I'm designing an app for a doctor with a list and detail view of blood tests. What's important is to see if the test has a negative (you don't have the disease) or positive (you have the disease). I was wondering if anyone has a good idea for the visual design because it feels strange to use red/green or a checkmark/cross or something similar.
Using color or icons to reinforce your message here would likely be the wrong direction to go. Color in interfaces have evolved to take on a pretty standard set of definitions:
What you're displaying to your patients isn't always an issue of pass/fail. A lot of blood tests don't even test for things with a true/false outcome. Some measure a particular level (like cholesterol or CD4 count). When taking a blood test, red, to me, would best be used if there was a problem with the test and I need to retake it. Green would simply mean the test was successfully executed. I wouldn't consider it being indicative of the particular result.
A color that can help is blue, which indicates that this-thingy-right-here is important information that pertains to you. I would say list the results of each test in blue, and then provide a description in plain english to the patient as to what that means. Don't focus on if the result is good or bad, as you won't always know that anyway (for example: your Lymphocyte count is under 200 ppm... yay?) and it is the doctor's job to explain that to the patient. Not the lab technician.
Since results of such tests could be critical and affect the person adversely, don't rely solely upon terms like 'positive' or 'negative'.
Have a CONCLUSION section that clearly and textually states the conclusion(s) of the test.
For example -
Have all the test results and conclusions shown under a different sections like:
TEST CONCLUSIONS (FOR PATIENT)
- You're fine! Just ... keep away from alcohol, will ya?
- Also, you'd need to spend your next month's salary but that's ok
- Found a couple pennies. Good thing 'cause you'd probably need 'em anyway
TEST RESULTS (FOR DOCTOR/DOCTOR'S COPY/FOR REFERENCE)
blah blah blah ... medical terms ... weird numbers and words confusing language ... high anxiety terms ... some more blahs ...
This would definitely avoid confusion.
This is an interesting UI/UX problem. If I was tasked with such a design, my first instinct would be to reference existing test result forms and use them as a design guide.
If your primary user (of the interface, not the subject of the test result) is a medical professional, I would not be concerned with conveying the information as "good" or "bad". Instead, focus on conveying the result of the test. A medical professional should be adept at parsing test result information and conveying the conclusion to a patient.
If you absolutely must emphasize the result, the only information the design should convey is whether or not the disease was present.
Disease Test Results