My dad has been suffering from diabetes for 20 years. In these 20 years, he’s developed a variety of complications. This is due to his inconsistent sugar level management. All family members are worried about him, but we know it’s not always his fault. There are a lot of reasons that can cause higher blood glucose, for example, if he doesn’t inject insulin on time, pays less attention to the intake of carbohydrate, less exercise, etc. As a patient, he can’t manage every health indicator all the time. This is especially true when controlling his diet.
There are many apps on the market that help manage diabetes, but most of them just provide platforms for patients to manually record each of the indicators. They not only make user’s operations tedious, but also complicates daily calculations. In most cases, users have no idea what they actually eat and how many carbs are contained within a meal.
How might we design a tool that could be integrated into patient’s lives to help them manage and stabilize diabetes and avoid preventable complications? How to provide users with a delightful health self-test experience? How to build confidence in their healthy lifestyle?
I redesigned the homepage that allows users to easily check and input their data. I added new features: Food AI API and indicators that cross-analyze insight, statistics and general trends. — This allows users to see how other indicators such as medications, food, working out, or drinking affect users blood sugar level.
Glucose buddy is a logbook app that focuses on letting people keep close track of important statistics, which include tracking blood sugar, insulin, medication, food, etc. It also provides summaries of each indicator as long-term trends for users. However, these summaries are isolated. It can not help users to systematically understand their health status, which may be hard to help users keep blood sugar in average values.
In addition, the unclear color system makes users spend more time to find their past record.
Disadvantages of existing systems/products:
- Inconsistent color system
- Inconsistent text (Size;positioning;color;fonts)
- There is no usable dashboard: Users cannot have an overall understanding of their condition at the home page. They can’t see if his blood sugar is in the normal level immediately.
- Counterintuitive: There is no connection between each indicator, the user sees his blood sugar rise, but he does not know the cause.
- Inconvenient record process: Forces user to input data on multiple, difficult to navigate, screens. System summarizes but offers no analytics.
- Unclear timeline: The size of the dots on the top of the home page is an unclear indicator, as they may mislead the user due to design flaws. Sizing is relative to the individual marker, but not comparable across the board.
Step one： Improve the existing UI/UX problems.
Step two：Add features that I think can improve the value of the product with powerful analytics to increase user efficiency.
Step three：Empower users to build strong self-management habits, thus increasing overall health, and capture rate for long time users
Step one: Improve the existing UI/UX problems.
The button in the lower right corner of the homepage allows users to input information for glucose, eating, physical activity, etc. However, the homepage does not obviously display the various indicators which are required by the users. At the same time, it is not possible to tell users if they achieve their goals.
Therefore, in order to allow users to operate and obtain their information intuitively, I upgrade the homepage. It was basically divided into two parts: the timeline and dashboard. Users can organize their health information according to priority. They can also easily read their current health trend at- a- glance.
“Interface is a bit crowded and confusing. The app had many features but it can be difficult to navigate between them. ”
“It gave no instructions on how to accomplish tasks that no longer work the way I did previously.”
“If I want to log a tangerine, why is the fruit itself several pages after foods made with tangerines, or tangerine flavor?
- Add more details in food log
According to my research, Glucose Buddy only provides the ability to record carbohydrates and not other nutritional variables such as fats, salts and fiber. Therefore, I added more details to help users determine food data.
- Redesign the color system
Glucose Buddy uses the different colors to represent indicators, but the color scheme is not consistent throughout the application. For example in the “Insight” page, the color of the icons do not coincide with the dashboard “insight”.
Step two: Add features that I think can improve the overall efficiency of this product.
New Features I added:
Nowadays, the technology of analyzing nutrients through photos of food is no longer just an imagination. It is fully mature and can be used in all types of sports and nutrition analysis applications. It can be also used to help people with diabetes to manage their diet properly. This feature helps users to add food information in a short period of time, and can measure the sugar content of the food before users eat. It effectively avoids the user unknowingly consuming too much sugar.
- Indicators that cross-analyze relative data, insight, statistics and general trends.
Unlike previous applications which only feature lists of data, this upgrade will cross-analyze relative factors in order to inform users of trends and real-time effects of their daily actions. For example: by cross-referencing water intake with blood sugar level, a user might realize that drinking more water could be helpful in adjusting their blood sugar level.
Things I learned:
Systemic thinking helps for a better product
I remember the first time I discussed diabetes with my father, I always focused on asking specific issues, such as whether he needs insulin on time, or whether he needs to get a small amount of sugar. Later, I realized that chronic diseases are caused by very complex factors. Merely considering any one item will not solve the whole problem. The more we understand systemic behavior, the more we can anticipate that behavior and work with systems to shape the quality of our users’ lives.
Designers need to exercise real empathy for users, and consider issues from their perspective.
Everyone in my family knows my father’s diseases, but only my mom supervises his health status and helps him manage his diet. I did not intensely understand why diabetes is so difficult to maintain until I started working on this project. It’s my belief that empathy for the user will inform product design on a superior level.