Setting the scene
Opticall was founded in 2008 by two partners, Satish and Reshma. Sat is an optometrist and entrepreneur and Resh (thats me!) is a ux/product designer and marketing strategist.
From the early days, we had a clear idea of what we wanted Opticall to be. Foremost, it was a business led by purpose and vision. Our vision was to ‘deliver the gift of optimum vision’ to as many elderly, vulnerable and house-bound people that we could – and our mission was simple. We wanted to help as many people to ‘see, live and enjoy life more with the help of Opticall’.
The early days were... An adventure! The days would morph into long nights and the to-do lists felt relentless. It was messy, exciting, stressful (at times - lets be real!) and tiring – but most of all (corny as it sounds) it was rewarding - on so many levels!
I spent a lot of time 'getting out of the building' and putting myself in the shoes of the opticians and dispensing opticians - quizzing and questioning them in detail about their pain points - over many cups of coffee :)
The interviews were structured around understanding
Concerns and needs around actioning clinical processes and procedures of the sight test
Snags in handling NHS/CQC requirements
Desires to tailor care home and next of kin interactions and;
Optimising the scheduling of clinics for the opticians to in a logistical and time-effective manner.
Understanding how the team felt and what they thought as they performed their daily tasks was also central to my detective work because I wanted to be certain of the gross and more subtle challenges they were facing.
Hundreds of sketches, post-it notes and process flow diagrams later, I had a clearer(!) view of the overall end-to-end process. I came to realise that human-error caused by pages of excel spreadsheets and the lack of a centralised digital platform for notes within which sensitive patient data could be stored and accessed effectively was missing.
In addition to this
- Carers weren't fully aware of the impact correct spectacles made or which glasses patients were to wear for distance or near vision activities.
- NOK wanted to view spectacle frames before committing payment and they weren't fully informed about the supply of glasses
- NHS Sight test forms required significant manual. data input
- Managing the supply and delivery of glasses was inefficient.
I developed a list of key features that the product would offer
Administration of patients, homes, jobs and clinics.
A dashboard to display to clinical housekeeping.
Functionality to organise clinics and events.
Daily reminders to help ensure NHS/ CCG are notified of forthcoming clinics within their notification period.
In addition, the platform would offer
Personalised Eyecare Reports.
Personalised glasses frames and cases
Visual Awareness Training (in progress)
Analysis of income, showing the break down in graphs and tables.
A ‘Today' screen to show a map of the clinics scheduled, helping the optician to plan their route.
'Template' functionality so that data can be exported into pre-printed NHS forms.
Auditing to allow the user to view what has changed for a particular record and by who.
The ability to undo modifications.
Remote log-in with an internet connection.
Compatibility with all major browsers.
I partnered with a software developer who build MVPs from my lo-fidelity prototype sketches...
The iterations span from June 2009 when the product was in its early days to Nov 2020 – when we did the last update.
Take a look at the change history here.
*Although i have named this section 'prototype' they were low-fidelity, detailed sketches, back then and the concept of ux prototyping wasn't codified the way it is today... ;)
Testing was as you see from the change history log, a truly iterative process, with incremental changes being made on the test site. Each new feature and process was tested and approved by the clinical and administration team, they would go live on the main site.
Due to small budgets the look and feel of the product, the application is not as slick or as pleasing to the eye as it could be but the functionality is there and was widely approved and adopted.
Here is a link to an early wireframe (also used a starter guide) for the product.
The screen shots below provide a feel of the platform application developed.
Today, Opticall thrives as the largest provider of home care across the home counties (excluding Berkshire - a strategic move due to logistics!)