A mobile app concept to make requesting shift coverage and shift swapping more efficient
I came up with this idea after picking up a per diem job in healthcare over the first summer of grad school. I loved the flexibility I had in choosing when to pick up work shifts, but I quickly encountered an annoyance that many of my colleagues felt similarly about. Per diem employees within the organization weren't given work phones like the full time employees, but we needed to use registered devices to access certain programs needed for work (such as our work emails). This meant that we weren't always checking our emails, so our colleagues who were looking for time off would then have to text our personal phones to request shift coverage. This system worked... but it was inefficient and tedious. I, along with both my per diem and full-time colleagues, wanted something that could work better. So I came up with Diem, designed to make the life of a per diem employee (like me) easier, and give us all a little more time to seize the day.
Conceptualize an app that allows employees to swap shifts and ask for coverage amongst themselves to promote efficiency and convenience.
UX Designer and Prototyper
Crafting the Personas
Based off of 5 informal interviews conducted with my colleagues at work, I created two personas based off common user goals and pain points.
Fallon, Per Diem
Pain point: Receiving too many messages from full-time staff asking for coverage. Feels socially pressured to accept shifts when contacted directly even when she knows she's busy
Goal: Review shift coverage requests on her own time. Have more freedom in selecting which shifts to pick up
Scarlett, Full Time
Pain point: Often goes through long wait times when requesting coverage from per diems. Reaching out to per diem staff feels inefficient and unreliable. Feels like a nuisance for constantly asking for updates and requesting coverage
Goal: Wants to be able to request shift coverage efficiently
Choreographing the User Experience
I wanted users to be able to complete their goals with the fewest number of screens possible. The two main user tasks to be accomplished through Diem is to either accept shift coverage requests or to request coverage. As such, I created two user flow diagrams, one for each task, so that I could visualize the user experience and see what the necessary screens were.
My goal when I started sketching was to come up with ideas on how I could make the design intuitive. I didn't want users to need to play around with the app for too long before being able to figure out how it worked. I took inspiration from mobile calendar apps, as many users are familiar with them, and made accepting shifts on Diem very similar to adding events to a mobile calendar.
I used my sketches to guide me during the wireframing portion of my design process. The main takeaway from my low-fidelity wireframe was to consider how I could incorporate a better way for users to look at picking up shifts that were further out.
I built the high-fidelity prototype using Figma. I wanted the visual design to be bold and energizing to really embody the vibe of seizing the day. I went with yellow as the main brand color and a professional sans serif font, Work Sans.
Since the main user task is accepting shifts, I wanted the user to be able to accomplish this from multiple areas in the app. As a result, the ability to accept shifts can be done through the home screen, the shifts page, as well as within direct messages.
I also added a calendar view to the shifts tab so that users have a visual representation of both open shifts and shifts they've accepted. This also allows them to change the dates that they're browsing with more ease, so that they can pick up available shifts that are further out.
What did I learn from Diem?
Diem was the first project I worked on that involved conceptualizing an app from scratch. I was a bit nervous to start since I wouldn't have a detailed design brief or an existing design to reference, but I realized that I had a strong understanding of the use context and user goals, since I was designing an app to solve a problem that I was personally facing. I was able to gain my bearings with that in mind, and bolstered my understanding and vision through user flow diagramming. I ended up having a lot of fun working on Diem and relished in the creative freedom I had in designing something completely new. Feel free to play around in the prototype below and let me know what you think :) Carpe diem!