UX Australia 2010

Defining the recipient journey: The role of software to support hearing restoration at Cochlear

Shane Morris, Toby Cumming, Jane Cockburn

As a provider of hearing solutions to profoundly deaf people for almost 30 years, Cochlear is renowned worldwide as a technical innovator and as a great Australian success story.

Recently, Cochlear has set itself the goal of delivering hearing to significantly more profoundly deaf children and adults around the world. In order to do this Cochlear is developing a range of new products, including implant programming software, that can be used by more stakeholders in the recipient’s hearing ‘journey’. To do this a significant focus is being placed on realigning the wide variety of software products and services that support that journey.

This increased focus on the overall recipient experience represents a new focus for a traditionally engineering-focused company like Cochlear. In this presentation we will report on Cochlear’s progress in redefining the recipient experience through the software products and services that support its hearing solutions: from marketing through to clinical care and daily operation. We will discuss progress thus far, what has worked well, what has not, and the plan moving forward. A number of issues arise that will be familiar to organisations focused on service delivery through digital products. We will address:

  • Challenges introducing user-centred design techniques in an organisation built on engineering excellence
  • Cochlear’s journey to adopt Agile software development principles and how user experience design has been integrated within that
  • Use of prototyping not just as a specification tool, but also as a stakeholder and project communication tool
  • Some interesting observations about conducting usability testing in an organisation with a strong research culture
  • The unique challenges of designing software which is considered to be a ‘medical device’ by government regulators around the world, and
  • How Cochlear is aligning the range of software platforms it supports, from in-processor user interfaces to web-based services, traditional software applications for clinic and home use to purpose-built handheld devices


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Defining the recipient journey: The role of software to support hearing restoration at Cochlear

Sketchnoting at UX Australia: Shane Morris, Toby Cumming & Jane Cockburn