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Case Study: Nurse Charlie

Reimagining Student Healthcare: Nurse Charlie 


Spring 2018

Roles: Visual Designer, Design Researcher

Tools: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Design thinking process, Adobe xD, Adobe inDesign

Key Learning Opportunities: working with a client

Collaborators: Stephanie Collins, Anumeha Sinha


College students are overwhelmed by taking care of themselves without a parent’s help. University Health Services wants to simplify the discovery process of information from their website. How might we increase engagement with UHS and provide comfort to new students?


working with a client

In this project, my team partnered with the University Health Services (UHS) at the University of Texas. We met with UHS representatives over several months. This way, we had direct access to data on student engagement and learned in more detail the problems that UHS has, like how to relay information to students who are constantly bombarded with information every day. Working with a client was a huge learning opportunity in communicating our design process to non-designer clients. We learned the hard way the importance of speaking a common language with your client and presenting information with clarity.

research & process

Our process started with interviews with students who use UHS services. Based on our findings, we created journey maps for a student’s experience through UHS to identify pain points. Based on our research, we decided on a chat bot as our concept. We found that students are more likely to share health-related information with a chat bot than a person. This could create another point of contact between students and UHS, also addressing our client’s issue of relaying important information to students. A chat bot can provide students with a friendly face to go to for minor health and wellness concerns, with all of the information sourced from the UHS website.

A chat bot can provide students with a friendly face to go to for minor health and wellness concerns, with all of the information sourced from the UHS website.

Next came our user testing phase. Our chatbot needed a face and a name, so we used card sorting to gain insights about what styles and colors express certain emotions, like reliable, friendly, and credible. We then asked users to walk through a paper prototype of our bot, encouraging participatory design. Since the success of our concept revolved around getting the tone just right for our audience, we were most interested to receive feedback on the language of conversation.

creating a character

One of my roles was to create the character. First we started with sketches drawn with a user during a testing session. We wanted to brand the character with UHS (like a burnt orange badge) as well as pick designs that felt accessible to all students. I faced a challenge when the designs I felt most passionate about were not well received by my team mates. Learning to abandon a beautiful design that didn’t serve its function, I scrapped my favorite characters and moved toward a single persona, who was more gender- and race-neutral, and had more healthcare authority with scrubs.

Our final iteration took the form of Nurse Charlie. With a neutral name, gender, and race, Nurse Charlie became the face of our product. We chose teal - a bright color with medical connotations - as the compliment to burnt orange (the university’s official color). Corresponding peach and light blue became our accent colors.

nurse charlie as a part of a system

We considered how Nurse Charlie interacts with the current system diagram of UHS. The information Charlie provides, sourced directly from the UHS website, avoids diagnosis, but rather informs students about relevant health and wellness information and allows them to feel more comfortable reaching out for help about their health-related questions and concerns. Nurse Charlie inserts itself into the exchange between students and the UHS, creating a new platform that’s quick, personalized, on-demand, and anonymous.

app walkthrough

Click here to view our process book.