How Design Thinking Changed a Client’s Everything

Our user-centered design approach to one project motivated genetic testing company Progenity to rebrand, overhauling their company, site, print literature, and product offerings.

The Challenge

Progenity’s tests allow expecting mothers to understand their own and their fetus’ genetic traits. To own a position in the heavily competitive genetic testing field, Progenity had to enable customers to get extremely sensitive test results online, through a portal, at their convenience. This would entail navigating strict federal laws about patient data for a company that had never before built a consumer-facing product. Our work helped Progenity through these challenges, and a few more.

How to See The Tool from a Customer’s Perspective?

Before investing in a portal that would convey extremely emotional, sensitive information, we had to understand what customers needed from it—as well as how it would affect company process. So, we set off on a “discovery” project intended to inform a site prototype. Our user-centered approach not only helped us create the prototype, but inspired Progenity to look at their brand, their audiences, and their main marketing site from this point-of-view, as well.
When we call Kalamuna, it’s like working with an in-house team. You get our challenges and our audience, and ensure we follow a solid process to deliver a product with tested and proven results.
Jessica Baer, Senior Creative Marketing Manager at Progenity Inc.
Jessica Baer, Senior Creative Marketing Manager at Progenity Inc.

User Experience Research: It’s Where Babies Come From

In this case, our baby was a web app, and it would begin life in research. After interviewing Progenity management, genetic counselors and other stakeholders, we codified findings in “personas,” fictional characters representing the backgrounds and needs of distinct audience groups. The personas, also informed by Google Analytics findings, captured audience sensitivities that would drive the design of the patient portal. Progenity would later work with us to use this approach to redesign their main website.
Learnings from Google Analytics helped justify the optimization our new portal for mobile use.

...And Even More Research

Connecting the dots in Google Analytics reports showed us what information visitors sought, and the methods they used to seek it. In parallel, we created customer journey maps to visualize our customer’s concerns as they experienced each service touchpoint. Analyzing the competitive landscape, as well as technical and legal concerns, also hepled us think strategically about design. On the tech side, we discovered the systems integrations we’d need to deploy a live portal, while our legal analysis helped define a data model and create an API that would comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA.)

Translating Insights into Visual Design and Interactivity

Once we gleaned all we could about Progenity’s business environment and stakeholder needs, we put that knowledge into action. We shared our findings with the Progenity team, and together ideated, sketched and deliberated on provisional versions of what would become the patient portal.

Information Architecture and UX Design

We articulated the ideal visitor experience by creating user flow maps. We then fleshed out this experience by sketching and wireframing individual pages of the portal. Group sketching with our design team and Progenity stakeholders from marketing, design, strategy, and other disciplines helped us see problems from diverse viewpoints and bring unique ideas to the fore.

Prototyping and User Testing

Our mobile-first, clickable prototype enabled client stakeholders to see the results of our work, pose questions, and imagine how the live portal would behave. Users who tested the prototype performed a series of tasks; studying test results let us see how we needed to adjust design elements, site functionalities, etc. to provide a better experience.

Visual Design

We knew we needed to pay off Progenity’s brand with a visual expression that would connect with our visitors to evoke feelings of scientific rigor, reassurance, comfort and humanity. To do this in an original way while also staying true to the company’s identity, we created visual “moodboards” with our client. These mosaics of color, typography and images helped define the portal’s look and feel. We zeroed in on the x-ray photographs of flowers (see moodboard, above,) which became a signature visual for the brand.

When a Company Sees One Thing from a Customer’s Perspective

After taking a user-centered approach to designing their test results portal, our Progenity colleagues were hooked. We launched the patient portal with astounding success: between our beta and full launch Progenity saw a 154% increase in portal signups. Even more, our friends at Progenity started asking themselves what would happen if they took the same user-centered perspective in redesigning their main marketing site, so we took that on and launched it, too.

...They Can See Everything from a Customer’s Perspective

Progenity doubled-down on our user-centered design approach by hiring a brand manager to implement this tack in re-assessing their brand. And, to boot, we now work with them on internal projects, which they insist happen in a sketch-prototype-test format. Progenity’s new user-centered initiatives have not only brought about clear, focused messaging to their customers, but a whole new mindset prizing their customer’s needs.