Modus is the brainchild of a leading US spinal physician with an ambition to provide better, evidence based treatment to patients while rewarding physicians for following prescribed best practice. To succeed, Modus would need to provide a usable interface for physicians and crucially patients of all ages and abilities, while fitting seamlessly into the busy day to day running of a surgery.

My Role

I worked initially in a one to one brainstorming phase with the client to visualise a possible solution for business validation. After positive results I was joined by a lead developer, on site in Detroit, to carry out research and continue with design and testing.

The Approach

In order to make the system effective it was necessary for patients to complete a survey relating to their condition, symptoms, pain levels etc. before a consultation had taken place.

To establish the viability of patient involvement in the process I led a period of field research in a busy surgery and held empathy sessions with patients and surgery staff to examine further the behaviours involved with a consultation.

This research was vital as with a British design team we carried with us some engrained concerns of busy waiting rooms and busier staff that would make one to one consultation impossible. This wasn’t the case in the surgeries we researched or in the experiences of the participants who took part in the research sessions.

The insights we gathered challenged our assumptions and showed the value and importance of field research in UX design.

While concerns were alleviated over the potential to complete an online questionnaire with the help of a nurse in a waiting room environment it was also clear accessibility would be vital when designing user interfaces and in order to provide a realistic turnover, locked tablet devices would be required for use within the surgery.

The second stage of research involved working with Physicians to establish how they carried out their consultations (field research was not available due to patient confidentiality) through simulation of consultations. As the application would initially operate separately to existing systems we found some resistance to the suggestion of an additional system and a general reluctance to focus too much attention on a computer screen whilst the patient was present. The need for a simple, visual interface requiring minimal interaction became a priority. 

Outside of research time was spent brainstorming ideas (actually using beer mats at times!) to the point a working prototype at wireframe level was created, tested and iterated before moving to a high res, HTML prototype and a full simulation of the process.


Further stages of research and development have continued to refine the product to a point where it is ready for pilot. The change of presidency in the US has meant some business changes have been required and lengthened the launch process.