Root

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You or someone you know has multiple chronic health conditions1. After spending some time with them you know how hard it can be to track all of their symptoms and take all of their medications on time, it’s stressful. In some cases missing one prescription can be lethal2 or cause severe complications3. The stress of trying to remember everything from what made symptoms worse and what prescriptions have or have not been taken reduces quality of life, this is why Root was created, so our users can live their life.

Overview

Root is a mobile app that provides an easy and efficient way for users to track their symptoms and prescriptions, be provided insights based on the data they provide, be screened for medical conditions, learn about their health, and receive support through their ups and downs.

Purpose & context

Root was a personal project I conducted the research, design, and testing for to demonstrate my proficiency as a UX/UI designer.

Objective

The aim of creating Root was to create a fully functional mobile product from the ground up.

Tools

Figma, Photoshop, Caffeine

In the process of creating Root, I generated the following deliverables

User interviews, Competition research, User persona generation, User flow creation, Card sorts, Wireframe generation, Low-fidelity prototypes, Usability test plan, Algorithm Mapping, Moderated in Person prototype testing, Affinity Mapping, Logo Design, A/B Testing, Design guide creation, High fidelity design, Interactive component design, WCAG II compliance evaluation, High fidelity prototyping.

Research and Development

If you have personally assisted a family member or you have chronic health issues you understand the need for Root. However, no product is worth creating without providing needed utility5 to users, so I needed to ask the questions to define what was needed from Root. To identify the needs for Root I interviewed 5 individuals diagnosed with a range of chronic health concerns from Ehlers Danlos syndrome, depression, GERD, Fibromyalgia, extremity neuropathy, etc. Additionally, I interviewed a licensed professional counselor and a registered nurse to make sure insights and rating systems were medically relevant.

From this research I found the following

findings image

With these insights in hand and the demographics of my potential users, I generated two personas to guide the first wireframes for Root.

early wireframes

After designing early wireframes I found that users who have low motor control or maybe become overstimulated due to their neuropathy symptoms may have difficulty with slider functionality, so I decided to design the application around simple tap interactions rather than more complex interactions like sliding or dragging except when necessary. This omission of complicated gesture-based interactions will also assist those with memory issues who may forget how to get from one page to another without a visual prompt like an icon.

Once these issues, mainly functionality omissions, were added I moved into generating high-fidelity mockups for Root. Root’s main color, green, was chosen as it is associated with health and growth4. The designs were meant to feel soft and balanced and as simple as possible so users would be able to easily scan content and find their most relevant content as well as be navigable and intractable via touch only.

Enter Rootie

Once all my hi-fi mockups were generated Root felt too sterile and needed something to put it over the top visually. Rootie was included to attempt to resolve or at the very least alleviate the mental health struggles of our users.

rootie versions

In all of my user interviews, my users noted that at some point they had faced a lack of understanding from non-chronically ill individuals and a majority of them had lost friends because of their ongoing health issues. Rootie will be there with users through the good times and the bad times. Hopefully, this support through the good and bad will create a parasocial connection in our users towards Rootie and will increase the return rate of users as well as adherence to daily ratings. Additionally, having a mascot like Rootie opens up new revenue streams for dedicated users mainly in the form of merchandise.

rootie versions

Prototype

Once static high-fidelity mockups were finalized with Rootie’s inclusion. I went on to generate a finalized prototype.

Root's prototype included:

20+ interactive components, 100+ interactive pages, 30+ rooties, but more might be better

Prototype

Reflection

By creating Root I have grown immensely as UX/UI Designer. I realized that the pursuit of simplicity should never equate to eliminating essential user functions. That research is only as good as the questions you ask and one should always formulate questions to make users think below the surface level, so we as the designers not just what they want but what they don't expect to need. Finally, the solutions to your design problems should always be based on the insights your users provide you.

Conclusion

As I showed the people who generously provided their time to let me interview them for the user interviews I was welcomed with both emotions, “this is amazing and I am so happy that my time led to Root’s creation”Natalie and requests, “When are you crowdfunding this because I want/need to use this”Sierra. I believe in this product and it’s needed.

Sources

1. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-coma/symptoms-causes/syc-20371475
3. https://www.epilepsy.com/what-is-epilepsy/seizure-triggers/missed-medicines
4. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/color-psychology-color-meanings
5. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/perceived-value/

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