Meet the Team: Jade Macfarlane, Senior UX Designer

Lucy Drennan

Social Media & Content Executive

March 16, 2022
8 min read

Meet Jade, a Senior User Experience designer at Phlo Connect. In this first instalment of our Meet the Team series, we speak to Jade who tells us about her background and current role, how Phlo Connect ensures we put the patient experience first, and why partnering with us transforms the patient journey.

Tell us a bit about your background and previous roles before joining Phlo

Before joining Phlo I was Lead UX Designer at a creative agency, where I worked for 7 years. My recent projects included creating a design system for a well-known global corporation while also evolving its corporate brand for digital and social media. Other favourite projects were product strategy and user research for a social enterprise eLearning platform, and UX design for one of the biggest vets in the UK as they started to expand into video vet services.

In the years before that, I was a multidisciplinary senior designer. My day-to-day was branding, editorial, campaign, packaging, and user interface design for everything from local start-ups to global corporations. I have also worked in art direction, film production and exhibition design. I think my generalist design experience and exposure to clients really helps me consider the impact my design can have through a wide scope of skills.

I still have a lot of love for the years I worked at a dog shop and training school. It taught me a lot about customer experience and relationship building. I experienced first-hand how internal systems that handle stock and customer data, can be cumbersome, unreliable and intimidating for some staff to learn. I often made it my mission to improve this even then.

My heart has always been in making things systematic, usable and delightful in any design I do, so specialising more into UX was a natural progression.

What attracted you to work for Phlo?

I’ve known about Phlo since 2017, so always kept an eye on how the company was growing.

Naturally, I did a lot of research before applying.  

Seeing their amazing Trustpilot reviews from genuine patients was a big factor! I saw that Phlo really was improving people’s lives. I read the responses and honest explanations to the few that had gone wrong. To me, this showed a company that cares deeply about providing the best service it can for patients — and that ‘good enough is not good enough.

I also watched some webinar recordings on Youtube by Nadeem and Adam. Hearing their passion speaking about their journey and mission as a start-up really resonated with me. I felt like Phlo aligned closely with my values as a person and a designer; being kind, genuine and always trying to improve things for other people.  

When interviewing I learned more about Phlo Connect, a first-of-its-kind digital pharmacy infrastructure that allows private healthcare providers to provide a 21st century pharmacy experience and reduce big operational inefficiencies. I love products that make people's working day easier and faster, so it was a natural fit.

All this proved to me that Phlo’s three pillars ‘Great Engineering, Great Design, Great Patient Care and Service’ was not just lip service. Since starting I can say that that's true — we’re a young company but we have no intention of compromising on these values.

Phlo is more than just medication delivery. It’s making healthcare more accessible and easier to manage, especially in these times when backlogs and inefficiencies can make the difference between life and death for patients.

What excites you about the future of the digital healthcare space?

I’m an optimistic person. I believe that the pressures and inequalities on our healthcare services exacerbated by the pandemic, are pushing our industry towards faster, smarter innovation with purpose. To generalise, the pandemic has also increased the digital literacy of a larger portion of our society.  

Much of the infrastructure of healthcare in the UK stills needs to catch up to this. When it does, this could be setting up a secure footing for the next big digital evolution in healthcare — which is likely to be Extended Reality.  

I’m excited about XR in healthcare being creative solutions to alleviating the pressure on healthcare. It brings a lot of new possibilities into play, particularly for diagnostic visualisation, treatment and mental health services. In a decades-time it may very much be a part of society!

What is the importance of user-centred design when providing a digital healthcare service?

It’s fundamental to the patient experience. Every decision we make has a positive or negative effect on a patient. Poor user experience and service design is a blocker to how easily and equally people access healthcare and mental health services.

As UX designers in the digital health space, we must always remember that patient care and staff experience are directly linked. When you think of users include clinicians, technical teams, pharmacists, and customer support operatives. How well our products succeed in making working days of these people easier to manage and more productive is key to their end-user experience — the patient experience.

Any product is only as good as it’s input. The more difficult or unfamiliar it is, the less chance it has of being widely adopted. Excellent product design is the difference between death by a thousand cuts or saving lives by a thousand moments saved.  

In our growing design team, we’re all passionate about accessibility and actively focusing on improvements we can make to our own experiences. We know that we have a responsibility, to make sure that our designs don’t have a detrimental impact how easily any patient uses Phlo.

What do you think are the main benefits of Phlo Connect for our healthcare partners?

Simply put, Phlo Connect is really the missing piece of the private healthcare to pharmacy journey. Using our API our healthcare partners can complete their own service offering to allow their patients to have their medication reliably delivered, with more convenience than ever.

Our products also save their workforce time. Anyone creating a prescription can digitally sign and send the prescription to our pharmacy in just a few clicks. All this is integrated into their own clinical system. There is no standardised method of creating a private prescription, like we have for our NHS electronic prescribing service. A lot of companies still use outdated processes like fax or emailing, then backing up by sending physical prescriptions in the post. We know this is a massive pain point for our private healthcare partners, and as a result their patients.  

Our Phlo Connect API and products are totally tailored to each partners individual needs. Some may only need our API and some may need a fuller infrastructure. Our own infrastructure takes the weight of pharmacy infrastructure off their shoulders, allowing them more time to focus on their own innovative products.

So far technical teams have fed back that it’s been super easy to integrate with us, which is great!

As a Senior UX designer, what does a typical week look like for you?

It’s very varied, which I enjoy.  

In the Phlo Connect product team, we’re working towards some pretty big goals this year. Day-to-day you’ll find me planning, researching, creating partner onboarding support and, of course, designing, testing and prototyping for our new features. Our team consists of a product manager and engineers. Lots of open communication is key! Everyone is really driven to grow Phlo Connect and just all-around good people.  

I love getting to know our healthcare partners. Each has unique business problems and end-user needs that we dig into. The same goes for gaining feedback from our pharmacy and patient care team. It’s all so interesting to me, plus the more we learn the better our solutions will be.  

Twice a week we bring all designers and UX researchers at Phlo together. We discuss inspiration, interesting UX articles, run design workshops and work on our design system together with our front-end developers. It’s a great way to start and end the week. Sharing work and giving each other feedback is daily. Our culture as a design team is awesome. No battling egos; just a group of eager designers working closely to be the best we can be.

Any advice for people looking to progress their career into UX design?

If you’re a designer looking to move into UX design (like I did) it can be overwhelming. However, don’t forget when it comes to space, layout, well-set typography, you’re already working to some UX principles without knowing it. Check out Gestalt principles, Laws of UX and readability as a start.  

If you’re coming out of design education or completely new to design, the prospect of your first UX role can be daunting. Use LinkedIn to your advantage, follow thought-leaders in UX design, follow companies you admire big or small. Reach out to other designers on LinkedIn or ADP List for career advice. Most people are happy to help if they have time.

Whatever your career stage, get exposure to users. It’s easier than ever to have people jump on a video call, so take advantage of that. Run user interviews, usability testing or prototype testing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a self-initiated or work project or even the exact user for a persona. Building user research facilitation skills and distilling your finding into actionable insights is crucial for any UX or Product designer.  

Also performing UX audits on websites or products that you use is great practice. Completely agree with Jordan’s advice on learning more on web development too.  

A few good resources:

  • ADP List free mentoring sessions  
  • NNGroup website and YouTube channel
  • Interaction Design Foundation website and courses
  • Career Foundry website and Youtube channel
  • AJ & Smart Youtube channel
  • UX Writing Hub and podcast
  • The design of everyday things book  
  • What is Wrong with UX podcast
  • Talks by UX Glasgow and Nomesa
  • Spotify's Design blog
  • Figma’s Schema conference 2021

Feel free to reach out a designer at Phlo for career advice — we’re a friendly bunch.

Jade and her husband on her wedding day in October 2021

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Making memories with my husband, family and friends is important to me. Whether it’s playing laser tag or a wee weekend away exploring Scotland, I like to keep busy and have fun trying new things. The last trip we did was a boat tour to Staffa island with two of our best friends and Cookie our dog-goddaughter. Fingal’s Cave is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Thoroughly recommend it (just make sure to wear a hat!).

I really love music. I normally have loads of gigs and nights out on the go. This year I’m going to four music festivals to make up for lost time since 2020 — let’s hope I can do it.

When I’m chilling at home I play a lot of games. Particularly the VR games Beat Saber and Population One, but The Witcher 3 always has a special place in my heart.

Jade exploring Staffa Island with friends

Interested in finding out more about Phlo Connect and how we can help? Get in touch with the team here.

Written by

Lucy Drennan

Social Media & Content Executive

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