Why you need to know your users in order to motivate them

Altrix is one of our success stories: a disruptive approach to easing nursing shortages, saving the NHS millions, and giving agency nurses a better deal. In this article, we explain how we took a fresh look at the Altrix Customer Experience via a small UX audit, which gave us great insights into how to improve user flows by examining behaviour within the app.

Altrix and Despark team at our Sofia officeAbove: the Altrix and Despark teams at our Sofia office

You can read the original case study here. In short, Altrix is a nursing agency app which deals with compliance right from the start, giving registered nurses the ability to book shifts from the Altrix app, without waiting for confirmation or approval.

Late last year, Altrix launched their loyalty programme called Altrix+. Let’s go behind the scenes to think about which challenges they faced in order to build consistency and increase their loyal user base.

What was the starting point?

Altrix has proven their MVP and we’ve been working with them to continually add more features, including aligning the web app and mobile app experience for users. With thousands of registered users across the UK’s health commissioning areas and over 350 hospitals on the books, nurses were already taking the mental leap to using Altrix instead of the traditional agencies they were used to.

Screen from Altrix app - booking shifts

Now, Altrix  wanted to start increasing the number of bookings on the platform. For instance  by targeting a range of nurses including those who use  Altrix to ‘top up’ shifts, or those who only book sporadically. It was also important to keep nurses who were using Altrix as their main platform engaged. 

How did we start thinking about who was using Altrix?

We looked at some basic behaviours to characterise the steps taken when a nurse books a shift. 

To up the shift booking, here’s what Altrix wanted to happen:

  • Each time a nurse goes to book a shift, they choose Altrix as their first platform to search and book

  • For those already using Altrix as their first choice, nurses increase the amount of shifts they are booking

Flow chart of decision making for Altrix nurseNow, it’s clear that there are some cognitive barriers to this happening. Those are in red in the chart above. First, a nurse needs to remember to book shifts at all and then to use Altrix as their first choice. So the app needed to be at hand and easy to access, plus the nurse needed to remember the benefits of booking with Altrix. 

Apart from receiving more per shift than they’d get from a traditional agency and having a convenient way to book shifts instantly, there are other perks that would form the basis of the loyalty programme that we went on to bake into the logic of the app. Thus, if the outcome of the task was to improve consistency of booking, the loyalty programme would be the mechanism to help deliver this.

What are some other barriers to action for the nurses?

Looking at the flow chart above, you can see where there could be an ‘intention-action’ gap—nurses who have signed up to Altrix with the intention of booking shifts on the app, but haven’t actually used it or haven’t used it as often as they wanted. We’d need to look at which factors were preventing nurses from doing this. Some possible candidates are:

  • Too busy with other duties (e.g. family, caring, other jobs).

  • The app has not yet become the default or salient option .

  • There are other competitors which suit the nurse better (e.g. prefers traditional agency).

  • The nurse found Altrix too difficult to use or gave up before they got compliant status.

  • Too many shifts to search through

Let’s look at how we could circumvent these:

We workshopped a number of suggestions, some of which are on the roadmap for 2022. These include:

  • Implementing a ‘set reminder’ notification for when nurses are likely to book shifts. E.g. in their settings they can ask to be reminded every Friday at 9am, and the app would ship with a default reminder loaded. This would help bridge the intention-action gap.

  • Adding in a notification to nudge people to book if they haven’t got any shifts currently booked in or if they haven’t booked in a certain amount of time: e.g. no bookings this month.

  • Saving nurses time by setting default filters for the range of shift times, durations or hospitals they usually select, so nurses don’t spend a long time scrolling through unnecessary choices. We’ve already improved filters to show hospitals grouped by region and town.

  • Recommending shifts based on a nurse’s common booking behaviours

Shift booking flow chart for Altrix

To reduce time spent in the loop above, where users are browsing and booking shifts, it makes sense for the app to suggest other similar shifts in order to reduce searching and decision making by the nurse. 

We can also include in-app messaging to reward users for booking several shifts, reinforcing the behaviour, or inform users that a new hospital is available for booking. 

All this helps reduce friction in the platform and gives the users a smoother and more rewarding journey.

What about rewards for improving booking consistency? 

We spent some time thinking about what would motivate Altrix users, and to do that Altrix had to look at what a typical user needed to do to become and remain registered at their grade. For instance, nurses have to pay professional registration fees and undertake continuous professional development via training courses in order to meet revalidation requirements.  


Altrix decided to incorporate these into a loyalty program called Altrix+, with benefits right from a nurse completing registration, becoming compliant and working one shift. In this way, newer users are not alienated, and at the same time, further reward levels give even more benefits to users who have hit 40 shifts within 12 months. For example, any nurse who has successfully completed 1 shift gets a referral fee for recommending the platform to a friend, plus access to compulsory online training. At a higher level, nurses get an increased referral fee plus extra online courses and cash towards their NMC registration fee. 

Next steps

The Altrix+ programme is still being rolled out, and is unique in its field. No doubt, new bonuses and rewards will be introduced as the programme continues to be tested on live users and their feedback received and taken into account.

Look out for further success as Altrix goes from strength to strength in 2022 with the help of a dedicated team at Despark. 

We’re known for our dedication to creating fantastic user experiences, with clients like Altrix trusting Despark to provide Discovery, design, development, testing and ongoing support from minimum viable product through to mature platform and beyond. If you want to shake  up the health industry, get in touch today.

Written by

Despark Team

Hive mind at Despark

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