How to design a healthcare app



The last few years have seen strong growth in the mobile health market and with digital technology constantly evolving, not having an app presence can sometimes be detrimental to your business.

Over 318,000 apps are available on the App Store, and over 200 are added every day. However, app usage data shows that most apps have less than 10,000 downloads. This raises a serious concern for app makers.

Apps that address general health and wellness, health management, general fitness, or telemedicine have fewer takers despite their initial interest. So what is it that keeps users away? Is it the features or the functionality? We will take a look.

The challenges of designing healthcare applications

Due to the aforementioned concerns and many others, app designers face challenges regarding patient engagement, security, data privacy and many more. On top of that, these apps should meet the following requirements to drive traffic and engagement.

Explanation to patients

Not an easy thing to do. In face-to-face interaction, a doctor can convey information easily and repeat it, if necessary. However, replicating the same thing on an application is not that simple. Therefore, adding functionality to convey information is strongly recommended. Patients should be able to add questions, remove doubts and receive appropriate assistance.

Deliver distressing information

Empathy is vital for the design and an inclusive principle of the healthcare industry. Thus, disclosing distressing news to the patient poses another challenge. Thus, how to provide sensitive information remains difficult, but can be managed by delivering messages that support and motivate patients.

Establish credibility

A health app cannot replace a doctor. And even the best fitness apps can’t replace a personal trainer. For this reason alone, many patients do not use them.

Whatever the concern, in order for a patient to consider the information to be trustworthy, you should always add authoritative sources.

Steps to Design a Healthcare Application

Let’s take a look at the process of designing healthcare applications:

Before starting the design

Health applications are used either by physicians or by their patients. When you start working on designing and developing a healthcare app, do some market research.

Discover your potential users and also research the apps that can provide fierce competition for your future goals.

Do user research

A healthcare professional searches for medication specifications, medical records, therapy and diagnostic suggestions, reference materials, etc.

On the other hand, a patient looks for information in a simple and understandable format.

Therefore, the functionality and design of the user interface should be different to meet the requirements of both types of users. It’s not simple. But it can be accomplished by asking a few basic questions.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What kinds of healthcare apps are they using or not using?
  • What are the shortcomings of these applications?
  • What is the purpose of using the healthcare app?

With the answers to the above questions, you can build a database of potential customers.

Research your competitors

Everyone wants to create a product that has no competition. Unfortunately, the market is already booming with healthcare apps. So you need to find your niche and then build your product around it.

Perform extensive research on competitors. Start by checking out which apps offer the same services you intend to provide. Look for their strengths and weaknesses. Study their functionality to get a feel for the user experience you should create for your app.

This research will also help you decide on the price range for your app.

When you start to conceive

When you start turning research into design, there are many notable things you need to accomplish. These are described one by one in detail below.


Pay attention to a clear UX and UI

Clear design of the user interface and user experience requires creative thinking and freedom. The designer must follow all the rules to meet a wide range of users. In addition, to achieve the maximum, the design should be user-friendly and follow a few basic but essential rules:

  • Create a user persona and rate it. Based on the desires and expectations of users to optimize the user journey
  • Have as few actions as possible. Group all related content in one click. Use the gradual reduction method
  • Show vital information at the start of the user journey
  • Keep the design simple with all the necessary sections of the app nearby (with minimal finger tapping)

Create a responsive design

While a healthcare app should be visually appealing, it’s also important to pay attention to how it looks on screens of different sizes. Yes, it makes the design process difficult, but it can’t be done without. Regardless of the form factor of the device, be it a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, the design should fit the screen of the device well.

Try a empathetic design

You can’t please everyone. Additionally, a healthcare app should empathize with its design. For example, the older generation is not tech savvy and has weaker eyesight. They prefer larger fonts, an easy-to-navigate layout, and minimal animation.

On the contrary, younger people prefer bright colors and flexible settings. A designer must be able to find a balance between the two.

Build a clear navigation system

Navigation is the backbone of a healthcare app’s user interface. This equates to ease of use and speed. In comparison, confusing navigation does not help a user.

A Stanford Medicine investigation found that a doctor spends 62% of patent time checking EHR reports. The verification of the EHR itself takes sufficient time. If an application does not respond quickly, it will not be efficient for the healthcare professional to complete their work.

For this reason, a healthcare professional needs a fast application with clearer and faster navigation patterns and information architecture.

Ensure accessibility

There are notable differences between the types of phones used in different parts of the world and the internet bandwidth used by most of the population.

Therefore, it is necessary to keep all kinds of people in mind when designing an application. Make sure that your app is available for the maximum number of device types and also for patients with disabilities such as visual, hearing and motor impairments.

Pay attention to colors

It boils down to two things: the theme of the healthcare app and the target audience. Usually neutral shades are used in the design of a healthcare application. Green colors and cool blue tones with white in the background are mainly used.

Designers choose these colors because they are calming and associated with the health industry in the physical world. These colors are known to comfort anxiety, bring credibility, and build confidence.

That said, there is no standard for using only pastel colors. The idea is to leave a positive impression on users, and the app’s color scheme can do that for you.

Make sure your UX copy is good

With UX copy, designers aim to tune the communication between users and the application. In other words, it is a writing practice to be used in user interfaces to help users engage and interact with the app. The copy created is known as a microcopy.

This microcopy involves a copy of the menu and buttons, safety notices, error messages, terms and conditions, and instructions on the product page. Since bad copy is a threat to even a good UI, it is important to have UX writing. It influences both UX and UI.

Perform usability tests

Finally, evaluate the UI data with the application interface. Providing consistency in architecture and navigation is not enough. Equally important, or so to speak, even more so is testing their viability.

Active user engagement is crucial for the success of the app. Usability testing helps establish interaction, gain instant feedback and insight into application behavior patterns. Choose your test audience of the same age as your target audience. Ask them to use all the main functions and get their feedback.

If you follow the steps above, you should be in a good position to create a strategy that will help you achieve a robust healthcare app design.

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