Manage your Diabetes today!
Dr. Marissa Burgermaster from the Dell Medical School was looking to create a product that would help achieve their overall goal of helping patients from underrepresented communities develop healthy habits to manage a lifelong disease such as diabetes.
Dell Medical School
Individual Project Advisor
why it matters?
adults in the US
-Globally 415 Million -
were living with diabetes in 2019
have Type 2 diabetes
How to manage diabetes
Work with a
There were three parts to the research:
Dell Medical School provided us with the results of their research and gave us access to screenshots of their previous application.
I conducted a competitive analysis of similar diabetes applications and other different kinds of self management and tracking apps.
I continued to explore the field of diabetes management through secondary research.
How Might We...
get patients to collect data, educate themselves, and finally put it into action?
Based on the research, I decided to incorporate the following features in the Minimal Viable Product (MVP).
Tracking and Reminders
Meals, Goals and Mood Tracking
Connecting with experts and fellow diabetics
Based on dietary restrictions and culturally relevant recipes
Wireframes and Research Insights
Below is a compilation of the high level insights from the research that lead to the design of these particular features.
“Figuring out the carbs... Somebody told me how to do with the 15–and it was like, no way. Don’t even tell me, because it’s so complicated. I’m not going to do it.”– Research Participant
Insight: Research participants felt that routine self-monitoring of diet was overwhelming due to the need to identify and capture nutrition in complex meals.
Solution: Quick and automated logging of meals via barcodes found on food packaging, items on restaurant menus and image analysis will help patients keep a track of their nutritional intake without having to input complex nutritional values.
Insight: Setting goals is an important step in assisting patients to manage their illness and achieve outcomes that are important to them.
Solution: Users are able to set personalized goals and visualize their progress, while the app helps keep them on track with daily goals and reminders.
Insight: Patient's experience mood swings when their glucose levels are wither too high or low.
Insight: Stress, depression and anxiety can also crop up with patients since diabetics are at risk of developing mental health conditions.
Insight: High cost of testing strips are a barrier for most patients to monitor their blood glucose everyday.
Solution: By tracking the patient's mood, the application could suggest to users when they require testing their blood sugar thereby reducing daily monitoring. This feature also helps users understand and monitor their moods and identify whether they need to seek help.
Insight: Research participants expressed a need for receiving motivational and emotional support from peers.
Insight: Numerous researchers have found that patients with diabetes who had peer support and those that engaged in providing ongoing peer support to other patients with diabetes improved their self-care while effectively managing and reducing risks associated with their disease.
Insight: Research indicates that diabetes educators are integral in providing individualized education and promoting behavior change.
Solution: A chat feature that allows users to seek support from diabetes educators or other fellow diabetics on the app. They are able to quickly share their data with others and receive feedback and suggestions to help maintain their health. It also works as a social connect tool to discuss all things diabetes.
Personalized Recipe Book
Insight: Participants are in need of accessing culturally tailored meals that also fit into their health-related constraints.
Solution: A personalized recipe book that is tailored based on user's different dietary requirements, culturally relevant meals. Recipes will have all the information regarding nutritional value including metrics specific to diabetes. Recipes can also be shared and saved among Glucose Buddies.
" Everyone has their own kitchen... For example Mexicans have their typical food that they eat. We Dominicans do as well."-Research Participant
The wireframes were used to get initial reactions from both diabetics and older non-diabetic people. This was conducted over Zoom. The insights from the user testing was incorporated into the final designs.
I hope to do more rigorous user testing on the prototype soon to gain more valuable insights and feedback.
Users appreciated the ease of tracking their meals.
Privacy and Security
Users showed hesitation with sharing data with Glucose Buddies. They wanted more control about who and what they were sharing.
Users seemed to have some confusion with the way the tracking UI element was designed.
Finalizing the Solution
The project began in February, 2020 and essentially the Covid-19 pandemic hit right when the project was taking off. This roadblock limited the amount of user research and testing.
Looking back I realize that some of the key takeaways from the project are
Kickoff Meeting: Asking the right set of questions to your client and stakeholders is very important. It will help shape the way you scope your project.
Scoping the Project: Initially I struggled to incorporate several features and solve multiple problems. I learnt to scope the project and prioritize based on must haves in order to ensure that the MVP would be designed in time.
Early Feedback: Getting feedback on your designs early and iterating on them will make you design better and faster.