Meet the team - Hannah Cairns

Cristian Halati

From creatives to engineers to pharmacists, the Phlo Digital Pharmacy team consists of incredibly dedicated and ambitious members, driven by a common vision to disrupt the pharmacy sector and shape its future. This week we meet Hannah May Cairns, UI UX Designer at Phlo Digital Pharmacy. Hannah talks about her role, the creative process, how she approaches building an intuitive digital experience, and shares her thoughts on the importance of Phlo in current times.

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

My background has been very much creative. I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and a Masters degree with distinction in International Fashion Marketing. In between, I have been freelancing doing primarily branding projects. This is my first full-time creative role since graduating in 2018 so it’s been pretty amazing landing up in a start-up as special as this!

What attracted you to work for Phlo, and what does your role entail?  

As part of one of my projects at Uni, I designed an app to allow users to learn and connect with a ‘misunderstood community’ of my choice. This got me to research the realm of User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) design and discovered how to wireframe screens and map out product architectures. Since I specialised in designing for print, this was a new area of design I had not yet explored and I’m glad I did. From that point on, I became very analytical of the apps I used and started paying attention to the intricacies of mobile and web app development.

My current role is quite multi-faceted. I design the look and feel of both the Phlo app for our patients as well as our internal pharmacy system, allowing me to dive between two different user personas—which always keeps it interesting. I map out user journeys, create website and mobile wireframes, and design with a development team containing healthcare design strategists, product owners and software developers.

What’s your creative process and do you have any core values you stick to?

For me, the easiest way to design is by breaking the project down into bitesize chunks and treating it like a problem-solving exercise. When designing digital user journeys, it’s quite easy to get lost and overwhelmed by a plethora of user journeys and product interactions. However, if you create a simple flowchart map of what you want the user to experience, you can always build up from there.  

When designing a digital experience, you should start by gaining empathy for the user and building an understanding for their needs, alongside using your own common sense! My primary core value is to stay curious by learning something new every day, whether that be within your field or surrounding fields. The end goal is to grow into a well-read and well-rounded designer, and always keep improving.  

What do you enjoy most about your job and what’s the most challenging aspect of it?  

I really like the team-working aspect of my role, as my team are in constant communication with one another, and all have the same passion to create a great product! Aside from that, I enjoy the experimental phase of designing and having that freedom to continuously edit and improve our product features.  

Something I find the most challenging is to work using the ‘agile’ methodology as all my other previous design projects have used a ‘waterfall’ methodology. The main difference is that a ‘waterfall’ method allows you to research, design and test within a set timeframe, whereas ‘agile’ means the project is continuous and you have to achieve these stages in a shorter timeframe… in our team’s case every 2 weeks!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Being in lockdown has encouraged me to take up more hobbies. Right now, I love experimenting with creative makeup and trying out different beauty products. I’ve become quite a movie buff since I got my Cineworld Unlimited card, so I love keeping up to date with the latest films. I’ve also recently been doing some home baking and going out cycling when the weather is good in ‘sunny’ Scotland!

Examples of Hannah's makeup work.

Why do you think Phlo is important?

As I am writing this in June 2020, our business has currently been life-changing for patients who are reluctant or can’t make it out to the pharmacy due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. We live in a world where convenience is highly rated since we are all busier than ever.  

Phlo provides people with the power to track exactly where their medication is, from when it is dispensed, to when the driver is pulling up outside your door, which is something other pharmacies are not doing at the moment.  

Right now, we are essentially saving lives by delivering medication to those who need it and protecting them from the virus from contact free delivery, and that is an incredible thing to be a part of!

Any resources that you personally find particularly inspiring or useful?

Skillshare and YouTube are excellent resources if you are looking for a design tutorial or to learn a new skill. I use sites like Medium and UX Planet to research UX articles, and also use UI Movement, Dribbble and Pinterest to collect UI design inspiration.

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