A digital platform empowering people with diabetes to exercise with confidence
In spring 2018, I served as a student design lead for Disrupt Diabetes, a 10-week-long, patient-led, multi-stakeholder design challenge focused on developing solutions for people with diabetes.
Our team comprised five members: a professional designer, a physician, a medical student, a patient volunteer with diabetes, and myself. I spent the first three weeks of the challenge leading in-depth user research to understand this particular patient’s needs. After nearly 15 hours of exhaustive interviews, our team converged on six primary categories of need: provider relationship, exercise, food, grocery, support / resources, and healthcare system / insurance.
After additional user research and a literature review, our team decided exercise was the most pressing need area ripe for innovation. We decided to frame our design challenge around the following question:
How might we empower people with diabetes (PWD) through education and community to exercise sustainably?
We then conducted interviews with diabetes patients and gym managers. I also led the effort to distribute a survey about exercise needs to national diabetes forums, collecting over 50 responses. All our research ultimately led us to two general learnings about the considerations PWD face when contemplating their exercise routines:
Our research also led us to settle on a set of core values we knew we wanted our prototype to exemplify:
Rewards / Fulfillment
Respect / Stigma reduction
While prototyping, we found that all our ideas generally fell somewhere on two parallel spectra:
From low-tech to high-tech
Intended for someone just getting started with exercise to the highly-activated PWD with an existing fitness routine
It was important that we designed a solution that would be useful to any user falling anywhere on both of those two continua.
With these accessibility and inclusion concerns in mind, our team developed the design for Attain In-Range, a platform that empowers people with diabetes to exercise with confidence.
Attain In-Range is a digital and web application allowing users to track the effect different forms of exercise have on blood glucose levels. The app features a diverse range of pre-loaded fitness routines (both video and audio, of assorted lengths and intensity levels), along with the option to manually log exercise done on one's own. Users log their pre- and post- blood glucose data: either manually or by syncing with an existing continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
The platform tracks average blood glucose pre- and post- workout for both the individual and aggregate community so users just getting started with the app can get a general sense of the effect a workout might have on their glucose levels (before they've collected any personal data). Data can be shared with friends, clinicians, and fitness trainers.
Our prototype won an honorable mention at the 2018 Disrupt Diabetes design sprint. A higher-fidelity prototype and user testing are currently underway.