Design Interactions in Telehealth by SimplePractice

Jalyn Marks

Using one of the most common mobile device apps used for telehealth, “Telehealth by simplepractie” as an example, I can start to point out ways in which this is applied. Using some of Shneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules (2016) as an outline, we can explore design interaction and its relevance to culture (specifically, telehealth needs) and accessibility.

Consistency
Every meeting has the same format as an in-person doctor’s visit. Users provide their name, and wait in the “waiting room” before being admitted to the room where the appointment will happen with the specialist, nurse, technician, or doctor.

Universal Usability

I’m always weary when apps claim they have “universal design”, but one feature that contributes to this app’s accessibility is that the doctors’ offices who use this app for telehealth tend not to customize the experience too much on their end. For example, the waiting room for an appointment with, say, my therapist, would look the same as the waiting room for my rheumatologist. This creates a sense of familiarity and comfort for users. They know from experience which buttons to click to enter their appointments.

Feedback
Users can test their microphones/sound and videos while in the waiting room. This allows for the prevention of errors property, as well as for feedback testing on their ends to ensure what they’re seeing matches the doctor’s experience.

Dialogues which yield closure

When meetings end, a button on the bottom of the screen allows patients in Telehealth to “Leave Room.” Even though they are still in the same physical space when the button is clicked, the virtual space is now closed, and it is clear the appointment is over.

Prevent errors

Throughout this course, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s much easier and more effective to design for accessibility at the start, and much harder to add accessibility features to an existing website or technology.

The Telehealth app uses combinatorial aspects of video, audio, and input-output commands that have been set up in the code. It collects data of patients’ name and the date and time of the appointment. It also connects to the calendar feature.

It is unclear to me if this app is as accessible as it could be. However, many of Shneiderman’s Golden Rules seem to account for much of its accessibility.

 

References

“Getting started with telehealth.” (2020). SimplePractice Support. https://support.simplepractice.com/hc/en-us/articles/360001196372-Getting-started-with-Telehealth

Shneiderman, B. (2016) “The eight golden rules of interface design.” University of Marlyland. https://www.cs.umd.edu/users/ben/goldenrules.html