Project Type

UX Design and Research

Project Output

Wireframes and Digital Prototypes

Project Length

2 weeks


Husain Zaidi, Ulises Miranda, Yasir Hussain, Polina Castro


The challenge of the project was to to re-imagine the emergency room waiting experience, through the intervention by a digital product. To understand the user pain points, we conducted a survey collecting information from recent ER visitors, as well as medical staff such as doctors and nurses. We also interviewed a nurse in-person, who gave us great insights about the inner functioning and behind the scenes of the ER. Using the primary research, we conducted lots of brainstorming activities and understood the needs and pain points of the patients. Based on the findings, we came up with mobile app that ‘Informs’ patients from both within and outside of ER. The project was very well received by the professors and they remarked to see promising potential in the proposed solution.
I was leading our UX Design team, and was incharge of project strategy, and moderating team brainstorming activities. As a team we conducted the primary and secondary research. I took the first step at the idea of the product, and the team contributed to shape the final design. As a group, we also conducted design thinking activities. I created the master user flow for the app and then individually we took several task flows to build digital wireframes of. Me and Yasir compiled the final wireframes and mockups of the finished product.


With the increasing population and the large infow of new migrants in Canada, the number of ER visits has been signifcantly increased over the last ten years, resulting in longer ER waiting times and the frustration associated with it. Patients can spend anywhere close 2 to 5 hours waiting to be seen by a doctor.

While reducing the wait time would be an obvious solution to the problem, it requires a systemic change within the health care system.

The question we are addressing with our research is “How can we leverage digital

technology to improve a patient’s ER experience within the constraints of the existing

health care system?”

User Research

Since the ‘users’ are Emergency Room patients, who in this case are not repetitive or frequent users, the logic (and time restriction) demanded that along with conducting a few in-person interviews, we also deploy surveys to be able to collect multiple data points in short amount of time. We designed and deployed a number of online surveys to be filled by recent ER visitors as well as medical staff, including doctors and nurses.

Survey deployed for Emergency Room Staff

Survey deployed for recent Emergency Room Visitors/Patients

Patient Insights

  • Patients have great uncertainty about their health status, so they want to be informed periodically about their current condition. 
  • Patients need to know what are the steps to follow during their stay in the emergency department.
  • Patients begin to suffocate as the waiting time passes in the emergency room and they wish to go out or move around.
  • As time passes and patients do not receive medical attention, they feel sicker and they begin to worry and sometimes that concern becomes frustration or anger.
  • While the patients wait they have nothing to do or nothing to entertain themselves, some of them do nothing, others sleep, read, see other patients or watch TV.

Medical Staff Insights

  • The medical staff goes through emotional roller coaster during their workday. These emotions range from stress, fatigue as the workload increases, also in certain occasions you  experience sadness when things do not go well, or joy to see that they have saved a life.
  • The attitude of the medical staff always focuses on providing the best service to patients in the best and fastest way to reduce line ups.
  • Sometimes medical staff have to deal with diffcult patients, so they have to show empathy and patience to understand their needs and meet them in an appropriate way.
  • Staff regularly undergoes training and keep updating and learning new tools and technology to work with.
  • The medical staff thinks that it is necessary to have enough breaks in order to forget the diffcult circumstances they have been through, also to rest, chill out  and reduce their stress.

Defining the Problem

Storyboarding - As Is Scenario

Story Board depicting the journey of a user till the Waiting Room

Story Board depicting the journey of a patient inside the Waiting Room

Scenario Mapping

As is – Scenario Map

To be – Scenario Map

We conducted scenario map activity for ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ scenarios. We divided the patient’s journey into four parts, based on each major touchpoints along their journey. Conducting this activity really helped us understand the needs and pain points along each phase of user’s journey. The comparative analysis of As-is and To-be maps facilitated us in pointing out which phases require the most intervention to achieve the desired user goals.

User Needs and Goals

After Conducting the Scenario Mapping for each situation, we could identify the user needs and their goals. Based on their nature, we classified the user needs and goals into three outlined categories.

Information Process: We identifed that major part of undesirable user experience is directly infuenced by the lack of information accessible to the patients and/or poor fow of information that’s available.

Environment: This category informs all the needs and goals that are linked to the hospital environment surrounding the user. Most of these factors are controlled by hospital staff and management and my pose a challenge to incorporate into a digital solution.

Psychology Wellbeing: Psychology wellbeing covers all the factors that directly infuences user’s happiness quotient and mental relaxation and aims to provide a stress-free journey to the user.

Identifying user needs and goals

Highlights of the Top Findings

After conducting the research based design thinking activities, which were informed by our primary research of conducting user interviews, we could draw the following inferences:

  • Its important for the user’s to be informed about their own journey and process. While almost all the interviewees complained about the long wait times at the Emergency Room, they also acknowledged that the lack of information makes their experience even worse. Just by simply knowing why they must wait, and for how long, it creates a huge impact on user’s expectation and overall experience.
  • Many users accepted that they are not familiar with the process of Emergency Rooms. User’s also complained about lack of information provided by the hospital staff that would inform their process and help them navigate through their journey more easily. Patients in emergency do not like the added cognitive burden of proactively researching the ER processes.
  • Patients in Emergency with high wait times desire more control. Patients often complained about the lack of system in place which would enable them the freedom to move about the Emergency Room freely. They would like to go out or rest or refresh at some place else, or even get some fresh air. Hospital staff sometimes does not allow the waiting patients to even leave the premises without signing the waiver form.
  • Sometimes patients need someone to talk to. The nurses aren’t available when patients need them. The only point of contact for the waiting patients are the hospital admin staff, behind the desk, who not only do not have medical knowledge but are also reported to be non-empathetic towards their condition or needs. Patients want to have a point of contact who can empathize with them and cater to their urgent needs like aggravated symptoms.

I moderated most of the design thinking activities

BrainStorming sessions in process

Design Thinking: Brainstorming

We conducted the design thinking activities as a group, and explored all sorts of ideas. We followed the philoshophy of  ‘No ideas are bad’ and put up all the possible ideas addressing the user needs identifed. Its amazing how stimulated your chain of thoughts and ideas are when thinking outloud in a group, we often found out that a word said by someone in different context would trigger a whole new brilliant idea in another person’s mind.

Big Idea Vignettes

Big Idea Vignette

Clustering the similar ideas

Next-up, we conducted a quick idea sprint and all the team members threw their ideas on the board, that attempts to solve the user needs identified in the previous activity. We then continued to cluster the similar ideas and tried to merge as many as possible into one feasible idea, and were left with many such bigger ideas/solutions.

Prioritization Grid

Finally, after clustering and merging down our initial ideas based on their goals and functions, we had to test the feasibility of the new ideas and start to derive multiple big solutions from them. To do this, we conducted the prioritization grid activity.

We laid down all our synthesized ideas onto the feasibility graph and identified what all solutions fall into which of the following category.

No Brainers: : All the ideas that fell into this area of the graph were both feasible and had high value to our users. We tried to definitely include these in our solutions.

Big Bets and Utilities: Our approach was to first include all the ideas that had high impact on our user’s but were difficult to execute from feasibility standpoint, and then focus on how to make Utility ideas more valuable.

Unwise: This was our last priority to be included in the solution and they could be overlooked in the frst few iterations/builds.

Identifying user needs and goals

Exploring Possible Solutions

We narrowed down on the most feasible solution by the process of elimination, and also borrowing good ideas from eliminated solutions. For example, we eliminated the digital bracelet solution because it was not ‘accessible’ friendly with its small display, and would have not been an ideal ‘design for all’ or inclusive design for elderly people specially. However, we borrowed the idea of ‘SOS button’ from the bracelet solution and implicated it on the chosen mobile application solution.

Selected Solution

We decided on a hybrid of ideas, a digital app that can be accessed through multiple platforms (such a mobile phone or a digital interactive screen). The solution aims to empower the users through an external approach by providing them with option to visit the Hospital having emergency rooms with lowest waiting times. It also empowers users through an internal approach by providing them with useful features such as tracking of the stage-progression in real time, sending them notifications at the time of their turn, allowing them to utilize the wait time for other activities such as going to a nearby spot to eat or drink, and providing them with a special push button to allow the users to seek immediate medical attention in case their physical conditions aggravate due to unforeseen complications and a navigational feature for helping the users with way finding.

Storyboard depicting To-Be scenario with the proposed solution

Storyboard highlights different features of the app


  • The app solution existing on various platforms can empower people and provide them with different choices for selecting which location would be the most suitable for them.
  • It can help to provide a unified platform for all hospital aimed and serving the users and would help in improving the overall experience of waiting in the emergency rooms by empowering them to be informed about every step of their treatment process.
  • It also provides the users a number of different features such as informing them about their progress in during the treatment stages, notifying them about their turn in case they aren’t around, assisting them with finding their way internally in the hospital premises and providing them with an option to contact the nurse in case their medical condition gets aggravated during their duration of wait in the Emergency Room.


  • In order to utilize all features of this digital solution, the users are required to install the app on their cell phones, a task which all users may not prefer to carry out.
  • The users using the digital platform will be required to put in their patient number and associated information for every new visit.

Introducing InforMed

‘Informed’ is a digital solution that aims to empower its users to obtain detailed information about Emergency Rooms. It helps users by providing them with real-time information about processes, guidance with the next steps as well as putting them at ease of interaction with the hospital.

The purpose of this solution is to fill the gap between the patient’s needs and the hospitals strained resources With the limited manpower and resources of the hospitals and the increase in population every year, there is a strong need to improve the experience of users by means of providing them with a solution that enables them to have information throughout their journey, either as patients or as persons accompanying them at an Emergency Room

‘Informed’ explores the waiting room experience from two perspectives, from outside the E.R and from within the E.R. This dual approach ensures that patients are informed throughout their journey, at all touchpoints. It provides users with a variety of features to make their lives simpler, such as Giving them information about the least waiting times at Emergency Rooms nearby


  • Providing them with general as well process and progress related information
  • Notification Alerts about their approaching turn
  • The ease of contacting a nurse in case of aggravation of their condition
  • Educating users about the facilities and services being offered by a particular hospital

User Flow Diagram

I designed the user-flow of the app. The flow was designed and divided as per the user journey, or in other words as per the scenarios the users would be using the app. We identifed 3 such use case scenarios; When the user needs an E.R., When the user is already at the E.R., and When a user is accompanying a patient at the E.R.

User Flow diagram highlighting the flow for 3 different use cases.

Wireframes and Task Flows

Each one of us did almost 100 sketches of wireframes, for individual task flows and user interface of the respective screens. We then collaborated and compiled our ideas to come up with the most efficient and simplifed task flow for each of the task/user goals.

User Goals and Task Flow

User Goal:
As a person in distress, user wants to know the shortest wait times of nearby hospitals, to be able to make an informed decision on where to go.

User Goal:
As a patient, user wants to know his waiting time and position in the queue as per his patient category, and where to go next

User Goal:
As a patient who just came out of triage, user wants to know his vital stats and health.

User Goal:
As a patient who wants to go out of the waiting room, user wants to set an alert to be notified when his turn is approaching

User Goal:
As a patient with aggravating symptoms, user wants to contact the Nurse Station for immediate assistance.

User Goal:
As a patient visiting the E.R for the first time, user wants to know the E.R. process and facilities available at this specific hospital.