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Biomedical image collaboration

This project involved designing a better way for biomedical educators and learners to annotate digital slides together.

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  • User Research
  • UX Design
  • Interface Design
The Slice web application showing a selected user annotation.

Bringing it together

Teachers needed a better way to create collaborative group activities by annotating slides on Slice. Before starting this project, a layer could only be annotated by a single user, making it difficult for learners to work together.

Our solution was to allow users to be invited to a layer, where they can see others’ annotations and make their own.

The layers sidebar design, now with user profiles.
Multiple user annotations on a shared layer.

Improving the experience

A problem we heard about often form users was that it was difficult to find images they had previously seen or worked on. To solve this we added a new tab that lists all previously annotated slides. In addition, we added the ability to favorite slides, so if users find an interesting slide they want to annotate later, they can easily save it to their account.

The new My Slides tab in slice, showing annotated and favorited slides.
An annotation preview popover with statistics for shape perimeter and area.

Meaningful details

Marking and annotating areas on high resolution biomedical images is the core experience of the app, and it was easy to get lost or lose sense of scale when zooming in on details. Adding measurements for the perimeter and area of an annotation both helped to communicate the overall scale of the image and how large the annotated feature is in comparison.

Project outcomes

Real-time collaborative annotation facilitated better collaboration between learners, and was much easier to run group exercises with the new shared layers feature. Learners gave feedback that is was enjoyable to work together and see what others were doing, and liked how interactive and easy to use the application was.

Students at the University of New South Wales using the new collaborative annotation features