FreeForm: An App for Accessible Appointments
Created by Amrita Narasimhan, Annika Epperly, Katie Xinran Hancock, and Logan Milandin
Easy access to healthcare should be available to anyone, regardless of their health and ability. But people with mobility impairments, especially if in their hands, may struggle disproportionately with physical tasks at medical appointments, such as filling out intake forms and navigating offices without proper accommodations.
FreeForm replaces having to manually fill out medical forms with a sleek and simple mobile application. Complete with a voice input option, intelligent auto filling, and a way of communicating accommodation needs to medical professionals, FreeForm makes healthcare more accessible to all by allowing users to complete forms in seconds and ensure their specific needs are met. To use FreeForm, users download the app from the app store and fill out their personal medical information after creating an account. Then, when they schedule a medical appointment, they tell the provider they use FreeForm and the provider sends them required forms through the app. The user then sends the completed forms back to the provider along with all their accommodation needs, all through the app.
The Design Process
We first made a paper prototype which supported our two tasks of having users communicate their accommodation needs with healthcare professionals, and fill out any required forms before their appointments. This was to ensure that we could fully test to see whether our design had the functionality we intended, without getting distracted with unnecessary details. We tested our paper prototype by having our peers try to use our app without receiving any guidance from us. When our peers clicked on a specific button, we manually changed the screen like what would happen if they were using our fully implemented application.
From this process, we realized a few key insights:
- When the user was trying to fill out text boxes with our speech-to-text feature, it was difficult for them to click on the microphone icon for every single text box. Additionally, if the user decided to auto-fill their information into the form, there was no way to undo the auto-filled information. To combat this in our final design, we allowed our users to be able to turn on the speech-to-text feature for the whole page, and we added a “Clear Form” button.
- Users were confused about what it meant for their form to be “completed” and whether they had to also press “send” in order for the doctor to receive their forms. We decided to fix this in our final design by making it visually clear that the submission button applies to the whole page and adding text clarifying that changes to forms would be autosaved, but not automatically sent.
Our Digital Prototype
View the prototype in Figma:
Our two primary tasks are (1) communicating accommodation needs with a doctor, and (2) filling out intake forms with ease. In the screen on the left, users get an overview of the app. They can see their upcoming appointments, required forms to fill out, accommodation requests, and appointment details. Here, they can access each of these functionalities and send the information over to their healthcare provider once they’re done filling everything out. In the middle screen, there is an example of a new patient questionnaire form that was autofilled using information from the user’s profile. This saves time and effort on the users’ part, since they don’t have to re-fill out the same information in multiple forms, and is especially beneficial to users who may have trouble typing on a phone screen. The screen on the right showcases the user’s profile page, where they can customize their settings and information to fit their needs. They can toggle between typing manually or using speech-to-text, fill out their basic medical information to auto-fill forms out later, and add accommodation needs that may stay consistent for every visit.
Some changes we made from the preliminary mockup to the final mockup include:
- Switching from having a microphone button on every field of an intake form to one on/off switch for speech-to-text throughout the entire application. This is because if users need to use speech-to-text for one field, they likely need it for all fields, and this reduces the amount of work required by the user.
- Adding a “back” button to the appointment screen since we forgot to add one to the preliminary mockup, and it would be incredibly frustrating as a user to have to exit the entire application just to go back to a previous screen.
- Adding a note to the user on the intake form screen that lets them know that all of their information will be autosaved as they fill it out. Some of the users from our usability testing expressed confusion as to whether their information would be saved if their session timed out or if they exited the app, so we added this to clear up the confusion.
- Adding a “clear form” button at the bottom of the intake form screen. This is because if a user decides to autofill their form from information in their profile and the app pulls incorrect information, it would be incredibly frustrating to have to manually erase every field in the form. A “clear form” button would allow them to undo the action in one simple step.
Through our user research, we found that medical centers are not very accessible or accommodating to many people with mobility limitations. Specifically, the majority of our study participants claimed that they were often frustrated by having to fill out long, repetitive, and inaccessible paperwork every time they visited their doctors. Our app aims to solve these issues by giving our users a way to quickly and easily fill out paperwork and communicate their accommodation needs with their doctors prior to their appointments. Our design focuses on making the process of filling out forms simpler by automatically filling in important information and giving users options like voice-to-text so that they can enter their information in the way that is easiest for them. We also have a section for accommodation information to be sent directly to the healthcare provider so that users can easily communicate with their doctors and receive proper accommodations ahead of time. With these features, we hope to alleviate some of the stress caused by inaccessible appointments and improve the quality of the healthcare our users receive.