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This is a two-part question. I'm a designer at a health tech company that helps post-op patients track their rehab progress, and we're currently redesigning the site's timeline, which displays the key events in the patient's rehab program. However, a lot of our users are older and less tech-savvy, so there's historically been a huge problem of them not being able to even discover the timeline (see screenshot: it's in the top right tab on the homepage). So first question: Is there a relatively unobtrusive way to make the Timeline tab more noticeable, or direct the user's attention to the Timeline content? Second, and perhaps a bigger question is: does the Timeline even make sense being there in terms of IA? Because while its important content that we want patients to see, it might not make sense on a thematic level to be tabbed next to "To-Do List" on the homepage. Would a card sort be an effective exercise to see how users categorize the timeline? Would really appreciate any feedback you might have, thank you!

Homepage screen

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    Is the user supposed to interact with the timeline or is it for information purposes only? If information in the timeline is related to accomplished steps, maybe a link next to the checked items in the to do list could invite users to access the timeline (ex: "Check all your progress") – celinelenoble Aug 13 '18 at 22:40
  • Thanks for writing, @Celine. We are experimenting with an interactive timeline, and while I really like your idea of providing links to the timeline in next to the checked items, it might be a little problematic in that it could potentially divert the user from clicking into those tasks (Daily Exercises, Pain Check-In, etc) and completing them - which is the main action we're trying to encourage. Whereas the actionable content on the Timeline, while important, isn't totally mandatory for the user because the same info is on the To-Do List. Thanks again, Celine, it helps to talk through it! – Conor Aug 14 '18 at 1:00
  • Can you post a picture of the timeline tab? What’s the reason you’re not listing timeline as an option on the left-hand navigation drawer? – Michael Hogan Oct 13 '18 at 17:12
  • Hey @MichaelHogan, thanks for the response, thats a good question. The company has been meaning to do some research into how users understand and categorize the site's information (through card sorting, etc), so people have been holding off on doing any substantial reshuffling of the content, but honestly your suggestion makes sense – Conor Oct 23 '18 at 13:27
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What I found often, is that most problems originate when people try to model physical reality of world around us with using slightly or even completely different model.

Every event happens on a timeline. So, let's see what we can do about your particular problem.

You have two set of events

  • Timeline Events (rehab events)
  • TODO items (more important?)

I would argue, that TODO are not just items, but events as well. Some of those you know when user have finished, so they have a date, and other are of unknown time, and are yet to happen.

So, here is is what I propose, given limited information that I have:

  • Use unified timeline
  • Clearly distinguish TODO events from other events on timeline
  • once event from TODO is checked, it integrates into timeline, again possibly with an edit function to restore it back to TODO if the accidental check happens

This way, you will represent information and events in their TRUE form. It's a SINGLE timeline.

It's a timeline of patients recovery events + some important TODO on the side, that once checked go into same timeline as well.

And when you show it like that (design might be challenging) it should be much easier for everyone.

Update:

Simplest 5min wireframe to illustrate general idea, not design. enter image description here

  • wow, thanks for the detailed response @kodisha. I think its a great idea to integrate the user's interactions with the TDL with the Timeline, and vice versa, making it a more consistent and whole experience. It also presents a good argument for keeping the Timeline where it is, tabbed next to the To-Do List. Still trying to think about how the Timeline tab more noticeable, but I'll keep at it. Thanks again! – Conor Aug 15 '18 at 14:48
  • @Conor I think kodisha's idea was that there is only one tab. Normally, that shows a combined time-line/to-do/done-list. However, it has some control (shown as a switch above) that effectively imposes a filter on this combined view so it shows only the "to-do-list" items (the "Show only done todo-list" might not be the correct text/example for you; "Show only "to-do" items" might be more applicable). – TripeHound Dec 13 '18 at 11:12
  • Ah, darn it, you are right @TripeHound, it was a typo. Thanks! – kodisha Dec 13 '18 at 12:15

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