Creating a Consumer-Focused Search

Harlan By Harlan Edlin, Product Manager, Search Experience

HealthSparq facilitates tens of millions of health care searches each month. These searches are comprised of parents looking for new pediatricians, a man researching cost for a much-needed MRI, a woman wanting to learn more about knee replacement at a highly-rated facility and so much more. That’s why we look beyond metrics to make our tools user-friendly, because we know that each search represents a person. Health care is a personal journey and it’s our job to help guide people to the information they want and need as quickly and easily as possible.

When we set out to create a new search experience for our HealthSparq One platform, we knew it couldn’t be about the technology, it had to be about each individual. Our goal was to accommodate users no matter how simple or complex their individual health care journey was; it had to meet them exactly where they were.

The Design and Development Process
Creating great software is an art as much as it is a science. To ensure we hit the mark, we set out to validate that our design resonated with consumers as well as the health plans that they subscribe to. We did this through extensive usability testing where we’d present design prototypes to a set of people who had never seen our software before. Each user was given as task to accomplish and we’d watch and listen as they interacted with the prototype to see where they were successful and where they struggled. We repeated this process until each user who was given a task could complete it; displaying an understanding of how to work with the tools in front of them. Based on this feedback loop, we then took the software into a beta where users were free to use the search experience for their own “tasks.” We analyzed usage patterns and compared it to the feedback customers would leave us.

An early model of the Search 2.0 prototype:

An early model of the Search 2.0 prototype


And then we started over…

Realizing that we were close, but hadn’t quite hit the mark, we went back to the prototyping phase. We presented more users with a new iteration, giving them tasks and watching them learn the system until we were confident we’d designed an experience that worked for every user.

Introducing Search 2.0
After repeating this cycle, we had a working prototype that had been validated by consumers in beta and tested in production by real users. The result is a simple, yet elegant search mechanism that allows consumers to find the provider, treatment, cost and quality information they need.

Much like our own journeys for health and wellness, the path to forge an experience that allows consumers to connect with the right information – at the exact moment in time they need it – is ongoing. It’s our mission to push forward with innovations that help people and make their health care experiences better and Search 2.0 is another exciting step in the right direction.

Interested in seeing the tool in action? See this quick video!

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