Health Design App
To create an optimized digital system for patients with Chronic Conditions to learn more about their condition, view and complete daily exercise, track their progress and share this information with their Healthcare provider.
This project is a collaboration between myself, my colleague Bob Werner, the Emily Carr Health Design Lab, UBC and Grand Research.
IMAGE 01: Designs of the original PDF released by UBC, next to our final app design
In the summer of 2013, we were approached to work on a project with the Health Design Lab. It was an intensive full-time project that we worked on initially for two months. We focused mainly on rapid prototyping and creating many iterations of the work to present bi-weekly to our collaborators. By the end of the two months we had the beginning of a much bigger product. We were asked to continue the project during the following year as Research Assistants.
Currently, information regarding the details of a patient's Chronic Condition, along with recommendations for daily exercise are given out on paper. Because people are not reading these pages, they are not completing their exercises. We wanted to create a solution that would not only be easier to use, but might actually encourage the user to improve their health.
Throughout our first few months of the project, we went through several iterations and completed first and secondary research into the technology we might use, the best ways to present information regarding personal health, and how we might want to target our user group (Men and Women age 40+).
Although we originally banked on using smartphones for their built-in sensor and location technology, upon deep research of our target audience, we decided that tablets were the clear choice for both ease of use, and preferred device.
Having daily goals and notifications is crucial to keep our audience motivated and on-track. It is important to keep positive and focus on encouragement.
We needed to create something that was easy to navigate, and would help the user out if they got lost. We kept our app shallow, with only five navigation tabs.
IMAGE 02: Mapping the user flow for the patient-side app
Although having a paper option is important for those who do not have a personal device, giving out sheets of paper is not only bad for the environment, but not effective as they are easily lost or thrown out.
Our target audience tends to get discouraged by busy and complicated UI. We wanted to keep it very simple and welcoming to use.
By switching to tablets, we lost our internal sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, etc). Our solution was allowing the app to hook in with the API from external sensors such as Tractivity, Nike Fuelband or Fitbit products.
We created nearly 10 different prototypes in variety of formats and fidelities to test our ideas and bring them to live. Paper prototyping, rapid prototyping, and high-fidelity prototyping for our final product all took place over the course of the year.
Protosketch is a handy smartphone app which allows you to take pictures of hand-drawn wireframes, and turn them into clickable mock-ups. This was key in our initial mapping of the app, and brought attention to problem areas.
For our first complete prototype, we quickly made a jQuery mobile prototype. This was used for proof of concept and was presented to our collaborators and faculty. However, we found the jQuery mobile code too limiting, and decided to go for more complex code.
We decided to take the ambitious route, and planned to learn Objective-C to create our final working prototype. Over the last 3 months of the project, we worked in X-Code to develop an App that could be given to our collaborators and have all the functionality we wanted.
IMAGE 03: Initial Wireframes for our Paper Prototype