We rolled out to our customers a new look for the CareMessage application! This in-app brand refresh will introduce new design components across our app.
Our team members are passionate about the CareMessage mission. We are excited for this update because it will make it easier for our customers to use CareMessage to achieve their goals of improving health outcomes for their patients. We talked to a few team members who were integral in this work, and learned more about how this refresh will benefit our customers.
Senior Product Designer
What is a “design system”?
Web-based applications, or “apps” (like CareMessage!) use patterns of designs that are usually housed in a digital library, which we refer to as a “design system”. The design system includes a set of proven and tested visual designs, which allows us to build products faster and more consistently.
How is the design system related to the new CareMessage branding (new logos and colors, etc)?
The new CareMessage branding helped serve as a great visual foundation for the design system. As we put together the design system, we were able to reference our new branding to define foundational elements such as colors, typography, spacing and accessibility. Our new branding makes us look innovative and bright- and we were excited to pull that through into the product!
Can you share your past experiences setting up a design system?
In my last job I led the design work for my company’s apps. The design system I created in that role needed to be flexible and consistent- and in our case, it was being used across hundreds of apps! For this reason, we were constantly doing testing and gathering feedback from users to make sure that our design system was making the apps easy to use and accessible. Having proven and tested designs in our library allowed us to build products a lot faster than we had in the past. One thing I learned from this experience was that the design system doesn’t get built in a day, and it needs to be constantly evaluated and updated. Feedback from our users and colleagues was essential. We kept an ongoing list of planned and completed updates, which helped us keep track of our progress.
How does the new CareMessage design system impact the team?
The team is able to use the design system as a foundational guide when they build new features for the CareMessage app. Having this design system as a common reference makes our communication more accurate, which helps us all collaborate more effortlessly.
Senior Software Engineer
Can you share a bit about what you were trying to achieve with this refresh, from an engineering perspective?
At CareMessage, we are always building and adding to the product based on customer feedback. Just like adding rooms onto a house, that often will lead to a codebase that starts to get complex and harder to understand over the years. When we were updating the front-end code for this product rebranding, we saw a chance to build some pieces from scratch. This gave us an opportunity to improve the codebase and also add more customer value in an easy way. It also made it possible to re-brand the product and apply the new design system in a timely manner.
Senior QA Engineer
Can you share a bit about your role as a QA engineer?
When people think about what a QA Engineer does, usually what initially comes to mind is a person that is responsible for testing a given application and making sure it follows the proper requirements given by a product/business team. That’s partially true. But in addition, QA Engineers also need to have an in-depth understanding of the specific goals of our product and make proactive suggestions for quality improvements.
What inspired you to recommend improvements in accessibility of our product?
Accessibility improvements are something that should be a requirement for any product that is created for a large chunk of the population. We have a mission here at CareMessage to leverage technology to help safety-net organizations fulfill the essential needs of underserved populations. As we grow as a company, it’s natural for us to consider that if we want to reach as many people as we can, we must be inclusive- which will translate into better serving our customers.
How do you know you’ve been successful in increasing the accessibility of a product?
There are established best practices and metrics for measuring the accessibility of a product. We use a tool to assess how accessible our product is, and it gives us scores related to areas such as color contrasts and how we handle forms. The score is also based on how intuitive the application is to use, starting from the user’s first interaction with it.
When we focused on accessibility metrics, our previous version of the app had pretty decent scores, but we saw some areas where we could improve. The rebranding of the app addressed the majority of the accessibility issues we identified, as we followed good practices of design and implementation to make the application as intuitive and informative it can be. There are, of course, always more improvements to make. I am very confident that we can happily say that we have a product that is able to be effectively used by more people, and therefore reach more patients. ❤️