Cognito UX Research
I joined Cognito Therapeutics during the final semester of my Human Factors program at Tufts University. I've designed and moderated studies involving vigorous qualitative and quantitative methodology to generate novel, actionable insights. I also developed a new marketing style guide as part of my efforts to create promotional material for the 2018 AAIC Conference in Chicago.
Human Factors Research at Cognito Therapeutics
From February - October of 2018, I was a contract UX Researcher at Cognito Therapeutics, working out of both their Cambridge and Oakland offices. I utilized qualitative/quantitative research methods and design thinking to impact Cognito's product direction by designing, recruiting for, and conducting an in-home usability study.
My team (myself and my manager) conducted in-home study to understand how people would interact with our medical device. Participants living in the San Francisco Bay Area were interviewed for 1-1.5 hours each while being recorded.
I designed our study, recruited participants, recorded video, took notes, analyzed qualitative and quantitative feedback, and synthesized data into insights to present to stakeholders.
Understand: What pain points do users encounter? What mental models are participants using? Can potential patients really use this device at home?
Plan: What changes to training can we make that will allow users to understand device use 3 months out? 6 months out?
Iterate: How might we comply with regulations while giving users the best version of our device?
Recruitment was slow, which harmed our ability to quickly synthesize information.
Device software issues resulted in some unintended mid-session warnings being issued via light interface.
Several device redesigns will be submitted for review to incorporate feedback.
Participants encounter many of the same issues: too much information going through the same channels, physical difficulty with some interactions.
Training materials served as an effective visual resource for teaching, but participants rarely referred to them later, even when uncertain on what to do.
Mental models available (TV remote, CD player...) were effective at helping users understand the physical interface.
Come up with a hypothesis: What are we trying to learn? What assumptions do we have? What data would help us confirm/deny them?
Mix methodologies to get a variety of data in a singe session (quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, card sorting).
Organize plan into a project spec, keeping planned session time from 1 - 1.5 hours.
Place local print media ads (East Bay Express, Rossmoor Times).
Attend events (UC Berkeley Aging Innovation Summit) to network with professionals and those interested in our work.
Connect with local individuals connected to the community for referrals/distribution of marketing material.
Have potential participants fill out a preliminary survey, and schedule a phone call to confirm identity and consent to in-home interviews using a recruitment script.
Record quantitative data in an Airtable base for data analysis.
Film participants interacting with our device, and create a transcript of valuable quotes and ideas they come up with.
Compensate participants for their time ($50 Amazon gift card).
Reconnect with design team members to transform data into actionable insights: now that we have these numbers and these interviews, what can we learn, and how can we use that knowledge to move forward?
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
It's a major challenge to build trust with users. Welcoming strangers into their home to test an unknown medical device presented a serious leap of faith for some users. Having a quick phone call with users helped tremendously to allay fears.
Recruiting more users than necessary is important, due to those who don't respond to email/phone. In addition to the normal concerns of having a larger N to make results more relevant.
WHAT WOULD WE DO DIFFERENTLY?
Due to time limitations with the length of my contract and conflicting projects that took my attention away, this process took longer than expected. In future projects, I would start earlier and plan for more setbacks.
If possible, I would have incorporated more outside feedback from stakeholders within the company earlier in the process. We found that some people had thoughts/concerns about how our study would be conducted, and having their input earlier would have likely increased buy-in as well as proactively eliminated these problems.