A mobile app designed to improve the waiting experience of families with loved ones undergoing surgery

The Touchpoint app was created for TeleTracking Technologies as part of CMU's two-semester MHCI Capstone course. I joined the project in its second semester, stepping into the role of co-design lead alongside Julie Eckstrom, with John Przyborski as our project manager, Nissa Nishiyama as our research lead, and Maya Kreidieh as our technical lead.

IP constraints prevent me from displaying the most exciting parts of this project online, but I'd love to share our application and accompanying report books.


In healthcare, efficiency and patient satisfaction are becoming more important as hospitals face increased regulation, reduced insurance payments, increased costs, and higher demand for surgical services.

TeleTracking strives to reduce pressure on hospitals by decreasing healthcare inefficiencies. Their Orchestrate system is used to track surgical procedures and includes a display that family members in the waiting room can use to follow their loved one's surgery. We were asked to transform this display into a mobile app, and with this in mind, we made it our goal to increase mobility and peace of mind for loved ones of patients undergoing surgery.


The team spent the first half of Spring semester discovering the needs of families in hospital waiting rooms. Limited by requirements for patient privacy and hospital approval, research methods included card sorts, diary studies, surveys, interviews, and ethnographic observations.

Card sorts were used to determine the relative importance of different information during a family's wait at the hospital.

Diaries completed by families were studied to better understand the emotions and questions these families had throughout their hospital experiences.

Surveys were used to gather quantitative data on accessible information sources, satisfaction with the amount of information available, and types of technology used.

The team also interviewed eight waiting room desk attendants and department heads to learn about existing concerns, and sat in 11 waiting rooms to observe how different families occupied their time in the hospital.


The second half of the spring semester was spent on data analysis and initial visioning. The team created an affinity diagram and drew graphs representing family emotions throughout the waiting period.

This analysis revealed four main findings that were used to perform a round of visioning that would jump-start the design phase of the project:

Families let hospital workers into their lives

Uncertainty-induced anxiety can be tempered by information

Families make sacrifices to stay close to their loved ones

Families have difficulty with waiting room technology


Having found great variation in the technological proficiencies of family members in waiting rooms, we made it our objective to create a mobile application that our grandmas would be comfortable using.

Over the course of two months, we developed and tested nine iterations of our prototype. Testing methods used during this phase of the project included speed dating, think-alouds, surveys, card sorts, feature naming, and Wizard of Oz.

Before our first round of prototyping, we validated concepts from our initial round of visioning by speed dating storyboards with waiting room desk attendants. This allowed us to address some concerns upfront as we created our low-fidelity prototypes.

In our first three rounds of testing, we used paper to simulate a working system. These paper prototypes were easy to create and consisted of various hand-drawn screens.

Our mid-fidelity prototypes consisted of wireframes stitched together using either Invision or JustInMind. Although functionality was limited, test participants were able to interact with Touchpoint on a mobile device, giving us a better sense of navigation and interaction issues.

During the transition from mid-fidelity to high-fidelity prototyping, I began developing a visual language and icons for Touchpoint. These were refined throughout the remainder of our prototyping process.

Our final, functional, high-fidelity prototype was implemented using Phonegap.