COVR was a great learning experience for me. I was the first and only designer when I arrived at this small startup, and being a young designer, I sure did make my fair share of mistakes! To me, COVR is a story of failure, growth and learning the hard way. COVR is a small startup that helps hospitals schedule employees. Hospitals always have employees on-call for unexpected spikes in patients. COVR helps hospitals define the perfect schedule needed for any given day and helps them communicate with employees so they can pick up new shifts as they become available. Watch the video below to find out more about my design process or scroll down for a short summary of the video.


The following is a short summary of the video above. For the complete story, please watch the video.

3 things I like about this app and 1 mistake:

COVR is a scheduling app for hospitals. The employee app allows nurses and other employees to schedule shifts, pick up shifts, and trade shifts. I will quickly go over 3 things I like about this app and 1 mistake along with things I learned along the way.

Things I Like about this app:

1.     Up first is the home screen of the COVR app. We designed the home screen around three large buttons, which is a different approach. At first I was nervous about this approach, but we did some research and about 90 percent of our users only used 3 features of the app (Viewing upcoming shifts, Picking up new shifts, and trading shifts with other employees). We also noticed Users spend about 3-5 minutes, 2-3 times a week on our app. We wanted the app itself and the navigation therein to be very simple and as uncomplicated as possible. So we took the research and we let it directly influence the design. We made these 3 huge buttons right in the center of the screen almost like elevator button. We took it to users and it proved to be very successful. Feedback was positive so we built this into the app.

2.     The “Pick A New Shift” button shows open shifts posted by the hospital that are available to employees.  The majority of our employee users are millennials. We did some research and discovered these users view their lives with a “weekly” mindset, usually based on a three-week period. We adopted this mentality within the design and functionality of our app. Rather than a traditional calendar, we designed a “week to week” view and navigation on the bottom of the screen. This has been well-received by users.

3.     One initial problem with the app is that we couldn’t get employees to pick up unwanted/undesirable shifts. Think about trying to get your co-workers to come in on a Saturday night at 11pm. To solve this problem we added gamification to incentivize employees to pick up these less desirable shifts. There are stars and badges you can collect depending on which shift you pick up. Hospitals have implemented this system to reward employees—so many stars a month, gets a prize. This design has increased usefulness and value to hospitals.


What I Wish I Would Have Done Differently:

Currently on the app a user can take one of his/her shifts and put it "up for trade". This puts my shift out there in a marketplace where all coworkers can make an offer to request a trade. The issue is that the majority of these shifts are not being picked up by other employees. Why not? So I went out and talked to some nurses myself and my research has shown us that trading shifts is more conversational. I noticed that other hospitals that do not have our system do this organically with group text messages or offline where you tend to see more bartering between each other. You will hear things like "Take my shift on Sunday and I will watch your kids for you next week" or "It's my sons birthday that day, take my shift and I will take your graveyard shift for you". What I noticed is that trading of shifts is very conversational between the "buyer and seller". Our model doesn’t match that natural way of shift trading. I wish we would have done more of a chat client— where you could chat with someone, pitch the idea, offered incentives, and made the trade that way. I believe this would have allowed for more shifts to be picked up. What I learned here is that I should have went and more thoroughly observed my users long before designing.