Patient Centricity in UX Design for Healthcare

Let’s face it: making medical research accessible to everyone is not an easy task. The space is complex and jargon-rich with messy source data, but as technology has advanced, people have come to expect quick and easy search tools. To add to the mix, you need to cater to a vast range of user demographics. For example, a 20-year-old living with Type 1 diabetes in a big city has very different motivations and constraints than an older person living in rural US just diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

User experience (UX) design from a patient perspective is helpful to keep in mind when putting together materials for promoting your trial digitally, such as for pre-screening landing pages or an app that will be using electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO).

Whatever your UX need, these patient centricity principles have worked well for the Antidote team in designing our clinical trials search tool, trial landing pages for patients, and other work that connects patients with research opportunities.

Uncover true user needs

This is a tricky one to get right, but it is by far the most important. As pointed out by Steve Blank (a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and innovator), the first key to success is "getting out of the building.” What that means for patient-centric UX design is freeing yourself from the inherent biases of your team and speaking directly with patients. This will provide context (lots of it!) and help you understand underlying motivations, behaviors and desired outcomes – as well as pain points and frustrations. Helix Centre, a London-based health design agency took this a step further and embedded their studio in one of the city's busiest hospitals.


Once you start having a better understanding of trends in patient behaviors, goals, and pain points, start mapping them out. This should bring clarity and help you and your team see the bigger picture and gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be a patient with a particular condition. It will also help you identify opportunities for improvement (problems to be solved) and focus on them. There are a myriad of ways in which this can be accomplished. Tools that we have found useful include empathy and experience maps.

An empathy map for patient centricity in user experience design


Validate early and often

With true user needs identified and empathy tapped in to, you can start working on solutions. At this stage, it is important to expedite learning whether the solution you've envisioned is the right one before you go too far down a specific path. This can be done in a number of different ways depending on the type of product you're building and the context. For example, if you're working on a mobile app, you could run usability tests with patients using wireframes or basic clickable prototypes that require zero coding.

As designs evolve, ensure you’re always thinking about accessibility. Don’t be tempted to put form over function; instead, make sure design solutions are intuitive for all users and pass the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to ensure everyone can easily use your product.


Your product or service is never going to be perfect from the start. Use data (both big, such as analytics or results of A/B tests AND small, such as usability testing or user feedback) to inform how to make incremental improvements.

When you start with the patient experience in mind and design from there, you’ll naturally create products that are both intuitive and helpful.

If you’re looking for help creating patient-centric trial listings or patient enrollment campaigns, find out how Antidote can help.