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Indiviudal project

Exploratory Research
Contextual Inquiry
Affinity Mapping
Content Mapping
Usability Testing

David Wightman (Industrial Design)
Karrie G. Karahalios (Computer Science)
Eric Benson (Graphic Design)

Spring 2015

There is always a blood shortage in this country. Youth can provide the greatest boost for the pool of donors. However, a research has shown that within 10 years from 1996 to 2005, donors of age 25-49 has decreased over 12%, which suggests that young adults are not as much involved in blood donation as baby boomers are. Blood donation service needs a new effective recruitment method to regain the attention and interest of more young adults.

Outdated Blood Donation Service

The reality that we are loosing young donors has lead to the question whether current blood donation service across the country is effective enough for donor recruitment. We have achieved significant scientific progress in the domain of blood knowledge. However, the donation service experience has not changed for over fifty years ever since the opening of the first blood bank. The key problem here is how blood donation service could be accessible for more people so as to increase the donor percentage.

What should blood donation service be like in this digital age?

Smartphones and other mobile technology are finally maturing. The increase public adoption of technology from teenagers to mature adults presents an unprecedented opportunity for services like blood donation to deliver new types of experiences. Telecommunication can reshape the service industrial by combining traditional network services with new digital hubs.

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Field Observation
Donor Shadowing
Contextual Interview

Design Ethnography

In order to genuinely experience and understand the user’s world for design empathy and insight, after web-based secondary research, I conducted immersive ethnographic research, such as field observation, shadowing, and contextual interview.

I visited the Community Blood Service of Illinois to get some first- hand information about their working environment and donation process. Meanwhile, I got a chance to interview two managers at the blood center at the Community Blood Service, who was able to answer research questions about the process of donor recruiting and organize blood drives. To collect insights through the detailed nuance of real-time exposure, I shadowed two participants through the entire donation process, and documented the experience with notes, photographs and video.

Tell me your stories about giving blood

To be more immersive, I volunteered working as a register in the Red Cross. It put me on-site to observe and discover the experience gap. Each donor was interviewed at both the beginning and the end about their donation experience. All together, I interview 22 donors. Main questions of the interview are:

  • How you learnt about the information of the blood drive?
  • What’s your motivation behind donating blood?
  • What are your struggles during the entire process?

Affinity Diagramming

Pain Points of the Experience

An affinity diagramming was used to externalize and meaningfully cluster observations and insights from the research. It visually displays comments from donors’ interviews with patterns of forming themes, which can be determined by the pain points of the experience of both experienced donors and non-donors. The data used in the affinity diagramming comes from both primary and secondary research: the 22 donors interviewed at the blood drive, and another 25 feedbacks collected by online research.

Insightful quotes were jotted down on sticky notes. Quotes that share a similar intent, problem, or issue, or that share an affinity, were clustered together. Out of this affinity map, a story about donors, their struggles about donation, perceptions, and the nature of their problems, started to emerge.

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Increase Service Accessibility

  • People are heavily influenced by their friends and families about their decision of giving blood.
  • Their willingness to help starts with empathy, but later was hindered by service inaccessibility (information, time, location, etc.).
  • Their scare of blood donation mainly comes from physical issues (low weight, paint of the sight of blood) and mental fear.
  • The mental fear of donating blood stems from ignorance.
  • People don’t know that much about blood donation rules such as eligibility, and feel sorry when donation centers reject them.
  • People like the personal care and touch in the service.
  • People who are educated more about the importance of blood donation from a young age are more likely to become frequent donors later in life.

A very positive result through the research is that People generally want to help; they are just looking for that opportunity. It means that the problem is not at the actual transfusion process, but how to increase the awareness of blood donation, and the opportunities, so that more people could get easy access to the service. The most important is that when they want to help; their attempt won't be hindered by service inconvenience.


Collaborating with Users

Since the goal of the design is not only creating a better service for experienced donors, but also to target at people who are new to blood donation. Therefore, people who are experienced donors, non-donors, and people who work at the donation center were invited to the co-creation workshop for brainstorming.

I wish blood donation service could be like ...

78 concepts were gathered after the co-creation session. As more and more ideas posted on the whiteboard and grouped into different sections, main themes started to surface from the whiteboard, which are relaxed experience, influence of people, education, rewarding, fear, and service accessibility.

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Affinity mapping of concepts

Visioning concepts is a very crucial but also very challenging. Filtering and being realistic are part of the design job I have to face at this stage. There are many interesting ideas generated from the co-creation session. The challenge here is to select valuable ones to carry on to the next design phase. It was a great decision- making stage. I have to think about what I can do with the time and resources I have. The ideas were mainly weighted on technical and financial feasibility. Promising solutions were developed, and best ideas were illustrated with eight storyboards. Afterwards, a speed dating session was conducted with returning participants and also new ones to get feedbacks on those ideas.

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Storyboard sketches
Design Directions

"Start from experienced donors, encouraging them to influence their friends and families."

Social changes are made because of the effort of each individual among us. The good deeds we carry are most of the time infectious, and small acts can influence others. "Influence" plays a crucial role in the recruitment of potential donors since according to the research result; the influence of friends and families is one of the most significant incentives for people to give blood.

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Target Audience and Use Cases

User case-1: Regular donors
1. Check on status (Rewards, Influence, Journey) 2. Make appointment
User case-2: Previous donors who stopped donating
1. Reconnect the relationship (Check previous history) 2. Make appointment
User case-3: People who want to give but not having the right opportunity to do so
1. Donation walkthrough (Preparation) 2. Fill out personal info (Profile, Survey)
User case-4: People who are physically unable to donate blood
"If I can’t actually give blood, how can I help in other ways?"

Content Mapping

After going through different user cases, I started to draft a basic site map for the application, categorizing features and the relationships between each category. At this stage, the content analysis of the existing blood donation site helped me a lot in gathering information about medical issues and regulations that couldn’t be changed. I used as much existing site structures and markups as possible so that I could focus on going deeper and better—not redoing existing work.

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Content mapping stekch
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Early Sketches

I began with a lot of sketches. From early ones with only boxes and lines all the way to some detailed sketches with icons and graphics in it. For me, sketches are the best to explore variations in the early wireframe development stage. I did several iterations by self-evaluation, pretending myself as a potential user and walk through the process.

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Sketches of wireframes

Low-Fidelity Prototype Iteration Throughout User Testings

I later converted the sketches to digital versions and linked them in Invision to create a clickable prototype. It was supposed to show a flow of the main features of the product. I tested the low fidelity prototype with the classmates, experienced donors, potential donors, and also people who work in the blood donation industry. I gathered 118 usability feedbacks after four rounds of iterations, and here is what I learnt most:

  • The onboarding experience for different types of users should be different.
  • Clear separation of the reward card and influence card.
  • Provide explanation of how the reward card and influence card can be used.
  • Simplify the process of schedule a donation. Four steps maximum.
  • Too wordy in the ‘About blood donation’ section, more graphics would be preferred!
  • Physical reports can be too professional for normal users to understand.
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User testing
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Visual design is an inseparable aspect of user experience design. It is especially significant for this project since a big barrier of blood donation is the negative impression about it. I tried to avoid the cold hospital feelings and the scary image of bloody needles as much as I can. The mood board created via Pinterst contained everything inspiring and creative, which helped to define the look and feel of the product.

Finding the Perfect Shades of Red

One of the very challenging parts of the visual design was to find the right color palette. Red would be the right color to indicate the blood donation, but it could also be scary. The goal of the visual design is to be visually fun and light, but still with some level of seriousness since it needs to be trustworthy for the medical aspect it embodies.

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