The Treat YoSelf, is an app that is currently being designed for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The idea of the app is to address the medicine adherence needs of HIV+ pediatric patients. When the project came to Empathic Design & Technology, the CHOP team had already finished doing focus groups and several themes emerged. Due to the stigma surrounding HIV, a key consideration for the app was discretion, which is to say that onlookers, or anyone who gets access to the users’ phones should not be able to easily figure out that the user is HIV+
Key Considerations - Discretion - Motivation and positivity - Strong visual experience and engagement
Putting the Pieces Together
The CHOP team had already locked down the features, which included adherence reminders, adherence data and reports, point system, weekly & monthly data and reports, missing dose alerts, and refill reminders.
The original app that CHOP had developed with their researchers was an extremely bare bones, and raw application with almost no design. The app was essentially a proof of concept, with basic functionality.
Upon realizing that the app was to be designed for Android, I spent the first few days reading up Google’s Material Design Spec. Having used a couple of apps already, a card-style dashboard was one of my early visions for the app.
Since the first few iterations were done solely based on the documents and focus group transcripts that were received, there was uncertainty, and an assumption that the process involved taking several pills at different times of the day. This is why the first two iterations focus on ideas to convey the status of how many pills have been taken, and how many are yet to be completed. After the first meeting with the CHOP team, the design was quickly altered to accommodate for for a single pill, and a binary state for each day of taken and skipped. Soon after the third iteration, a colleague pointed out that the combination of the green and pink on the graphs would not be feasible for people with red/green blindness. The target audience was identified by CHOP is mainly male, which drove the decision to move away from the green to the indigo. This then became coherent with the branding of the app, which is indigo, and since the aim of the app was adherence, a completion being marked indigo fit perfectly. A more recent iteration of the graphs eliminates the pink, since it could have a potential negative connotation. Having read through the focus group transcripts and talking with the CHOP team who work closely with the patients, it emerged that the entire app should try to push towards a spectrum of positive to neutral, not going to the extreme negative side.
The calendars initially only accommodated for weekly and monthly data, but with the realization that there weren’t many constraints to providing a year view, it was added to the calendar. The color switch took effect on both the dashboard screen as well as the calendars. Eliminating the pink for missed is to eliminate any potential negative feelings that may arise amongst users. The incomplete days are marked as outlined dots, to portray a future opportunity, in hope that users find motivation to fill up the dots.
Take & Skip
The countdown card turns into a prompt card once it reaches the end of the countdown. This card displays options for the user to either take the pill, snooze the reminder, or skip. After going through a few options to ensure clarity of what the actions meant, the current one has three icons, the checkmark for take, the clock for snooze and a no-sign for skip. While brainstorming as a group, a colleague came up with the idea to have a riddle show up everyday, with the answer appearing when the user takes the medication. This was embedded in the take workflow, by having the card display the question once it is time to take the pill. The original app already had the feature to add a picture when logging intake which was incorporated into the take workflow. The new dialogs use the floating action button which provides an option for users to add a photo to the log. The card updates to show the current status. The users get a 12 hour window from the preset time to take the pill, and this is why even though the user selects skip, until this window is missed, the user still has a chance to change their decision.
The snooze workflow was initially determined to provide a one-click snooze option for a preset time. When a more functional snooze was designed, it was gladly welcomed by the CHOP team. Providing options like location was for scenarios such as to ensure that the user doesn’t leave home without taking their pill, or for a scenario where the user is driving but wants to take it as soon as they get to work. Preset times, and the option to customize the time was also welcomed by the CHOP team, recognizing that users may realize that they will not have the chance to take it until a later, known time, and simply giving a preset time might force them to skip, or falsely mark it as taken.