As a design consultant for Berkeley Innovation, I worked with three other designers on a project for NLYTN ("enlighten") Beauty, a startup that creates solutions and treatments for acne and other skin-based bacterial infections. Our task was to design their mobile health application to supplement their products.
Many people wish to know more quantifiable information about their skin, fitness, nutrition, and various aspects of their health, but the data they receive is either incomprehensible or meaningless, or they don’t have enough time to dedicate to an app. Our challenge was to design a mobile app to help busy young adults and working class professionals learn how aspects of their health are related and track their progress in an easily digestible way that requires as little effort from the user as possible.
We designed a mobile app that allows people to monitor, compare, and track the progress of various aspects of their health through data visualization and correlations, using results generated from a testing kit that they can order from NLYTN as well as data from other health-tracking apps and devices. Users can also input products used, mood, and other factors that can be used to generate correlations and actionable recommendations. Our goal was to strike the balance between making the app require minimal effort for the users, yet highly customizable for those who wanted it to be more personal. We aimed for a design that is simple and a color scheme that reflects the brand image that is clean and fresh.
The dashboard serves as a centralized location where the user can view all of the information they consider the most important. Users can pin the categories and data they want to see most to the dashboard for quick and easy access. The user can access all the available categories from the categories tab. Within each category, users can view recommendations with suggested actions and products, a visualization of the data, and correlations of that category with other tracked categories.
We interviewed college students and working professionals about their experience with mobile health apps and the information they wanted to now about their health to better plan the features and functionalities of our app. We found that people
- Prefer to self-diagnose and feel in charge of their own bodies
- Are interested in tracking their progress over time
- Want to compare aspects of their health
- Dislike apps requiring excessive inputs
Based on our research results, we worked together to create several personas to reflect the target audience for the application. While personas can be incredibly useful for helping our team agree and focus on a specific audience and helping us prioritize which pain points we wanted to address, we were careful not to get carried away designing our personas with too much superfluous information or base our designs purely off our personas. Instead, we used them as a guide to gain empathy for the users and establish a clear direction for our designs.
Next, we mapped out a user flow to organize the hierarchy of information and the features in the app in a way that aligned with the user needs, from what we learned in our research, and client asks.
The most important thing I learned from this project was that as a design consultant, making informed decisions is part of my responsibility. When we do not receive explicit directions for an area of the project, or when the client is unsure about a direction to take, rather than staying silent, I should provide some of my own opinions as a designer, and we can discuss to come to a better solution. After all, as a designer I want to see what I’m building succeed, so I should be thinking critically about what is best for the users and the business from a design standpoint.