8th Light GeneDx Featured Medium

Designing with Empathy, Transforming Digital Experiences


Helping parents and caregivers navigate one of life’s most challenging scenarios.

For parents dealing with the gut wrenching prospect of a potential genetic disorder diagnosis in their soon-to-be-born or newborn child, the emotional toll is only exacerbated by the agonizing wait for often confusing or inconclusive test results. The information deficit they face when it comes to understanding possible outcomes and paths forward, and the sense of isolation they can feel makes for an incredibly stressful, lonely, and terrifying experience.

Sitting at the intersection of diagnostics and data science, GeneDx is a world-wide leader on delivering personalized, actionable insights that improve health outcomes. By pairing decades of genomic expertise with an unmatched ability to interpret clinical data, GeneDx has powered health insights through genomics for more than 20 years. Seeking to expand their digital service offerings, they engaged 8th Light to further explore personalized experiences that create a sense of direct connection and community for caregivers and their families, streamlining and improving the flow of timely and meaningful information.

8th Light GeneDx Lifestyle

Rooted in research. Driven by design.

Our 8th Light team conducted more than three months of research with caregivers — parents of children with rare disorders — that helped guide the iterative software design and development prototyping process. We explored and tested a variety of different experiences along the caregiver journey, intentionally designing moments to guide and support them, whether that be delivering information that might answer their questions or simply indicating the current status of their pending test results and helping them anticipate what comes next.

8th Light GeneDx Components

We explored a variety of content types, information flows, and behaviors — building upon our learning from caregivers during each of our design and prototyping iterations.

Gaining actionable insights.

The caregiver journey is emotionally and logistically fluid — fraught with anxiety and continually seeking informational and social resources in search of answers. Therefore, it is crucial to create experiences that are flexible and can adapt to their needs, while also providing much needed structure and stability. We developed numerous design insights from our research to inspire and guide our solutions for the critical steps along the journey. Each insight attempts to convey a tension the caregiver is having to manage and serves as inspiration for opportunities for design. For example:

Waiting For Results
When anxiously awaiting genetic test results, caregivers are already overwhelmed before the inevitable influx of information. Caregivers want to be able to focus on actions to care for their child that are within their control.

Receiving Results
Caregivers clearly want to see results right away that best prepare themselves to help their child as quickly as possible, but even if they receive those results quickly, the results may not ease their anxiety.

Collecting & Sharing
Caregivers want to track and maintain their information in one place, but the variety of formats, lack of understanding when certain docs are required, and skepticism to share information within digital solutions can be overwhelming and obscure the benefits of doing so.

Care resources

Digital transformation for the human journey.

Beyond the knowledge that our efforts might help people better understand and navigate one of the most difficult journeys anyone can face, we’re honored to have helped GeneDX evolve the way it thinks about and creates software, while enabling its transformation from a pure diagnostics laboratory into a compassionate and trusted direct-contact genomic information resource. We did this by:

  • Demonstrating the benefits of empowering designers and developers with autonomy. By having a shared understanding of caregiver needs and aligned objectives, we were able to drive product development using intuition of the entire team.

  • Through careful consideration and organization of essential design components, we managed to separate out our library to enable code to be leveraged across other GeneDx products, saving months of work for those development teams.

  • Our cross-functional integrated team including GeneDx technology team members and genetic counselors across national and international time zones ensured our solutions fit within strict design and performance criteria, and be fully owned and maintained by their teams.

By integrating design and Agile practices, we demonstrated the power of rapid iteration and nimble directional change — the kind of responsiveness to continuous learning that puts better products in people’s hands.

I really enjoyed working with the entire 8th Light team. I have learned so much and organizationally we're in a much better place than when we started. Thank you for your partnership.

Joan Mikardos
Business Lead, Pediatrics / NICU/Rare



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