AMMA

Project Overview

AMMA is a companion app to monitor a wearable device created by Google.org Healthcare Initiative (GHI). The wearable tracker and app are part of a product line to manage and improve chronic asthmatic conditions by providing industry-leading accuracy and reliability for measuring breathing patterns, blood pressure, physical activity, and other vital statistics.

Course: Designlab’s UX Academy Program

Client: Google.org Healthcare Initiative (GHI)

Timeline: 6 weeks

Key Activities: Secondary research, primary research, ideation, wireframing, prototyping, interaction design, usability testing, user interface design

Tools used: Sketch, Illustrator, Photoshop, InVision

Research

I conducted interviews and questionnaires with people who have chronic asthma, seasonal asthma, parents of asthmatic children, and medical professionals working with asthmatic patients. My intention was to better understand the behavioural habits, patterns, and needs of asthma users and caretakers, with additional perspective gathered from medical professionals who encounter a range of asthma patients and are at the forefront of providing initial and ongoing asthma care and techniques.

Problem Space

As asthma is not a disease that can be cured, providing effective management and education tools can help asthma sufferers monitor and proactively avoid triggers to prevent severe attacks, or attacks altogether, which reduces medical costs and visitations, while lessening disruptions to daily lives.

Key Insights & Guiding Principles

Through literature review, competitive analysis and interviews with 11 participants across the 3 specified categories—asthmatic patients, caretakers, and medical professionals—here were some key insights from the research (in no particular order).

1 - Automation

The more manual and tedious the task of tracking and monitoring is, the more likely people will find it difficult to keep up with daily tracking and loose interest.

Principle: Automate live communication and feedback between device and app, reduce tedious and manual input from user as much as possible to encourage long-term ease of use.

2 - Control & Accuracy

Asthma sufferers and their caretakers are constantly trying to manage their environments to avoid or prevent any possible attacks, with worries of encountering things outside of their controlled surroundings.

Principle: Providing accurate information regarding their immediate surroundings, not just relying on general static information from websites, will help with proactive management to prevent attacks, allowing them to feel more confident and in control of their body reactions and environments.

3 - Instantaneous & Prompt

Forgetting, downplaying, or being overly confident in their physical abilities and limitations can lead to neglect of medication and over exerting until they trigger an attack. In children, this can also be attributed to them not wanting to be different from others, or a level of denial to admit that they have a chronic condition.

Principle: Real-time vitals with warning alerts can help users accurately gauge when they may be close to over exerting, thus lowering their intensity, taking a break, or taking their medication only at critical/necessary moments to lessen any oncoming symptoms.  

4 - User-friendly

Finding a simple way to effectively track and monitor asthma sufferers from a distance, over a period of time, to determine true and accurate results and management of condition, especially in the case of children.

Principle: Having the ability to share real-time vitals and stats in an easy and unobtrusive way will ease feelings of stress, tension and anxiety for parents/caretakers, doctors or other supportive individuals, while also having detailed information of true management conditions for medical review and adjustments.

5 - Supportive

Asthma caretakers and sufferers may feel emotionally overwhelmed or confused at times, especially when the asthma condition appears in children for the first time, they may not know the appropriate technique or dosage of medication, they may not be following the proper asthma action plan, and depending on their social economic status, they may feel unable to access appropriate medical care when needed.

Principle: Providing access to educational articles and how-to videos, as well as an asthma coach and support network, will help caretakers and sufferers reach out to others in similar situations for guidance. This will encourage them to reach out and not feel judged, but also know that there are others who are going through or have gone through similar situations and will have advice/support to offer. This can lead to better overall personal care, both mentally and physically, with follow through on appropriate action plans, techniques, and medication usage.   

UX Strategy & Ideation

Based on my research, the AMMA product line should aspire to provide an accessible and affordable method to help asthma sufferers where medical help/costs may be underprovided or inaccessible. It should provide stress relief, reduce worry and build confidence that asthma symptoms can be controlled and improved, providing guidance with a continued support system to improve overall mental and physical health. Although AMMA deals with a serious medical condition, this app doesn’t represent itself as strictly medical, but more of a health and lifestyle resource for people living with asthma.

  • UX Strategy Blueprint
  • Persona
  • Application Map
  • Wireframes & Annotations
UX Strategy Blueprint
Persona
Application Map
Wireframes & Annotations

Interaction Design

User Testing

Testing was done with a range of users who differed with levels of technical proficiency to determine a spectrum and range of ease or difficulty with the prototype. The 5 main categories examined were user behaviours, interaction insights, pain points, areas for improvement, and feedback/comments. Based on the findings, I was able to identify some common themes for the design that could be changed, further developed, and clarified in the next iteration of the UI designs.

Branding

The visual branding for AMMA was based on these key adjectives: active, calm, supportive, quality, and accurate. From those adjectives, I sketched out and iterated on a number of logo concepts before settling on the current logo and brand style tile.

Iterative UI Designs

Implementing some changes from the user testing, I’ve selected a few key screen flows to showcase and focus on.

  • Dashboard
  • History Report
  • Device/App Settings
  • Action Plan
  • Lifestyle Education
  • Chat & Account
Dashboard
History Report
Device/App Settings
Action Plan
Lifestyle Education
Chat & Account

Project Findings

For this first phase, the designs focused on making the app self-contained to the primary user, and overall testing revealed that the initial design was quite easy to navigate. No major changes were made regarding navigation or settings, however icon symbols, link placements, and labels were clarified to make the user flow more intuitive. The 5 key insights from the user research were addressed to accommodate more automation in the app design, more promptness, control and accuracy in environmental and vital feedback, user-friendliness in navigation, and support with the lifestyle education and chat features. The next design phases would go more in-depth with accommodating for real-time profile/app sharing features with other users, building an emotional support network, as well as integration with affiliate apps and third-party data. Although AMMA deals with a serious medical condition, the app represents overall health care management, both physically and mentally, for those who live with asthma. Thus, the lifestyle education and support sections of the app would offer beneficial ongoing care to maintain a healthy lifestyle, hopefully less prone to asthmatic disruptions.

Future Challenges

  • Build user trust and loyalty by educating and demonstrating this product line as an effective and useful management system.
  • Form and maintain a user’s habit to track and monitor asthma symptoms in a less labourious process.
  • Reinforce and/or alter user behaviour to follow warning signs and proper medication usage.

Next Steps

  • Complete onboarding process and build out detailed screens for daily logs and live feedback history to complete self-contained features of the app.
  • Create updated prototype with UI compositions and user flows to test interactions and determine further design iterations.
  • Build additional interactions and screens for other features of the product such as advanced chat/networking features, child mode, integration with affiliate apps and mobile capabilities for alerting.

Personal Reflections

This was a project of many unknowns and unfamiliarity. It was the first completely mobile product that I worked on, including my first time implementing Google’s Material Design guidelines. It was quite a learning curve to design in Material as I’ve been mainly an iOS user and more accustomed to that style.

It was definitely informative to learn about the different styles in terms of design and also navigation. Even the topic of asthma was largely unfamiliar to me before this project, so I felt that I pushed myself by taking on this project even with so many unknowns. It was a unique challenge and growing experience.

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