App Design | Conversation Flow
AMMA (Asthma Monitoring and Management App) delivers customizable air quality forecasts daily via text message, helping users keeping track of everything from peak flow to emergency contacts. The goal of AMMA is to help asthma sufferers taking control of their illness by obtaining health data with a hassle free manner. My role was to research, design, and test all the features within the app.
Project time frame: 2 weeks
Tools Used: Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Botsociety
DesignLab and the Google.org Healthcare Initiative (GHI) are working together to enable a superior user experience for their upcoming AMMA (Asthma Monitoring and Management App) product line. Google.org has created revolutionary technology that measures the wearer’s breathing patterns, blood pressure, steps, sleep patterns, and other vital statistics.
As part of my Designlab course, I was challenged to create a companion app for GHI's AMMA product line.
One of the main challenges for this project is to organize and display vital information in a useful way.
My goals for this app case study were to:
- Make asthma management convenient and easy to handle
- Improve asthma conditions
Planning & Findings
After receiving the project details, I conducted a discovery phase with subject matter specialist to gain industry insight, understand product line potential, and identify key areas of focus for the design. I also conducted a survey which received 35 responses and performed five in person interviews with people within the target demographics.
Through my research, I discovered that most people are not currently using any mobile apps to manage their asthma unless their conditions are detrimental. I've also found out that people often don't pay attention to their asthma and only take preventative measures when they have to.
After Reframing The Objectives
Based on the research findings, I realized that most people are not interested in managing their health through another app, which means that I need to create a product that doesn’t require extra learning curves and can also fits into their day-to-day life.
With my newfound epiphany, I quickly reframed the design objective and reached out to my design community to brainstorm ideas together. After going through several discussions, research, and brainstorming session with my mentor and fellow designers, I’ve decided to create a chatbot that’s based off Facebook Messenger.
Why a Facebook Messenger chatbot over a standalone app?
In the past 8 years, many companies had invested heavily in self-monitoring/reporting applications to engage patients for everything from medication, symptoms, vital signs, and behavior coaching. The results have been mixed. Some studies showed promise while others fell flat.
The mediocre performance of those apps is probably due to the lack of a truly engaging user experience. The need to install an app, and remember to open the app daily, is a chore, especially as the app reminds people their illness — people like games and entertainment in their mobile apps not sorrow and illness.
In fact, when I ask people why they don't consistently keep track of their asthma symptoms, the top reason is "I don't want to think about my asthma all the time." Thinking about illness is hard.
Instead of asking patients to open yet another app, good interventions should bring engagement to the patients in communication channels patients already use.
Facebook is available on all platforms including iOS, Android, and web. It also removes the friction of users having to download one more app, on top of all the apps they already have and may not use, given Messenger is now used by 900 million people every month. Talking to a chatbot creates a more discrete and interactive experience and is much more effective than asking the user to exit and open another standalone app.
Once I've set on the new design direction, I came up with a revised project brief to clarify the next steps of the design process.
After reframing the design objectives based on the research findings, I created a persona to better understand and empathize with the users. My persona helped to personalize the data and insights that I gathered during my research. It was also helpful as a reference guide when I encountered difficult design decisions later on in the project.
Potential User Flow
By using the insights I generated from the research phrase, I created a process/user flow to map the overall bot, including all of the potential app actions and their corresponding message strings. This document clearly illustrated all of the certain and potential actions that could take place within the bot.
Developing scripts for chatbot AMMA has taught me about the unique challenges of writing for a chatbot. It's closer to writing for a role-playing video game than anything else. I've used a combination of research, user testing, and a childhood spent playing online games to refine my scripts and improve engagement. I have identified several user flows that are crucial to asthma patients based on my user research.
After completing the usability testing and making several iterations upon my script, I created couple animated hi-fidelity mockups to show what the final design would look like.
• • •
The goal is to design an companion app for an asthma wearable monitor device and the challenge is to keep current users' behaviours in mind by designing a product that would fit into people's day-to-day lives.
It was through doing user research, reframing the design objectives based on research findings, idea explorations, prototyping, user testings, and iterations that I've learned the process of rapid prototyping and iteration with tight deadline.
While the project was a great learning experience, I would like to prototype and test the whole experience with my target audience. So my proposed next step is to prototype the whole service from front to back and conduct some contextual inquiries :
- How does the bot connects and synchronizes to the actual hardware device?
- Would this service appeals to the professional healthcare faculties?
- How likely is it for people to use this?
- What other uses and potentials does this bot has?
I've been speaking to several healthcare professionals about the project and they all seem to be interested and curious about how this service could potentially complements their practices. I believe that there are tremendous potentials with this project and I'm looking forward to refine this project in the future.