A UX design project with Frontend and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The United Nations counts that over 1,000,000 Syrian refugees have sought asylum in Europe between April 2011 and July 2016. Only a fraction of these refugees fleeing their home actually make it to Europe. I was one of ten Masters students chosen to participate in a UX design bootcamp to design a 'Future Vision of Migrant Healthcare'.  


Our brief was to create healthcare solutions which would address the most common issues reported during this crisis by the migrants without the need of an attendant healthcare professional. It needed to circumvent problems of language and literacy level disparities as well as overcome issues of mobility.


One of my key contributions to this project is now being presented by the IOM to the World Health Organization(WHO). I proposed the idea of a cross platform standardisation of aid labeling on a global level to make it easier for the aid worker and refugee/migrant to understand by replacing the complex medical jargon.  



As a group we set about researching the literature IOM had supplied on the main problems facing the migrants as they travelled from their home countries. The following information and pain points were extracted:

 * Multiple languages

 * 30 day journeys on average

 * Very secretive about migration

 * Multiple landing sites

 * Muliple aid agencies

 * Very dangerous journey

 * Lots of people/children travel alone

 * High usage of smart phones

 * High use of social media groups and google maps to aid journeys




We had a video conference call with Dr Teresa Zakaria, Migration Health Emergency Operations Officer in which she discussed IOM’s needs and we identified some key factors within the scope of the project.


We also interviewed a migrant called Kamil from Iraq to further empathise with the end users and their journeys. 



In order to empathise with the migrants personas were created. Setting out their goals, frustrations and a brief bio on migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. We looked at their goals, frustrations and motivations for their journeys. 


Amira, (27) Doctor, Syria

Travel group: Travelling with her child

Destination: UK

Journey Route: Boat to Greece

Language: Arabic, English

Goals: to find a safe place to live with her son throughout the unrest in Syria. To keep her son safe; 'I will do anything to provide a safe and positive life for my son'. 


As a group we started to unpack all the data, journey mapping and whiteboarding to categorise and identify the key stakeholders and user needs. The following needs began to emerge:


 * Security

 * Nutrition

 * Health | Shelter

 * Information

Aid worker

 * Ease of managment

 * Dispensing

 * Migrant Safety



 * Organisation

 * Cost | Outcome

 * Product end of life

 * Distrubtion 

 * Waste

 * Tracking health issues


As it was a very large project with a lot of scope it was decided to break the project up into three teams. We worked in a very interconnected way, after each iteration we presented and gave feedback to each other.


* Product (physical health kit - we decided to design a health pack which included all of the medications the migrant would need)

* Visual (Information and packaging, a sticker and leaflet was required)

* Digital (application/website was created to aid the migrants on their journeys)

 I pitched the idea of a fourth team focusing on service design as I felt the project needed a holistic systems thinking view point also. I have highlighted the areas throughout the project below where I added input.  




I wanted to step away from the front line and to bring some focus onto the UX element of the project. As a business owner I understand importance of the logistics of supply chains, manufacture, sourcing and distribution. I am very much a systems thinker and applied this to the my approach in identifying and solving the pain points. 


Our team began by defining the problems faced by each of the stakeholders. Empathising with the migrants, IOM and the medical aid workers using journey maps, task and situation analysis. Our team then communicated our findings to the other teams to better inform their design solutions.




Early on in the project it became clear that one of the main obstacles to the migrants would be language, as there is over 10 different identified languages (plus many more from Afghanistan). I proposed a colour code and icon system which could be universally understood by the migrants, I sourced a graphic similar to my concept and communicated this to the graphics team who then applied this to the design.

The migrants and aid workers could then easily identify the specific medications by colour and icon. The graphics team also included a numbering system which on reflection I feel is flawed as the migrant would simply think that there is 5 tablets in the pack rather than understanding that it refers to a numbering system, It has slight user friction.


Through journey mapping I identified a need for a labelling system which would be easily identified by migrants and aid workers. It had became apparent that the migrants meet many different aid organisations through their journeys.


PACKAGING - I felt a better solution could be found in the sourcing of generic medical packaging and began to work on an idea for a cross platform labelling system. Looking at the sourcing of generic blank medical packaging and applying our own labelling system. This cuts out the medical jargon which is confusing to users not in the medical profession.

DISTRIBUTION - It felt that a better solution for distribution and refilling needed to be created. I proposed the idea of a generic health pack which can be handed out at landing point and a refill station at the camps and along the migrant routes, using an easy to use storage trunk.



One main problem which kept arising was the tracking of the migrants in order to give them their medical test results. Because they stay on average 3 days in camps it was proving difficult to communicate results and administer necessary treatments, this needed to be addressed at the next point of contact.


I proposed a bar code system on the pack which could be scanned at the next point, notifying the aid worker that there was results to be communicated to the migrant. The treatment and help could then be dispensed, in this way the migrant was not being tracked or numbered. As the pack could be tracked it meant medical issues and diseases could be tracked, which would aid in disease control for IOM.


The barcode system was re-iterated to a medical band, which could be colour coded, tamper proof and scannable thus giving the migrant the medical assistance they needed in their journey. This would also aid IOMs tracking of migrant numbers to preempt distribution and also disease control. 



The project won the Grand Prize Award at the UX Awards in Palo Alto, and was Public Choice Award winner at Interaction 17 in New York.

Please visit the site below and watch the video on the project: 




The digital team mocked up wireframes and iterated design solutions stemming from the research. Accessing healthcare is difficult for displaced people, yet many health professionals worldwide are eager to help. Frontend created 'Remote Doc' which encompasses a triage nurse live chat which can be escalated to a video call with a remote doctor.


These chats can be with specialist medics in the patient’s own language, and can incorporate file sharing. Patients can authenticate these remote health care professionals to access, and add to, their cloud based Emergency Medical Records. 

A labelling systemisation has also been incorporated whereby the health professional can communicate the dosage and instructions in the migrants own language. 




As displaced patients engage with different aid agencies and healthcare systems they have virtually no continuous record of their care. Also, many migrants are unwilling to take vital tests due to pressures to keep moving. Frontend created an app using concepts generated by the app team in the bootcamp.


A cloud based system which migrants could access through their phones was the best solution. An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that was lightweight enough for them, and aid workers, to manage.

Test results often take a number of days to be returned, by allowing aid workers to input results onto this system, migrants can get access to results after they move on from the camp. To facilitate face-to-face encounters the EMR Lite system can be translated at a touch of a button, meaning health data and test results can be input in any language and translated to any other.