Designing a mobile eligibility check for blood donors
Survey (2 forms)
Interview (3 sessions)
Interactive high-fidelity mockups (Figma)
Usability testing (3 studies, multiple sessions)
Project presentation at Bloodworks NW
Consulting Project Report
5 months (January - May 2019)
As part of the Young Leaders Program under the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce, I participated in an internship project with Bloodworks Northwest, a non-profit organization that provides blood supply to more than 90 Northwest hospitals. My teammates and I designed a mobile eligibility check for donors, to help encourage blood donations in the Seattle's Chinese community.
According to Pew Research Center and Bloodworks Northwest Market Research Data, of 119,000 ethnically Chinese individuals in Seattle, only less than 0.05 percent donated their blood in 2017. Blood donation from the Chinese community is insufficient. Bloodworks wants to attract more young audiences to donate in the Greater Seattle Area.
Our goal is to understand young Chinese people’s perception on blood donation and create a digital solution to help encourage blood donations. Our design question is:
How can we raise awareness around blood donation in the college student population and encourage donations in the Chinese Community?
I focused on designing the mobile eligibility check. To come to these solutions, I invited our team to utilize the User-Centered Design process to help us to understand user needs and generate informative design recommendations and guidelines based on our findings.
Background Research (SWOT Analysis)
To understand company needs, current efforts and challenges Bloodworks is facing, our team researched the company in the SWOT categories (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) and ranked findings based on how well they aligned with the goals, priorities, and concerns of the Chinese community.
1. The company lacks brand awareness and donor diversity.
2. The current app is not intended for new donors.
Bloodworks currently has a mobile app that allows blood donors to schedule/remind an appointment at a blood drive location, however it has not been widely used by new donors.
I had the opportunity to represent my team and share our team’s SWOT findings with leaders from Bloodworks. I learned about the company’s current efforts in promoting blood donation in the Chinese community, which helped us to gain a better understanding of the business needs as well as the community we are working with.
We conducted user research within the University of Washington in Seattle, collecting information about both the local Chinese Americans as well as international students who are native Chinese speakers.
I outlined a survey (received 57 responses in total) that aims to understand Chinese college students’ motivation, experience, and knowledge in blood donation.
Among the 57 responses, the highest voted reasons for not donating blood are “not eligible due to status” (32.6%), “no time to donate” (32.6%), and “security/trust concerns” (26.1%).
From our survey findings, I outlined the overall structure of the interviews (semi-structured) and conducted 3 interviews to learn more about individuals’ blood donation experience. The interviews helped us gain insights on the Chinese students’ knowledge and experience relating to blood donation.
77.8% (7/9) were unsure about their eligibility. Many of our interviewees were international students, and some of them assumed they are not eligible to donate due to their identity/status, and never thought about donating or seeking out relevant information about donation.
Additionally, participants were unable to find out about their eligibility prior to donation. Online information is insufficient for them to determine whether they are eligible to donate immediately.
“I know that my health condition meets the requirement of donating blood, but I don’t know if I can donate in the U.S due to my status as a Chinese citizen.” – Participant 5.
“When I arrived at the Bloodworks donation center, they told me I couldn’t donate because I was in a country that is at risk of Malaria. I wish I had known about it before I arrived there.” – Participant 8
Overall, taking from our survey and interviews, we discussed during team meetings and came up with two design requirements for our digital solution:
1. Educate the blood donation process at Bloodworks Northwest
2. Address uncertainty about donor eligibility
We held brainstorm sessions to come up with as many concepts as we could for our design: Raise Awareness, Provide Access, Improve Efficiency, and Educate. The above concepts culminated in a pre-donation eligibility check feature to be implemented on the current website. The main function is enabling users to check their donation eligibility online and learn about it in advance, before arriving at the donation center.
Meeting with our Project Manager
We decided to focus on designing a mobile version to improve accessibility and mobility of this service. In my sketches, I brainstormed a process that provides questions about donor eligibility and important information regarding blood donation requirements.
Wireframes were helpful for mapping out the overall flow of the eligibility check. The check begins with demographic questions for narrowing down to a specific set of questions applicable to the user. I included the progress bar at the top of the screen to provide users guidance and feedback. After answering all questions, the user will be directed to a page outlining the details of their questionnaire result/eligibility status.
Wireframe tracking the simple flow of screens and different results
After our first iteration of the design, we hosted 3 usability testing sessions for the eligibility check. We encouraged participants to think aloud while performing the tasks so that we understand what part they were struggling with or what steps were confusing. After debriefing with participants, we refined our wireframe design based on the feedback.
Key changes from usability testing:
Explain unfamiliar terms
Provide more detailed reasoning for the eligibility results at the end
Improve terminology to be more descriptive
Our design uses the company's current design palette and visual elements. Additionally, I created the icons for common donor actions.
The team and I created high-fidelity interactive mockups, which would simulate what the real experience would be like in finding out about one's eligibility.
The first screen communicates the importance of blood donation. This intends to educate our users about the power of blood donation and encourage them to make an impact.
This screener page collects basic profile information about the user, such as age, gender, and weight, which can be used to filter out questions that are not applicable to the user. This feature would shorten/simplify the overall process.
The questionnaire includes a question about the country of travel within the past three years. This design addresses the concern that students were unsure about their eligibility due to their travels. The input country(s) will be assessed on its risk to Malaria, an important eligibility question for international students.
This screen shows a feature that clarifies unfamiliar terms, including a Chinese translation to help users understand the term better and answer questions confidently and efficiently on the go.
In our final design, we included three possible result scenarios:
1. The user meets all the donation requirements and the design would inform the eligibility to donate, providing links to donation services.
2. The user does not qualify as a donor by the provided information, and the design would provide reasons and suggest actions to take for the person to become eligible. Besides, the design would recommend other actions that the user can take to help support the blood donation effort.
3. The eligibility check cannot determine the user’s eligibility due to complicated or unknown conditions, (such as countries with unknown risk to Malaria). The design would provide the user methods to contact Bloodworks for more eligibility details, and offer other services that would help support blood donation efforts.
Having this convenient pre-donation eligibility check helps save donors’ time on the day of donation, which would improve the overall donating experience. It also avoids unnecessary trips to the donation center if the potential donor ends up not being eligible to donate. Users would be able to learn about eligibility requirements using this feature. Moreover, with the debrief and suggested actions, they are encouraged to seek out ways to become eligible donors.
Reflection and Next Steps
Our team presented our 5-month internship project at the Bloodworks Northwest Research Institute. We shared potential solutions backed by our research data for engaging this population as well as improving donor diversity overall. I presented the final deliverable of the pre-donation eligibility check and explained our design concept and key features. Overall, we received great responses from the company leadership as they were impressed with our design.
From this project, I learned that it is crucial to provide sufficient context in our design, so users would be able to navigate on their own when completing tasks. Usability studies, in this case, were extremely helpful to let us learn about which areas needed improvement on descriptiveness or clarity. We learned to prepare for cases where users may be confused, and provide them with immediate feedback and/or guidance.
I presented our design at the Bloodworks Northwest Research Institute
If we have more time, I would:
Design the process after the “eligible to donate” result to encourage actions in donating blood, such as showing the steps it would take to save lives
Possibly reorganize the set of questions to be more intuitive for the user
Add more definitions of unfamiliar terms to refine and improve terminology
Improve the visual design and the font hierarchy, such as by increasing font size and reducing the number of questions on each page
Conduct more usability testing on the final design to see how the process can be improved