Designing a Neuroscience Data-sharing Platform

Designing a Neuroscience Data-sharing Platform

Client

Blackfynn, a neurology software startup

Problem

Every day, millions of data points are collected on patients with neurological disease, brain trauma, epilepsy, and more. Yet, this data isn’t connected in meaningful ways for patient outcomes. Treatments aren’t effectively shared, data isn’t mined across populations to make rapid advancements; notifications of seizures come too late, labs across the world are working remotely on similar datasets without building on each other's work. 

 Diverse datasets contribute to the landscape of neurological research

Diverse datasets contribute to the landscape of neurological research

Founded by a neurologist, neuroscientist, and data scientist from Penn, Blackfynn is a cloud based neurology product to revolutionize the way scientists share and collaborate on data. With early venture capital investments, a key question was: How do we create the best user-centered platform that leverages the best of collaborative design with modern machine learning?

My Role

Director of UX Design:

  • User research 
  • Ideation of Solutions
  • Prototyping
  • Visual Design
  • Stakeholder Collaboration
  • User testing

PROCESS

I was the 4th hire of the startup, and thus got to help sculpt the user-driven functional requirements of the platform, as well as visual design.

First, I spent time with our co-founders, learning about machine learning, data sets, training data, and other engineering capabilities the platform could leverage. Then I spent time with the neurologist and neuroscientist, learning more about the problem space, and the naming and use of data into imaging, unit data, or time series data — like MRI brain-scans as images, versus seizure time-series data from EEG's.

 Prototyping visual ways that users could search their data

Prototyping visual ways that users could search their data

Then I spent time with users—clinicians and scientists­—to understand their needs, pain points, and goals. What was their work flow on a daily basis? They were shipping hard drives, losing time, unable to read data behind other published studies. What data did they need to keep private, and why? Where did personal research overlap with past research? I further met with leadership of CHOP and DARPA with my team, to understand their institutional needs.

 Datat by teammates could be paired with data by type

Datat by teammates could be paired with data by type

With a clearer picture of the user and their labs in mind, I then I lead the specifications and design of the new user interface. I iterated on prototypes with the engineering team and our clients; getting feedback from visual prototypes before building complicated interactions.

 Creating visuals of possible team member cards—users wanted to know more about the other users who had access to their data across the platform

Creating visuals of possible team member cards—users wanted to know more about the other users who had access to their data across the platform

 Teams were color-coded so a user could quickly scan by organization

Teams were color-coded so a user could quickly scan by organization

 Activity timelines were important both for daily users and lab leadership; updates were also sent to users that subscribed to them

Activity timelines were important both for daily users and lab leadership; updates were also sent to users that subscribed to them

In addition to the functional side of the platform, I also created the marketing website for new users, as we launched at a major neuroscience conference. 

 Showing data outside of the lab

Showing data outside of the lab

OUTCOME

Blackfynn has since received partnership investments from DARPA and CHOP, and is building out a robust team of engineers in Philadelphia.

compiling data

 

Additional Links

See my Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium Project at Blackfynn

Website for Blackfynn.com

Designing Pathology Sharing for the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium

Designing Pathology Sharing for the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium

Designing for Scale on IMPaCT, a Community Health Worker Program

Designing for Scale on IMPaCT, a Community Health Worker Program