Q&A with New Creative Director Gives Insights into Health App Design
|Name: Patrick Moody-Grigsby|
|Title: Creative Director, Ayogo Health Inc.|
|Fun Fact: I used to be a competitive sailor|
|Hobbies: Traveling, Gardening, Cooking, Eating, Gaming, Reading|
|Personal Website: wondersandwanderlust.com|
Each month we will put an Ayogi in the spotlight. To kick things off, meet Patrick our Creative Director! Previously a Game Designer at Microsoft, Patrick spent years designing for cutting-edge technology that got people up off the couch, moving around, and laughing together. But his personal life has been closely tied to healthcare.
While he was off making games, his girlfriend was suffering the trials and tribulations of medical school. “I joke that my most meaningful contribution to society is making sure she and her doctor friends were fed and happy while they were cramming for their exams.” It was from them that he learned a lot and got to see how much the medical system could benefit from the advancements in engagement psychology that he was learning about in game and UX design.
Now at Ayogo, Patrick is the champion of good design principles in everything we do. He’s the conductor in front of our design orchestra, making sure we emphasize the right notes and the right time so that our solutions resonate with the very specialized audiences we cater to. “I channel the needs of the patients so that our product is both delightful to use and provides the support required to achieve their health goals.”
Q: What are you hoping to achieve while at Ayogo?
I’m hoping to push the adoption of digital solutions in the healthcare space that feel natural in their daily routines. People live on their smartphones now, so that’s where we need to reach them so that it feels normal. At the end of the day, I’m here to give patients the ability to feel empowered and in control of their health. If patients start seeing the work they do to achieve their health goals as a positive experience instead of a burden, I’ll be happy.”
Q: How can health app design actually help change people’s lives?
I think it really boils down to a simple psychological shift: we take what most people see as a negative experience and reframe it as a positive. In my experience, healthcare providers are some of the most exceptional, hard-working and generous people in the world, yet most people instinctively react to healthcare with fear and apprehension. Part of it is the fear that comes from being mortal, but there’s also the fear of feeling judged for bad habits or lack of knowledge.
Games and gamified health apps like Empower just don’t carry that same baggage. In fact, they have the opposite effect. They remind people of fun, delight, improvement, mastery, sharing, achievements…I could go on and on!
We can give patients micro-goals and small rewards over a longer period of time, building their knowledge and confidence at a sustainable pace, whereas at a doctor’s office you’ll get a huge download of information and tasks all at once, which can be overwhelming and therefore easy to ignore.”
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in designing for health?
The biggest challenge is that there are a lot of regulatory hurdles around social. We know for a fact that social connections greatly increase patient engagement in their health; to know that someone else is out there going through the same thing as you is so important for the human psyche, it makes a patient’s dedication to their health that much stronger. The hard part is as soon as you say social in a medical context everyone gets scared. There are a lot of challenges in terms of making sure that the design meets all the strict legal requirements, that are there for good reason, while still letting patients connect with each other in a meaningful way. This is something that we’ve been very successful at, getting through those challenges while still providing users the connections they need and want.”
Q: What advice do you have for those who are looking to start their career in design, specifically within the healthcare space?
Find a problem you care about, research as much as you can until you can objectively channel those users, design a solution from beginning to end, test it on your friends, iterate, and polish it. Then find someone who’s trying to solve the same problem, show them your work and tell them you need their help to make it real. There’s a quote I love that says “design is the solving of problems,” so if you don’t know what problems you want to solve, then you’re missing an essential part of what’s going to make you a great designer.”