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Using design to make the life of an ER worker a little easier

Workshops, research and branding for Spectrum Health's myDesktop interface

Spectrum Health, the largest employer in West Michigan, engaged with our partners at OST to build a virtual desktop interface (VDI) for their health system employees. Right off the bat, it's helpful to know that VDI is the practice of hosting a desktop operating system within a virtual machine running on a centralized server. This allows for a “follow-me” function, where a user's workflow follows them from any computer they access. The VDI would first launch with their Emergency Department staff, then eventually roll out to thousands across the organization.

Visualhero was hired to build a brand for their VDI, dubbed "myDesktop." We were also tapped to help OST facilitate persona workshops and user interviews, develop branded materials for launch, and ultimately design a visual system across multiple brand touchpoints for myDesktop.

First, we had to gain a better understanding a complex topic. 

To do this, we ran a series discovery workshops that helped us define the objective of the project, including both for the overall initiative and for the branding project. These also helped determine similar initiatives that we should be aware of and uncover the people, objects, environments, messages and services that will shape the brand experience. Finally, we used collaborative exercises to define aspirations for the myDesktop brand, and outlined the ever-growing list of current and future myDesktop touchpoints.

Armed with a detailed understanding of the project, we began creating branding concepts. Our iterative design process was guided by a handful of key principles that would drive the myDesktop brand: First, it must be easily recognizable. Users within ER and hospital environments are often managing any number of daily responsibilities and tasks, so the brand needed to standout to a hurried eye. For this very same reason, the brand needed to be intuitive in application. Time spent discerning what's what is wasted valuable time. Finally, as a brand that lives within the larger Spectrum Health brand, myDesktop needed to be versatile, referential and resonate with the organization.

Next, we needed to hear from the users. 

In tandem with our branding work, we were asked to help facilitate a persona workshop to expose some of the weaknesses of the current system. OST was confident in the need for and benefits of moving to myDesktop, but the insights from users interacting with the existing system confirmed this belief.

“Visualhero helped us create an identity for myDesktop. Not only did this craft awareness for the product but also helped generate excitement.” — Kati Scalabrino, PMP, Project Manager at Spectrum Health

Through a four-hour workshop with over 20 Spectrum Health employees in various roles, we helped reveal the hopes and barriers surrounding myDesktop. Some of the findings of this discussion centered around location-specific obstacles unique to specific users. This revelation led us to working with users to develop 14 personas that will continue to inform the impact of myDesktop.

“This system is going to make things so much easier. My work follows me to any station I use!” - Helen Devos Children's Hospital ER Nurse

Finally, everything we learned rolled into a successful launch. 

After an initial presentation of concepts, followed by a round of revisions, we landed on a simple, but memorable icon paired with a color palette that stands out in a busy ER setting. To prove our concept, the brand was shown on various touchpoints, including mousepads, water bottles, apparel, stickers, as well as mocked up into environment signage, posters, banners, and desktop screens. Finally, we worked with a local printing partner to produce badge reader stickers, branded materials and myDesktop launch signage.

“We embarked on a journey to design the brand for a new product, but our journey led us to a design for how people would interact and experience the new product.”

Rebecca Content Project Manager at Spectrum Health