Case Study

Fora (Ally Assist)

Improving the onboarding and ongoing support of allied health assistants


This project was run in conjunction with the Academy Xi UX/UI Design Transform course in a 3 week sprint.

As one of the nine UX/UI designers in the team, I contributed, collaborated and put in my share of the workload to ensure that we were able to find and deliver a solution to any problems we discover. I took part in all phases of the double diamond process from initial briefing, discover/define/develop/deliver phases, all the way to the final presentation.


Fora (previously known as Ally Assist) is an online marketplace that allows people living with a disability to find and work with Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) as well as Allied Health Professionals (AHPs such as Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists). Their mission is to create a higher standard of disability care in Australia and beyond by making it simple (and human) to find and manage the best therapy assistants. Fora employs approximately 200 certified and active AHAs.

Recent feedback suggested that there was a lot for AHAs to learn in terms of Fora's processes and clinical procedures. There was also a trend where 50% of the matches (between a new client and an AHA) were failing after less than a month. The hypothesis is that their onboarding was not thorough enough and they engaged us to look into whether a more thorough onboarding would reduce the failing matches.


Management may have thought onboarding was the issue, but as it turned out, the insights discovered from our research gave us several problem areas that were relevant to an AHA after onboarding had taken place. Yes, onboarding needed some streamlining, but ongoing support and development was the missing element.

In the short time that we had, we delivered the findings and a high-fidelity prototype of their platform to solve those issues – we introduced a buddy system, a learning platform, a community support program, as well as updates to their client profiles to improve the client matching problem.

This case study outlines the steps we took using the double diamond process.


Initial Problem Statement

After scoping the project with the stakeholders, where they said:

  • There is A LOT to learn so onboarding should be fun and digestible.
  • Design a solution to increase AHA confidence post onboarding
  • Key elements of Fora are being missed or forgotten such as min 6 month
  • Around 50% of matches fail before the 1 month mark

We hypothesised the following problem statement:

AHAs who are new to Fora, feel nervous and are lacking confidence around their new role due to an overwhelming level of critical information. They need an engaging, supportive and easily digestible onboarding experience but face a solo process with hours of reading material.


  1. Desktop Research
  2. Online Surveys (13 AHAs responded)
  3. Interviews (15 interviewees – including 9 AHAs, 2 external AHAs, 2 AHPs and 2 Fora staff)

After reviewing the brief and notes from our meeting with the stakeholders, we immediately jumped into desktop research to learn more about the industry and how our main users, the Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) fits into the scheme of things.

MY TAKE: As someone who hasn't worked in the health industry, I focused on understanding Allied Health in general, the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and how the AHAs and Fora's marketplace model fit into it. I also took interest in how AHAs needed to be developed in a traditional setting of a clinic – something that I felt was missing from this community-based, in-home setting that Fora is running.

We looked into similar platforms like 'Hireup', 'Mable' and other competitors (direct or indirect).

We were also given access to:

  • A staging site of Fora's platform to understand what and how AHAs use it
  • Research data from previous studies by Fora and AXi students

As the desktop research continued, we began formulating the survey and interview questions so that we could deep-dive into to better understanding of the AHAs.


As research came in, these were pulled into a collaborative affinity map to allow us to discuss and find themes and clusters.

Quantitative and qualitative data gave good feedback for onboarding, but there were several major pain points in other areas:

  • Meet & Greet (where AHAs meet with their client families for the first time)
  • Professional Development
  • Community Support
  • Client Matching
  • Understanding Scope of Role

New Problem Statement:

Allied Health Assistants new to Fora feel anxious about working with clients and require more ongoing support and education but experience feelings of nerves around initial meeting the client, inadequate client matching, clients misunderstanding AHA roles & feeling of isolation due to a lack of community.

To tackle these new problems, we developed two artefacts – a Persona and Customer Journey Map – to give us direction as we move forward into solution mode. With a large team (and working with users during the workshop), we needed to ensure that everyone was on the same page in understanding Asha's situation and feelings. The customer journey map also serves to give us clarity to when and how the pain points occur.

We also came up with a couple of How Might We statements to frame the problem:

  • How might we better prepare Asha for client relationships so she feels confident?
  • How Might Fora help Asha feel like a valued, supported & committed member of the team?

Ideation and Direction

Together with several Allied Health Assistants, we came up with lots of ideas during an ideation workshop, which we took to Fora and mapped onto an MVP to decide the solution direction.

The areas of focus for our solutions were prioritised on these ideas:

  • Online training and professional development
  • More detailed client profiles for better matches
  • Having a supervisor to give me an idea of how I'm doing
  • An online handbook
  • Being able to speak to other AHA's Feeling safe for Meet and Greet
  • A sense of belonging

From here, the team collaborated on an IA and user flows to extend Fora's platform. With limited time, but a large team, we put our efforts into developing a high-level prototype of the ideas to demonstrate how it worked.

We started to sketch out some ideas on paper or in lo-fidelity wireframes.

Various sketches and lo-fi wireframes from the group


Wireframing / Prototyping

From there we moved into sketching, then low-mid-high fidelity designs with user testing at each stage.

The 'Our Community' section's progression from lo-fi to hi-fi

Testing involved getting the users to:

  • Complete 6 tasks
  • Answer questions about usability and aesthetics
  • Complete a survey (System Usability Scale)

Some of the issues brought up in testing included:

  • Consistency of navigation between the onboarding portal and the standard dashboard
  • Distinguishing between the onboarding portal and standard dashboard
  • Priority of navigation buttons
  • Location of certain sections

Aggregate of SUS survey scores for each stage of prototyping

New Colour Palette

During mid-fi testing, we received feedback describing the existing Fora colours as being "monochromatic" and "more stressful to look at". With Fora's permission, our visual designer explored an expanded set of colours which brought in a sense of calm and warmth – which received good feedback from tests.

Final Recommendation

The final iteration of our solution covered 5 pain points for Asha. This is how we addressed them:

  1. Meet & Greet – a new 'Buddy System' where you get the support of another AHA or AHP to accompany or advise you; a focus on a virtual-first session (video call) before meeting in real life;
  2. Professional Development – a learning platform that includes all the resources an AHA needs; Seminars, webinars and workshops for continuous development;
  3. Community Support – a place to find and meet peers; a discussion forum to discuss all things allied health;
  4. Client Matching – a new and detailed client profile space to share must-know information;
  5. Understanding of role – simpler and cleaner onboarding steps; and the new Learning Platform

Link to Prototype


The findings, insights and ideas we recommended to Fora were all taken onboard favourably. There is a lot there to digest, and even before our project wrapped up, they had told us that based on our mid-project update, they had implemented some changes to their client-matching system by "modifying the process by which clients are suggested to AHAs, to ensure more personalisation and relevance in matching".

MY TAKE: Fora's model for an online Allied Health Assistant marketplace is very innovative, even a game-changer, but this project has demonstrated that there is room for improvement – especially in the area of continuous support and development of their AHAs, but also in being actively 'present' in the shift (from a tradititionally offline/clinic setting) to a fully online environment. Breaking that digital barrier between real people (their AHAs and clients) will be their key to success.

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©2022 Lawrence Raphael Fung