As experience design consultants, we love having the opportunity to tackle lots of different kinds of problems. But we don’t always get to try out all the problems that interest us the most — after all, we can only solve those problems somebody has seen fit to devote some money to solving, and then shown the good judgment to hire us to take them on. So we decided to go hunting for problems nobody’s asked us to solve yet.
Then blogger Amy Tenderich posted her “Open Letter to Steve Jobs” in April, pleading with the Apple CEO to apply some of that company’s design expertise to improving the lives of the 20 million American diabetics who rely on technology to manage their condition every day. Amy’s blog post got a lot of attention, even making its way to TechCrunch. Amy asked for better products for diabetics, but we recognized that those products had to add up to an experience that would satisfy their emotional and psychological needs. So we set out to develop an experience design concept that addressed user behavior and psychology as well as current technological trends to project how insulin pumps and glucose meters might work five years from now.
We spent time with diabetics, who showed us their routines and talked about how hard it can be to stay motivated to keep themselves healthy. They shared their experiences with the technology products that they literally depend on for their lives. With their insights, we were able to formulate a set of design goals we’d have to meet in order to transform the experience of managing diabetes. We came up with dozens and dozens of possible design concepts, sketching out different approaches to achieving those goals. Out of those concepts, a few key elements started to fall into place. We looked at the solutions out on the market and talked to diabetes educators about what works for people and what doesn’t.
We built on those concepts by fleshing out the interaction design of the product, mapping out how the users would monitor their condition and give themselves insulin. At this point, it became clear that a bunch of interface mockups wouldn’t be enough to convey our ideas. That’s when we started producing this video.
The video doesn’t stand alone. We’ve provided all the background on the thinking behind the Charmr concept, including our research findings, as part of our case study. It’s been an exciting project that has pushed us in unexpected ways — in other words, just the kind of project we had hoped for. We look forward to doing more of them!
Doctor’s Office: http://flickr.com/photos/sbconsci/361586238/
Background of Charmr: http://flickr.com/photos/post/19350897/
Voiceover by: Laura Kirkwood-Datta
Music: Andrew Crow