improve people’s lives. Our mission is to bring more lightness, fun and efficacy to the experience of recovery, and I think our design helps steer that.
Are you a patient looking for guidance and care for pain, an injury, or facing musculoskeletal surgery? Register below to access our all-new PeerWell app and digital recovery.