Exposure testing made easy.

QEESI Online Questionnaire

The Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) is an online questionnaire for documenting chemical intolerance and symptoms. People use it for self-assessment and clinical evaluation. It used to be paper-based and it has an online version as well. Check out the current version of QEESI.




UI/UX Design, User Research,

Visual Design

UT Health Science Center

at San Antonio

8 weeks



While the QEESI is scientifically proven, the current design of QEESI is out-of-date. Thus, the client is looking for a redesign to increase the ease of use of QESSI and improve the efficiency of the process.

My team and I (3 people) spend 8 weeks researching, ideating and designing a new version of QEESI that is easier and faster to be completed and understood.


System Usability Score increases by 106.5%

Success Rate increases by 150%

Completion Time decreases by 31%

We made exposure testing easier and faster

Initial Key Questions

Before meeting with stakeholders, we prepared several questions to ask ourselves and stakeholders that helped us to understand QEESI.

- Why does QEESI need to be redesigned?

- Who are our users?

- Why is QEESI important?

- What problems are we trying to solve?

- How might this redesign benefit users?

- What challenges do we face moving forward?

Stakeholder Meeting Takeaways

The QEESI Team is looking for a redesign to improve the current version of QEESI that assist potential patients in the discovery, tracking, and treatment of chemical intolerances. The redesign goals are:

1. Increase ease of use

2. Improve efficiency of the process

Meanwhile, we also got our key questions to be answered, but there are new questions that we need to find the answers.

Why does QEESI need to be redesigned?

The current design of qeesi is out-of-dated. It still has features that we copied from the paper-based format and it needs a redesign for better serving users.

What are the gaps between user and the design of QEESI?

What’s user’s expectation for an online questionnaire?

Who are our users?

People who want to document symptoms and intolerances for assessment and evaluation and usually they don't have too much knowledge and background in medical and chemical fields.

Why is QEESI important?

QEESI helps people to get healthier by evaluating their exposure and symptom.

What problems are we trying to solve?

Bridge the gaps between current QEESI design and users’ expectation.

How might this redesign benefit users?

Identify their chemical exposures and symptoms more easily and efficiently

What challenges do we face moving forward?

Identify gaps, get users involved, justify design decisions, validate solutions, measure outcomes, etc

can be answered by heuristic

evaluation and user testing

can be answered

by competitive analysis

User Research

In order to answer the questions, we decided to conduct a heuristic evaluation, user testing and competitive analysis to find out the gaps on QEESI and users’ expectations for online questionnaires.

- Heuristic Evaluation

Goal: Define potential gaps and usability issues

How: We followed Jakob Nielsen's 10 general principles to perform the evaluation individually and prioritize the findings as a team

- Competitive Analysis

Goal: Understand user's expectations and audit other solutions

How: We analyzed 6 different online questionnaires to deeply understand their goals and how do they help users to achieve their goals. 3 of them were medical/healthcare-related, the other 3 were general-purpose.

- User Testing

Goal: Validate the potential gaps, usability issues and user's expectations

How: We performed 5 user tests with the participants who don’t have professional backgrounds and experiences in the medical field. We asked them to go through 3 tasks: complete Qeesi, interpret results and complete system usability survey.

Research Insights

1. Lack of visibility creates uncertainty

No visibility offered to the users while they are completing the QEESI.

“I feel this questionnaire is endless and I want to quit right now” - participant 3

2. Location of instructions requires extra efforts

Instructions are always located at the top of pages and users are not able to read them when scrolling to the lower part of pages.

“It’s annoying that I have to scroll back and forth to read the instruction on the top.” - participant 1

3. Excessive and noninclusive answers cause confusion

0 to 10 rating scale is too much and it doesn’t cover every situation that users have.

“I don't know what's the difference between 6 and 7.” - participant 2

“What do I put if I don’t have this exposure?” -  participant 1

4. Insufficient error recovery frustrates users

Error message only shows above first unanswered question.

“It feels bad when I been asked to do the same thing over and over.” - participant 5

5. Out-of-dated report makes user overwhelmed

Radar chart and multiple tables are unintuitive for users to interpret results.

“This spider chart is pretty confusing.” - participant 3

*only 2 out of 5 test user were able to tell their final score correctly

Design and Iterations

- Wireframes & Validations

Based on our research insights, we started to explore potential designs that would solve the problems. We created lo-fi wireframes to visualize ideas and mid-fi wireframes to prioritize the selected ideas with stakeholders. 

- Prototype & Testing

Next, we built prototype based on validated wireframes and did quick tests with the 5 same participants from our previous user testings.

can’t accurately tell current progress

user can't see the option immediately bc of left to right reading habits

unclear for navigating through questions or sections

Final Designs

Concise landing page with essential information only and a salient "Take the QEESI" button

A  progress bar and highlighted one question at one time with not available option, reduced rating scale and auto-advance

Clear error message with markups in scroll bar for multiple unanswered questions

Easily understandable bar chart, calculated scores and actions can be taken 






Visual and Branding

Landing Page

Questionnaire Page

Error Recovery

Result Report


After finishing the final design, we did a new round of user testing to evaluate our design outcome. We recruited another 5 participants and asked them to perform the identical tasks as previous user testing, complete QEESI, interpret result and complete the SUS survey. Here's the performance data from our new design:

System Usability Score

Avg. Completion Time


Success Rate












*of result interpretation

*of a section

Future features

Although this project ended when we handoff the design to the QEESI team, here are features can be added to make QEESI a better product. 

- User Profile: Allow users to create a profile for accessing their past results with analysis

- Responsive Design: Ensure users can access QEESI from every kind of device

Thank you for reading!



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