Next Gen Diabetes App Design
When type 1 diabetic patients transition from peadiatric to adult care in the NHS, many do not effectively manage their condition. This greatly increases the chances of complications developing later in life.
We worked closely with young type 1 diabetics, using our expertise in human centred user experience design to develop an app platform that makes full use of gamification and micro interactions to increase adherance.
A connected, gamified digital app platform that makes full use of animations and micro-interactions to increase adherance to prescribed interventions.
As usual, we began by looking at the big picture. By fully understanding the context, we’re able to think critically about our proposed solutions and ensure there aren’t any unintended consequences of our decisions.
Understanding the underlying reasons why so few people adhere to their prescribed regimes was key, and often went deeper than the obvious. By spending time with our participants, learning about their routines and having honest discussions about their wider thoughts and concerns, we uncovered multiple areas for innovation that had been overlooked by existing products.
What We Found
Type 1 diabetics, especially those who are younger and transitioning into adult care, put a high value on independence. They want to prove themselves in the world, and against their peers. Furthermore, they are tech savvy and unafraid to allow technology into their lives if it provides a perceived benefit. They expect a certain level of consumer choice, and design plays a key part in their decision process.
Many of our participants said the reason they didn’t check their glucose or inject often wasn’t the pain or discomfort – it was that they just wanted to believe they were like everyone else, and the process only reminded them of their disease.
As multi-disciplinary studio, our ideas to help solve the problem spanned physical and digital. We spent many hours in creative workshops throwing around concepts, iterating and refining them. For this project it was also essential to bring in the end user and key stakeholders early, so they reviewed our early thinking.
Following this, it was a case of building out the user experience through wireframes, prototypes, app design and targeted user flows – all focused around the key needs identified in early research.
It became obvious that it was critically important to streamline the data logging process from start to finish. By reducing the number of ‘touchpoints’, we also reduce the perceived barriers to good management.
This was achieved through a one way data link from glucometer and insulin pen to the smartphone, creating a connected ‘ecosystem’ that automatically updated and completely removed the need to manually log information.
This was paired with a thoroughly designed user experience and user interface, that makes careful use of gamification. By doing this we redefine the emotional connection between patient and intervention to one of progress, instead of pain.
All of this thinking was encapsulated in a prototype app, that was tested and evaluated by patients, healthcare professionals, industry experts and members of the public. The feedback was extraordinary, with overwhelmingly positive comments from all key stakeholders.