Designing immersive experiences for the healthcare industry

Case study: CAE Healthcare

CAE Healthcare delivers specialized educational tools that help healthcare professionals provide safe, high quality patient care. CAE’s end-to-end spectrum of simulation-based solutions includes patient, surgical and ultrasound simulators with virtual and augmented reality, centre management systems and turn-key solutions.

About ShapesXR

ShapesXR is a 3D creation and prototyping tool for remote teams. Designers, creatives, project managers, leaders, and clients can co-create and communicate in real-time within a virtual environment without a complicated setup, expensive hardware, or years of 3Dexperience (e.g. Blender, Solidworks, Unity etc.). ShapesXR is the perfect tool for the early stage of the design process where alignment and communication is key and where making the right decisions is more critical than ever. Keeping the visuals at low-fidelity allows the project team to focus on the functions and experience before the look and feel is finalized. This also leaves more room and flexibility for iterations to evaluate different solutions and ideas in a safe, affordable, and low risk environment.

About CAE Healthcare

CAE Healthcare delivers educational tools that help healthcare professionals provide safe, high quality patient care. Our end-to-end spectrum of simulation solutions includes patient, interventional and imaging simulation, audiovisual solutions and learning applications.

With a broad array of products, we are able to offer targeted training to hospitals, medical schools, emergency response teams, military branches and nursing, respiratory and allied health programs. Each CAE Healthcare product is developed in collaboration with clinicians and clinical educators whose aim is to ensure physiological accuracy and educational relevance.

CAE Healthcare is one of the three core businesses of CAE (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE), a global leader in the delivery of training for the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare markets.

The challenge

Mixed reality. Simulated equipment. Gaming. This is where healthcare education is going, and CAE is helping pioneer the way. We are harnessing the power of state-of-the-art technologies to create sophisticated learning tools that offer an immersive and interactive glimpse into the innermost workings of the human body, in turn accelerating retention and learning. This is the future of healthcare education. ShapesXR has drastically changed the way we design for these new technologies by allowing us to move away from designing in 2D applications and design in a spatial environment.

Being able to collaborate in real-time within a VR environment using ShapesXR helps us to iterate and share ideas faster than ever. Prototyping user flows and storyboarding using our own assets in a VR/AR environment significantly improves the accuracy and vision of what we ultimately want to achieve before laying down a single line of code. The ability to bring ShapesXR Spaces directly into Unity as a starting point saves us a lot of time by removing any guess work when it comes to size, distance, and comfort level of our designs.

“Designing for spatial environments has always been a headache – but now with ShapesXR a lot of the pain points and guess-work have been removed, giving XR designers the freedom to focus more on what makes a good user experience and less on how that experience translates from a 2D idea to a 3D idea. The feeling I got when I first discovered ShapesXR was the feeling I got when I first discovered Sketch for Mac: pure joy. Finally, the right tool for the job. I cannot wait to see where ShapesXR goes from here.” – Dan Maitland senior UI/UX designer, CAE Healthcare

The process

Our AR/VR design team would use ShapesXR in the very early stages along with user-flows and information architecture and various other documentation to flush out as much of the experience as possible to weed out any obvious issue that could arise. Once this is done we would jump into a space with the developers, PO, PM and any other stakeholders to walk through the experience we are designing to get as much feedback as possible. We would then continue to iterate the experience until we are confident that what we are designing makes sense.

The next step would be to do a bit of simple user testing in ShapesXR for interactions or flows that we feel could pose issues for our users. Once we have iterated a bit more we would then give the ok to our developers to either view the flow in ShapesXR or bring the Space into unity where they can start flushing out the experience.

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Value provided by ShapesXR

The ability to design directly in the technology that we are developing for is a total game changer for us. No more 2D guess work or countless back and forth with developers for things like scale, distance, field of view etc. Being able to collaborate in a Space with a PM, PO, developer in real-time is brilliant in so many ways. Developers being able to grab assets right from Unity via the ShapesXR unity plug-in is an incredible advantage. The end results of our solutions will now align much more with what our design team envisions, making for a far more immersive and consistent user experience with less time spent on pixel pushing and more time spent on creating the best user experience possible.

Faster iteration

The ability to collaborate in real-time within a ShapesXR space reduces any unnecessary back and forth by at least 50%.

Prototype before coding

Working out small issues by visualizing 1:1 prototype before laying a single line of code is a huge time saver.

Controlled presentation mode

Keeping stakeholders’ attention on what matters can be an issue with the presentation mode and view-points, but in ShapesXR we have more control over what the user is viewing and the ability to keep their attention on what matters.