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I'm working on a healthcare data flow tool where the workflows sometimes require the user to leave the current system and proceed with their task in a fully separate 3rd party system. I'm trying to figure out best practices or find examples of this done well.

Technical Flow

  • Authenticated users in the primary system proceed X steps until we determine they can't continue in our system.
  • We know what system the user needs to be sent to
  • We pass authentication tokens to the new system so logins are transparent
  • We pass as much existing workflow data to the new system as possible
  • Sometimes the user returns to the primary system to finish the task (we don't know when this will be required)
  • Usually the workflow is completed in the other system

Questions?

  • We launch a new window/tab containing the target system, should we?
  • What do we tell the user before they leave?
  • Do we call "our" workflow complete?
  • Do we save the partly completed workflow as a draft?
  • Are there examples of this done WELL?
  • Examples of this done poorly?

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So there is a transition between two different environments that people are going to notice. You should always let users have control over when and how this transition will happen.

You already allow users to return from the 3rd party app (App B) back to App A. That's a good thing. Read about User Control and Freedom (Usability Heuristic #3). From that source:

Summary: Users often make mistakes or change their minds. Allow them to exit a flow or undo their last action and go back to the system’s previous state.

Another good practice is to give user all information they need. Read Visibility of System Status (Usability Heuristic #1). From that source:

Summary: Communicating the current state allows users to feel in control of the system, take appropriate actions to reach their goal, and ultimately trust the brand.

An example text how to get users prepared for the transition:

You are now ready to continue in "App B".

In App B you can ... and ... . Some information can be shared with App B so you don't have to fill it in manually. This information consists of ..., ... and ... .

() Yes, share my data with App B
() No, don't share my data with App B

It is possible to return here if you want to change something. What do you want to do?

[Open App B here] or [Open App B in a new tab]

(Where () are radio buttons and [] are links or buttons.)

To answer your questions:

  • We launch a new window/tab containing the target system, should we?
    Let users choose

  • What do we tell the user before they leave?
    What they can expect and what data is being shared, see my example

  • Do we call "our" workflow complete?
    No, let users know they are welcome to come back when they need to make changes

  • Do we save the partly completed workflow as a draft?
    That would indeed help users that come back to make changes

  • Are there examples of this done WELL? / Examples of this done poorly?
    I don't have examples at hand but following UX principles and doing (user) tests will get you far

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  • Thanks you're confirming much of our internal findings. Unfortunately, I can't give options like "share data" since what we pass along is typically required for routing in "System B". But that transparency is a good point and its likely worth telling the user that. Feb 8 at 15:46

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