Many clinical trials that are held at the University of Michigan are not completed due to lack of participation.

As a large research institution, UM would benefit from greater trial participation especially from students.

View prezi on problem focus


We aim to increase clinical trial awareness and participation at the University of Michigan by

  • Connecting with students at U-M.
  • Engaging them in health research.
  • Increasing their trust in research.
  • Designing a simple and convinient system that fits within their daily lives.


This project was performed in partnership with a group of students from the School of Information at the University of Michigan as part of their 'Interface and Interaction Design' class.

I was their liason and client contact from MICHR's end.

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Some people are not quite sure what clinical trials are. Others are familiar with them but have never participated. Still more people may be interested in clinical research but never have heard about MICHR’s website, But most people in the University community encounter advertisement for so many different organizations and events on a daily basis that they may not take notice of any of it. How can we promote the interface that we will create for them?


As with anything that requires volunteers, motivation is a big issue for this project. Although many studies offer incentives, not all of them do, and not everyone can be motivated by cash, gift cards, or free teeth cleanings. What can the application do to motivate users to actually participate?

Loss of interest

Similarly, how can we keep people engaged? We have found a lot of people register as volunteers on and then completely forget about it or never follow through with a study.


Ease of use

After going through the registration process on and browsing some studies, we wonder how the system could be adapted to a mobile application. How can we streamline and simplify what the website offers, while also incorporating something new that keeps users interested.


Find or browse available studies

The mobile app. will make it easier for students to browse available studies or find studies based on their preferenes.

Find Studies Find Studies
Studies I am eligible for Study description

Studies you are eligible for

The app. also gives easy access to studies that it thinks you would be eligible for.

It also keeps a track of the studies that you have already contacted and the studies that you already participated in.

The study descriptions themselves are optimized for the mobile experience. They are structured in a way that affords better scanability and readability on a smaller screen.


Rewards system

Because the main purpose of the mobile application is to motivate students to participate in clinical trials, we focused our prototype around a rewards system.

The basic premise is that volunteers earn points for attending trials, referring friends to the application, and sharing information about trials through social networking or email. These points can be accumulated and redeemed for rewards.

Rewards system
Rewards system

Tie up with local businesses

The rewards will be provided by local businesses and various University of Michigan groups, primarily consisting of food and entertainment freebies and discounts. For instance, rewards within the lowest level of redeemable points might be any free drink from Espresso Royale, or a buy one get one free coupon for Zingerman’s bakery, while a somewhat more expensive reward might be two tickets to a concert at Hill Auditorium.

We would like to offer prizes from locally owned and operated businesses rather than chains so that MICHR can develop its relationship with the Ann Arbor community. Ideally the reward system can be configured in a way that benefits both MICHR and the local businesses involved so that the system can become self-sufficient, thus able to function no matter how large the user base grows or whether or not MICHR is able to provide funds.


Work Performed


Quantitative user research

  • Student numbers and demographics at University of Michigan
  • demographics and usage analysis
  • Website Analytics to determine usage patterns and behaviours
  • Marketing analytics for ad-campaigns
  • Qualitative user research

  • Individual User Interviews
  • Group User Interviews
  • Expert Interviews
  • Literature Review on “Motivations to Volunteer”
  • Analysis and evaluations

  • Competitive Analysis of various recruitment websites
  • Evaluation of various university iPhone Apps

    Persona and scenario creation

  • Student personas
  • Small business owner personas
  • Design

  • Sketches
  • Wireframes
  • Mockups
  • Prototypes

    Evolution of the mobile app.










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