Empowering Clients: Designing an Intuitive Customer Portal for Lab Testing

Project Overview

Understanding the User

User Research

Our first step was to better understand user’s needs and project requirements. I assisted the project manager with conducting user interviews. We spoke with Canyon Labs executives, the sample receiving team, lab testing personnel, and individuals from Canyon Lab’s largest customer.

Pain Points

We identified a number of pain points we wanted to address.

Consistency – No Uniform Process

Because all order submissions are done through manual processes, such as phone calls, emails, and paper forms, there isn’t a uniform sample submission process. Customers and Cayon Lab employees find it difficult to keep order information organized. This can lead to problems like miscommunications, lost information, and duplicated submissions. Different individuals at the same company may submit orders in different ways or have different expectations.

Communication – No Order Tracking

Customers have no easy way to check on the status of the samples they submitted. A single sample can have multiple tests performed. Even though some tests only take a short amount of time, others can take up to a month and customers are only notified of the results after all testing is complete. They would like a way to view preliminary results and testing updates.

There also is not an easy way to see if a sample has an issue (such as spilling in transport or mislabeling). Customers and Canyon Labs employees would like to make it easier to communicate so testing isn’t delayed.

Safety – Missing Information

Because there is not a uniform sample submission process with clear requirements, samples are often sent to the lab without proper documentation. The lab may not know what’s arrived in their lab and what testing is needed. This can cause testing delays because Canyon Labs will need to contact the customer for clarity. It can also lead to samples being stored improperly and being ruined (requiring new samples to be sent over). Unmarked samples can also be dangerous. The lab could have no way of knowing if they are working with a hazardous or controlled substance.

Time- Redundant Work

After sample information is collected, it needs to be entered into the laboratory tracking system before the lab can begin testing because clients are unable to enter sample information directly into the system themselves. This is a manual step that’s time consuming.

Personas

Based on our findings, I created personas to represent our users.

persona
persona

Designs

Userflows

Based on our initial findings, we created requirements and userflow diagrams for a customer portal that would address user’s concerns. We wanted to creata a place where: 

  • Customers would be able to submit samples for testing
  • Customer’s could see the testing status and view preliminary and final results for submitted samples
  • Customers could receive notifications and alerts if there were any problems with their sample or testing
  • Customers would be given shipping instructions
  • Customers would be required to enter all information needed by the lab
  • Samples information would be directly a dded into the testing system so it would not need to be reentered by admin
  • And more
lab userflow

Mockups and Prototypes

Once we had a plan mapped out, I created low and high fidelity prototypes which were used for user testing. 

This is an example of one of the screens from the design. We took inspiration from turbo tax to create a user friendly form for the sample submission process.

The images below show a zoomed a view of some of the screens from the high sample submission fidelity prototype.

Lab high fidelity

Usability Studies and Findings

Along with the project manager, I helped to conduct user tests. We asked individuals to walk us through how they would conduct tasks like submitting new samples for testing, looking for sample testing results, and manage account information. Based on the feedback we received, the design went through multiple rounds of iteration. We added trimmed down sections of the process that were cumbersome and added new features base don users suggestions. For example,

  • A section where customers can schedule sample pickup through a courier
  • Templates where users can save testing information about products so they won’t need to reenter the same information for samples they submit later
  • Testing bundles so users can request a group of related tests instead of needing to find each one in the testing list
  • We hid irrelevant tests from users so they wouldn’t need to search through a list of all services provided by the company, just the ones relevant to them
  • And more

Accessibility

We wanted to make sure to consider accessibility with our design. 

  • We designed for multiple screen sizes include mobile to account for different user’s needs
  • We evaluated the size and contrast for text to ensure legibility
  • We interviewed and conducted a user test with a colorblind individual

Going Forward