Q-interactive

Q-interactive Assess login screen

Project Overview

Q-interactive is a psychological assessment platform for the iPad. I contributed to it for a little over a year as an Interaction Designer while working for Pearson’s Clinical Assessment group in Austin, Texas.

For years, psychological assessment instruments such as the WISC-IV or WAIS-IV have been administered using large paper-based kits that included stimulus books, record forms, response forms, administration manuals, and more. Q-interactive was created to consolidate these resources to make them more portable, increase availability by giving practitioners the ability to add tests to their battery on-the-fly, and add value by providing other useful tools (such as audio recording or automated scoring assistant).

Using Q-interactive, practitioners administer tests with two iPads that communicate via Bluetooth. One iPad is for them to give instructions, record responses, score, take notes, and control visual stimuli. The other is used by the client to respond.

Q-interactive Assess practitioner's screen
An example of a Q-interactive practitioner interface (taken from the iOS App Store).

Challenges

Working on this product was extremely interesting, and it presented quite a few unique challenges.

The first of which had to do with who our target users were. In general, these assessments are used to evaluate children and adults who fall on either edge of the bell curve (whether we are talking about behavior, intelligence, speech ability, or any other testing subject). People who fall in the middle of the bell curve aren’t usually those targeted for testing. With this in mind, we knew we had to design for extremes in attention span, intelligence, and other abilities, and had to account for a wide variety of edge cases.

Another challenge was in making sure the tests we designed were accurately measuring the client’s ability in a particular subject. User interfaces needed to be completely transparent and out of the way to ensure the test was collecting the correct information and not being clouded by difficulty with the UI.

As we created design solutions, we had to be careful about maintaining a consistent design language across the entire system. Our team designed hundreds of screens across a variety of test instruments, and any inconsistencies could create confusion (which might result in inaccurate test results which was obviously unacceptable).

The fact that we had a distributed product team was another difficult challenge. With members in Austin, San Antonio, and the Bay Area, communication was key to keeping everyone on the same page and the project moving forward. The design team made sure our specs included highly-detailed annotations, and any questions were addressed promptly via email or on a Google Hangout.

Takeaways

Designing for this product has given me invaluable experience in creating a design system that can scale and be used in a wide variety of situations, and it has taught me a lot about process and collaboration in an agile environment. It’s also given me a greater appreciation for the importance of a well-designed user interface, especially in an application like this that has the ability to change one’s life in a significant way. Test accuracy is of utmost importance in Q-interactive, and the interface must facilitate that. Failure to do so is not an option.

Learn more about Q-interactive at HelloQ.com.

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