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Philip Watson

Philip Watson

Senior UX Architect

UX teams and software vendors in healthcare settings – a workshop

Last month we at Akendi got the opportunity to speak to UX colleagues working in life science settings. At the 2021 UXLS conference, organised by the Pistoia Alliance, we found that running a workshop was the perfect way to create a forum for people to talk about the challenges involved in running UX activities in a wide range of pharmaceutical organisations. Here’s how it went…

Case study warm-up

We started warming everyone up by talking about a recent success of Akendi’s, where we had worked with a pharmaceutical company to improve the usability of one of their many internal products, provided by a third party software vendor. This project was so successful that Akendi have now been engaged by the vendor to improve their entire product range. 

Talking about this project allowed us to set the scene for the different stages of a project such as this, and touch on the different challenges that we encountered at each stage, and how we surmounted them.

Time to talk – be prepared to ad-lib

The workshop then split into four randomly-assigned breakout rooms, each with a separate topic for discussion. Akendi moderators moved through the rooms ensuring that discussions were kept on track and helping to get the ball rolling.

What was interesting about this part of the workshop was that we took input from the audience to adjust the topics and approach of the breakout rooms. This really helped get people engaged, because we were co-designing on the fly, and it resulted in topics and approaches that people were more interested in.

Attendees were asked to think about the challenges involved in their topic and discuss with each other how they would approach them, or how they had approached similar situations in the past. We then closed the breakout rooms and asked one person from each group to give feedback to everyone about what their group had discussed.

The vendor/UX team relationship is key

One thing that stuck out was that everyone seemed to talk about the fact that internal UX teams needed to be in sync with their external consultants. So things like existing guidelines could be used, but often the internal teams ignored their own UX teams. Sometimes to the point where consultants didn’t even realize there was one! Both sides need to push on that. 

Working with vendors is a topic of interest to the UX community

As the event was fully booked, we got the clear message that how internal UX teams work with external software vendors is a bit of a hot topic. We’re very thankful for all our participants who were great sports and really got into the topics, and to the Pistoia Alliance for organising this great event. See you at the next one!

Philip Watson

Philip Watson

Senior UX Architect


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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.