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UX/UI Design, Research, Branding

NIH/OHSRP - Protecting Human Research Subjects

Created a distinct visual identity and designed a new, approachable site to serve OHSRP's diverse user base including the NIH research community, participants in clinical trials, and IRB members.
Ongoing
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Work-In-Progress

This project is ongoing - new material will be added to this case study as available

Context

The Office of Human Subjects Research Protections (OHSRP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) carries out the day-to-day operations and regulatory oversight of human research activities, and promotes the protection of rights, safety and welfare of human subjects, and the NIH’s research mandate. OHSRP is a relatively new office, and replaced an intricate system of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at NIH. Previously, each institute (or a small group of institutes) had their own IRB to review intramural research. Standards and processes were not consistent across all the institutes/IRBs. Now, all intramural research regarding human subjects goes through one central IRB (OHSRP), housed under the Office of the Director for the Intramural Research Program.

Research

Market Research

OHSRP occupies a unique space in the world of human subjects research protection. I of course spent a lot of time looking at the websites of other institutional IRB programs (i.e. University of Rochester, and University of Kentucky) and of commercial IRBs like Advarra and AspireIRB. I also had to look at comparable websites from the federal government. The IRB websites were all extremely helpful when it came to understanding the typical functioning structure of an IRB, as well as common organizational patterns.

The federal websites helped me to understand what people expect from their government's digital presence. I also stumbled upon the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS), whose Design Principles support and reflect the important guidance codified in the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act.

User Interviews

OHSRP has four main user groups: the NIH Intramural research community, the OHSRP staff, IRB members, and clinical trial participants. I was able to do in person interviews with OSHRP staff and members of the NIH Intramural research community, and sent a survey to IRB members. Some of the IRB members are former clinical trial participants, or are family members of current patients. Since I was unable to interview/survey current patients due to privacy restrictions, these specific IRB members also received a survey with questions about the participant experience.

  • Most people use OSHRP's website to find and download forms they need to get protocols approved.
  • The most common forms needed are the protocol template and the various consent forms.
  • Only two people said they ever used OHSRP's website on a mobile device. Everyone else strictly uses a desktop/laptop when accessing the site.
  • Most people did not know where to find information they were looking for, and many had multiple pages bookmarked so they would not have to navigate through the site itself.

Empathize

User Personas

I compiled the data from my research to create a realistic representation of the key audience segments. Almost every single person I interviewed commented on the lack of organization on the existing site. The amount of information was overwhelming because they didn't know where to go to look--even some people in OHSRP's office!

Define

Feature Roadmap

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Ideate

Task Flow

After sketching out the main pages, I identified the main flow that users would follow to complete a task - finding and downloading a consent form.

Wireframes

Below are a few key screens from the wireframe process, in both hand-drawn and digital versions.

Logo

NIH has strict guidelines regarding logos for individual institutes/offices. The NIH Identity Guidelines do not cover the exact positioning of OHSRP, as an office within the Office of the Director in the Intramural Research Program (IRP). After consulting with Medical Arts (who upkeep the identity guidelines) and OHSRP leadership, we decided it would be most appropriate to follow the guidelines for an office within the IRP. That way, it is clear that OHSRP policies and guidelines only apply to researchers within IRP, an not those in the Extramural program whose research is funded at least in part by grants from NIH.

UI Kit

Mockups

Prototype & Test

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Final Designs

Priority Revisions

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Final Designs & Prototype