Designing User Friendly Cell Orchestration with an Intuitive User Interface

Designing User Friendly Interface Cell Orchestration

The success of any SaaS (software as a service) platform extends beyond the features and functionality of the system deployed, having an intuitive user interface that makes for a user friendly cell orchestration system is key in successful user adoption. This is because supply chains within cell and gene therapy and generally highly complex and in a highly regulated industry.

Whilst it is critical to get system scope right, therapy orchestration should also be user friendly and intuitive. As users are at different sites and organizations with different user profiles; unintuitive cell orchestration systems lead to high training costs and low user adoption. 

Cell orchestration systems connect supply chain stakeholders and partners, facilitating data input and information transfer, progressing the therapy journey. This information flow and collation between many sources makes orchestration possible and scalable. But users with different roles and needs, add to the training needed to ensure they are all able to use the system effectively. 

A strong training and support system certainly helps address these challenges but comes with a cost and management requirement. However, training burden can be reduced by factors such as the build and design of the system. 

Ensuring that software is easy to use begins at the design stage. The term generally used to encompass this is the User Experience (UX). UX encompasses how an end-user interacts with the system. A strong UX is central to a user-friendly orchestration tool, making it easier for users to complete their tasks.  

When designing software, it seems obvious that a focus would be to offer a strong UX. Less experienced software developers may be so focused on delivering required feature sets, that UX takes a back seat. This is particularly prevalent when the software is applied for a complex process. Sometimes, simple can be anything but! 

More mature software products have the advantage of having run the gauntlet of user feedback and adoption. As a result, developers should be more aware of the need to map user needs and how these may differ.  

UX is also influenced by external factors like hardware or connected systems. There could be user specific considerations such as computer literacy, experience, knowledge, language, or interpretation of colors or icons. 

So, what can you do to ensure that you are implementing an intuitive cell orchestration system? Firstly, engage with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the scoping process. Look for an agile developer, this will give to an opportunity to review and feedback every two weeks. Also, ensure that your project team consider the following points. 

Intuitive User Interface (UI) 

The User Interface (UI) of a software system is focused on the visual elements the user interacts with. This will include information layout, navigation, data presentation and how this impacts usability e.g. how clear a button is on a screen. 

Generally, users are relatively IT literate, but undoubtedly some systems are easier to use than others. Designers aim to create a system that is easy to navigate and understand for new users by mapping tasks and pathways. This involves utilizing familiar and widely adopted icons and screen layouts to assist with general usability. For example, it is common to expect a search bar to be at the top of a screen layout. 

Where intuitive UI/UX is a priority, developers are likely to have audited their systems to assess usability. This data should then be combined with the feedback of users in field and industry groups. OCELLOS is regularly reviewed by both UI experts and user groups to identify and address improvements. 

Well Defined User Profiles 

Getting user profiles right means you can effectively tailor their experience to their requirements. Many reasons exist to restrict the access to information by a user, e.g. to control sensitive or protected information. But it is also sensible to restrict what data is shown for optimal usability. Displaying elements or information that the user does not need makes it harder to identify what is needed.  

The fewer choices or options a user must make or navigate, the quicker and easier it is to use the system. Each screen should have a purpose and be streamlined to show only what is needed to accomplish that. Surplus information or options only add the potential for error and/or confusion when using the system. 

Optimized Data Presentation 

Having considered what information a user needs to see; the next consideration is how to display this data effectively. A key efficiency to be gained in implementing an orchestration system is putting required information at the user’s fingertips. There are many ways to display information and the most effective method should always be used. 

Developers have many tools at their disposal, but each should be assessed for its strengths and used appropriately. Dashboards and visual elements like charts work well for numerical or statistical information. Highlights and bold text lend themselves to indicate key or required fields. The ability to report and search for specific data and the use of dynamic elements like notifications all help.  

When considering how to display elements, developers must allow for any constraints or limitations specific to the method. For example, will the design work in an alternative language, or for a color-blind user? 

Data Validation and Prompts 

Well-designed data validation reduces data entry errors and guides users completing screens and forms. Data validation is not simply a box ticking exercise, poorly implemented it will detract from UX.

Data validation and user prompts used to best effect will reinforce each other and support the user in completing processes quickly and correctly. Facilitating correct input is critical or the process will be blocked, driving users to operate outside of the system. 

Screen layouts should still be clear and presented logically but help text or prompts can add clarity for the user if needed. The data validation rules should then help to prevent errors. For example, if a field specifies a weight to the nearest KG, the help text would prompt to enter a whole number, and data validation would enforce this. 

Localization 

When bringing together international users to input into a process, local differences need to be considered. Adaptations might be geographically driven such as language, time zones, or local regulations. Or they could simply be organizational differences in terminology, abbreviations or similar.  

To be truly user friendly, an orchestration system must meet differing requirements easily and facilitate users from different backgrounds working together collaboratively. For example, showing the time and date for the shipping and receiving locations when scheduling, or translating elements. 

OCELLOS has been designed to be a configurable and flexible platform, so it can easily be mapped to the needs of specific therapies and specific user profiles. Built on salesforce.com it can make use of well-teste UI/UX tools and techniques.  

OCELLOS is a multi-tenant, SaaS solution. The basic elements of the UI/UX are common to many therapy developers, supporting many different user and therapy classes. Unlike a bespoke system, you benefit from group learning or experience that can be harnessed for your deployment. 

Equally it is insufficient to deploy a system with a strong UI/UX and then walk away from the project for years. Things change, and within both advanced therapies and computer systems this change happens quickly.  

Processes could change meaning that the most carefully designed system is no longer well suited to the tasks that the user needs to undertake. Equally, the standards around design and display are always advancing. The contrast between how PCs and operating systems looked ten years vs now, shows how technology and software design have advanced. 

As a modular, cloud hosted platform, OCELLOS is accessible and secure, and changes are easily deployed. The flexibility to update for security, design, content, or process is inherent in the system. CGT is highly regulated so changes must be documented and validated to ensure capability and compliance. However, system flexibility ensures that configuring changes is not a barrier. To book a free demo of OCELLOS, simply fill out a contact form online.

TrakCel are constantly seeking user feedback to improve products and services. Our industry advisory boards run biannually, and our teams are always gathering customers and user feedback. You can join a TrakCel advisory board or send feedback by contacting enquiry@trakcel.com.  

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