Case Studies

How ZOOM+Care Designs Better User Experiences with VR/AR in The Wild

Learn how ZoomCare uses VR/AR in The Wild to rapidly prototype, distill data, reduce risk and make more confident decisions through dynamic, immersive experiences. 
Austin Baker
April 7, 2021

Daryl Freier, Director of User Experience at ZoomCare, uses VR/AR in The Wild to rapidly prototype, distill data, reduce risk and make more confident decisions through dynamic immersive experiences. 

ZOOM+Care is an on-demand urgent care, primary, and specialty care clinic chain in Pacific Northwest that is focused on reinventing healthcare for a modern world.

A New Possible for a New World

Designing new experiences for people, I have a heart for innovation and for new things that haven't yet been discovered or implemented. I'm always trying to look at the problems that people face and solve them in a way that’s meeting a need and also surprising—to help people feel like the thing they got was something they didn't even know they could have. Ironically, that's the same experience I have with The Wild. It starts to open up and broaden that perspective on what's possible. There's a blooming of sorts of that creativity, you start to imagine a lot more things that are possible in that space. And I think that's one thing I've loved about working with The Wild and about having it as a tool. I look forward to being in that space because I know when I'm in that space, I'm at my creatively richest moment. And that I think is probably more valuable than any idea of a new technology. It's really more how am I changing as a person as opposed to how the world is changing around me.

An Experience That Can Only Be Experienced

So much design happens in our heads that we don't fully understand what an experience might be until we can place ourselves in it and understand it from multiple perspectives. The Wild is really useful for transitioning between those perspectives. It's amazing how the human brain begins to shift into believing you're standing right next to someone when you're not, and you come out of there and realize, “Oh, I'm not actually in a room with this person talking about these physical things.” It’s really something that has to be experienced to fully understand.

Better Options, Smaller Risk

One of the values to using prototyping tools—and I would consider The Wild to be a prototyping tool—is that in any instance, you want to get as quickly as possible to a hard number, that in terms of performance or in terms of responsiveness, you can then take to your senior leadership, to your C-suite team. They respond well to data. Data is not always easy to come by because oftentimes, you have to be so far along where you can actually get real data. One of the nice things about The Wild is that something can be made and put in front of someone so quickly, as to narrow down your options to then be moving to the next step, the next level of prototype that you might be able to share with others. The Wild is not a tool that we're going to be able to distribute to 50 people, or to 100 people to get quantitative data on an experience. But it's going to allow us to narrow down to the two or three things out of the 10 things that we had, so we can get those two or three things out to those 50 or 100 people. And I think in that sense, while The Wild gets us closer to that data faster and in a more risk averse way.

One Space, Unlimited Perspectives

When you have diverse experiences and you have multiple users at one time, it's very useful to be in an environment you can manipulate. And that's where The Wild is so valuable. You can craft the spaces the way you need. And one of the really nice features is the back-end code and web-based interactions so I can go into a physical space and I can interact with digital experiences. You can understand a provider being in a physical clinic interacting with a digital product while sitting with a patient who is also in that same physical space, interacting with their own digital perspective.

A Small Cost for a Massive Benefit

I love this product, sometimes to the point of being a little bit of a fanboy. It solves so many problems for me and our organization. The challenge with recommending it to people, which I do on a regular basis, is that it's got so much potential, so much opportunity. It is very easy for me to recommend a starter package of five users in a couple of headsets you're sharing across your organization—it's not that great of an expenditure. And what you're going to be able to do with very little learning and very little effort is going to be a simple case to make to your finance people or senior leadership. It’s gotten a lot easier for me to say you should get this and spend a little time in there and you'll understand that it's absolutely worth it.

Truly Accessible Tech

Working with The Wild has been valuable because they’ve been around to create a much more diverse technology environment. I can still use my original Vive Pro setup, it still works great. Or I can also navigate without any headset at all, within the physical space of just looking at it on my computer monitor. And with the advent of all-in-one VR headsets, like the Quest, it's very valuable. We are able to have dedicated systems for people within our organization, but that kit is easily packaged up and sent somewhere at a low cost and fairly low technological barrier. We are better able to do research because you can immerse someone in an experience and be able to ask them questions about the space they're walking through and the interaction they're having within that space. We can take that to our CTO and our CFO, and we can show them what's happening. They can understand how that's reducing the amount of risk associated with the design decisions we're making. And anytime we can reduce that risk, we're better spending their money, we're more efficiently and effectively seeking solutions. So I would say that, with The Wild, they've done a really good job of striking that balance of powerful but predictable.

Bringing You Closer to Actual Reality

The tools we used prior to using The Wild required a lot of creativity and time spent imagining something that wasn't physically in front of you. So we would create these static experiences and then talk about how someone would use it, as opposed to being able to create scenarios where those very subtle things can be exposed when you're standing there with another person. They're putting themselves in one user's frame of mind while you're in another user's frame of mind, which starts to expose these behavioral and more sophisticated experiences that bounce off of each other. The Wild brings you closer to those actual realities. And then you can start to pull others in. And with The Wild, once you put that headset on, they're in. If you can spend more than 10 minutes in there, they suddenly get it and they're starting to do things on their own.

More than a Product—a Partnership

One of the nice things about working with The Wild is that they're very reachable. If I have a question about the design or the roadmap of the product, I know I can reach out to their customer representatives. And if that person can't give me an answer, they're usually pretty quick getting me to the person that can. They'll send an email telling you they’re about to release a feature and ask if you want to check it out first, which I think is a nice relationship to have with an organization. Helpful, but not so demanding. It's important to feel integrated into their process and have their process integrated into ours.

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