Hygieia wanted to greatly improve the lives of insulin-dependent diabetics through the introduction of a new approach to blood sugar management. This would require a new device, a new scientific approach, and a compelling user experience. Hygieia needed to deliver an innovative medical solution to patients in a way that worked for real world patients, not just a design that impressed executives. A visually appealing design, or even an award-winning design, would mean nothing without passionate user adoption.
Hygieia hired Menlo to challenge industry assumptions and their own internal assumptions about the end users and discover a design that demonstrated user adoption before completing the product engineering.
How Menlo Helped
Menlo’s High-Tech Anthropologists® began by identifying different potential user communities and studying existing user behaviors. Through this work, Menlo discovered that users desperately wanted to get their diabetes under control, but they needed help in doing so. Users were embarrassed about having to use their glucose meters in public, so they recommended designing the device to look like a cell phone.
Based on these and other findings, Hygieia chose to target "Manuel", a composite persona who was a 52-year-old beginning to see diabetes affecting his job performance, as the primary user of the device. Menlo wanted to make sure that people like Manuel were able to record their diet, insulin intakes, glucose readings, and carb counts all in one place. The design would need to allow Manuel to easily understand how to manage his diabetes based on the readings from the device and share the information with his doctor.
The Menlo team then created low-tech prototypes of several contrasting designs, and tested those prototypes with real users. Based on feedback from those design assessments, the team developed product concepts with features that had demonstrated success with the target users.
Ultimately, Menlo collaborated with Hygieia to create a handheld device that helped patients create a historical record to share with their physicians, and construct action plans that better fit patients' lifestyles.