Sharing Experiences: OpenMRS & UX Design

The OpenMRS Community is committed to being user-driven and has long held community-driven Design Forums. Questions around how we engage users and integrate design into our community processes have periodically surfaced in the community. An entire unconferencing session was dedicated to UI/UX Design Process + Human Centered Design at the 2018 OpenMRS Implementers Meeting. 

We’ve discovered that the term “UX/UI design” is subject to a number of widespread misconceptions. Many use the term to describe efforts to create wireframes, mockups, and prototypes, and then capture feedback from users. Others consider UX design and UI design to be the same thing.

More recently, the OpenMRS Community’s move towards a shared frontend has led to significant strides in adopting a full range of UX design conventions, tools, and processes. Our community is coming to see UI/UX as an integral part of the process for developing a user centered product.

From August 31-September 1, 2022, the OpenMRS Community brought together UX design experts, OpenMRS community members and implementers at our first “OpenMRS UX Design Conference and Mini-Meeting.” We wanted to use this event to raise awareness and promote use of user research & design, design documentation, and design activities happening in the community. Holding this conference also created an opportunity for UX designers, product managers, and developers from a variety of organizations to share their design achievements and experiences. Here are a few of the highlights:

New voices and saw new faces in the community! OpenMRS has held several virtual mini-meetings since OMRS20 in December 2020 – and this one was the first with a focus on UX design. Out of the 65 attendees, we saw some new faces among our familiar faces, suggesting that the UX design focus is bringing a new kind of professional to our community. We heard from OpenMRS product managers and developers about their experiences working with UX designs. 

New Product Documentation that is designer-friendly. Aline Silveira and Ciaran Duffy introduced new design documentation, explained how to follow the OpenMRS Design Guide, and shared critical Information Architecture patterns to follow.

Brainstorming design principles to guide us. Using participatory tools, like Menti-Meter & Jamboard, attendees came up with popular key terms to describe OpenMRS (open, community, inclusive, global), then shared what they thought these words meant for users, for our designs, and for OpenMRS as a community: Here are a few ideas that attendees had around how designs should….

  • solve pressing, real-world problems, 
  • Reduce potential errors that occur in my day-to-day, especially when I’m tired/overwhelmed; 
  • Be replicable and follow certain patterns from the community
  • Be composable into usable solutions with less effort needed by UX
  • Support a complete workflow.
  • Be intuitive and easy to adopt
  • Be inclusive and accessible, for all disabilities/abilities.

Missed the conference? Don’t worry! You can find recordings from all of our sessions by going to our UX Design Conference & Mini-Meeting schedule!

Sharing Experiences: OpenMRS & UX Design
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