During my first semester of the Georgia Tech HCI program, I collaborated with my team to research and design a mobile application to promote COVID-19 vaccination amongst vaccine-hesitant university students.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the United States, low COVID-19 vaccination rates and high hesitancy remained amongst Atlanta-area college-aged adults. These circumstances presented an opportunity to engage in the process of research and design to understand and provide for the assets and needs of local COVID-19 vaccine-hesitant students.
VaxU is a mobile healthcare provider portal that addresses COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy of Atlanta-area college students. It accomplishes this by giving the ability to conveniently book COVID-19 vaccine appointments, providing channels of direct communication with university healthcare providers for COVID-19 vaccine concerns, and offering up-to-date supporting information about COVID-19 vaccines.
By August 2021, the US made substantial progress to counter the spread of COVID-19 through the development of vaccines that reduce chance of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Despite these advancements, COVID-19 vaccination rates stagnated and vaccine hesitancy continued, especially amongst college-age young adults (18-30 years old). Throughout Atlanta-area universities, there was a concerning range of vaccination rates and lingering hesitancy amongst student populations. As members of this community, my team and I were passionate about using the opportunity of this project to protect the health and wellbeing of those around us.
Understand how COVID-19 vaccination process on college campuses and how students approach the process
1 field observation session at Georgia Tech Stamps Health Services clinic in which we observed the people and environment
Understanding of campus COVID-19 vaccination process and points of confusion / apprehension in the vaccination process
Understand prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in population and associated attitudes and beliefs about vaccination
Qualtrics survey across Atlanta-area university social media pages, which resulted in a total of 290 responses
Vaccine-hesitant students make up a notable portion of local universities who share common vaccine attitudes and beliefs
Insight into the reasoning and influences of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy amongst the target population
3 remote semi-structured interviews with vaccine-hesitant university students recruited through survey response
Reasons behind students' hesitancy to COVID-19 vaccination and influences that impact vaccine decision-making
Following primary research practices, I led aggregating information and findings from each research method. Through this, we distilled our research findings into these essential points.
Easily understood information about COVID-19 vaccination is hard to find
Students do not trust reputable media COVID-19 vaccine information sources
Ethnicity factors into vaccination hesitancy due to existing preconceptions of healthcare
Family and friends have the most impact on students' COVID-19 vaccination beliefs
Providers are central to students' experiences with and perceptions of COVID-19 vaccination
Students do not consider long-term complications of COVID-19 contraction and illness
Students have persistent COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, even after full vaccination
Students most trust of verified scientific research for latest COVID-19 vaccination information
Upon distilling the research findings, I developed a personas based on research demographic data. These personas established an empathetic connection to the populations we sought to design for.
To design, I led my team in translating our research findings and personas into actionable design requirements. These requirements were guiding factors throughout the conception, development, and evaluation of our solution.
Care for users mentally and physically to help maintain health and safety
Provide regularly-updated and accurate COVID-19 information to stay aware and informed
Long-term support for users during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on their lives
Build trust by providing information solely from reputable and verified healthcare sources
Following the design requirements, I facilitated brainstorming in which each member shared their ideas, which were then expanded upon by the other members. Through this ideation process, we refined our initial ideas into 3 concepts.
This platform utilizes crowdsourced contributions from people who had experiences with COVID-19 and vaccinations to build meaningful connections. This relies on an editorial team to vet submissions to verify the accuracy of their content.
This portal provides the ability to seamlessly complete COVID-19 vaccination at campus health clinics. This facilitates direct communication about COVID-19 vaccinations between students and healthcare providers for immediate and long-term concerns.
This database is for leading scientists to translate their COVID-19 and vaccine findings so students can access and understand them. This relies on multimedia, data visualizations, and readability assessments to ensure information is accessible.
After selecting the healthcare portal design concept, I established the user flow through which users navigate the application. This user flow was essential to developing the wireframes, design system, and prototype.
Once the user flow was established, I facilitated development of a series of low-fidelity wireframes that execute the user flow. These wireframes served as the basis for further developing the operational prototype.
Upon wireframing the user flow of VaxU, I guided our team in establishing a design system to apply to the wireframes to increase the visual fidelity of the prototype.
Following design system development, I led applying the established guidelines to our wireframes and prototype interactions to develop a mid-to-high fidelity prototype that demonstrated core functionality.
VaxU enables COVID-19 vaccination appointment scheduling through university healthcare centers. This provides users with directions and explanations to establish transparency and build trust as to prepare for COVID-19 vaccination.
VaxU allows direct communication with healthcare providers at university healthcare clinics to address vaccine concerns. Users may book video appointments or initiate chats with to receive care and support during their vaccination process.
VaxU provides supplementary information guides to address questions or concerns throughout the COVID-19 vaccination process. These guides are sourced from official government and scientific publications to ensure relevance and accuracy.
Determine how usable functions of the platform were for users to assess their value in the implementation of the prototype
5 remote tests with vaccine-hesitant college students with moderated scenarios based on core prototype functionalities
Users operated the functions of the platform, demonstrating the prototype offers value as a solution to address vaccine hesitancy
VaxU is a novel platform focused on the needs of COVID-19 vaccine-hesitant students. By providing the ability to book appointments, direct communication with healthcare providers, and the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, the features of this platform can shift vaccination attitudes from hesitancy to acceptance. This remains vital as shifts in vaccination attitudes create lasting change by promoting the cultural importance of vaccines to improve the health of all.
I am proud to have contributed to the development of this solution with my teammates. Though it was often challenging to design a solution for a problem that was unfolding in real-time, it remained exciting to navigate and problem-solve in a subject area that I am passionate about. The central challenge of this project ultimately made my contributions feel that much more urgent and meaningful. It was rewarding design a solution that is vital to the wellbeing of my community.