Project type
Senior thesis
(Collaborated with Adelie Health)
Primary research, Wire framing, Usability testing, UI Design.

Routine Ninja is an app that motivates teenagers to manage their T1D diabetes by using positive rewards.

Adelie Health is a start-up co-founded by Oxford MBA candidate Meredith Caldwell and Health Economics Researcher Liam McMorrow. Routine Ninja is one of their products.

Type 1 Diabetes management is really hard for teenagers. Also, parents are often worried about their kid’s health. We believe that empowering people to make small, meaningful adjustments can lead to big improvements.

“For type 1 diabetics, we need insulin to live.”

Not taking insulin = ketoacidosis = syrup blood = deathApproximately 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 disease that requires constant management. Based on the study, people aged 12-25 have very poor blood glucose control.

Type 1 Diabetes management is really hard for teenagers. Additionally, parents are worried about their kid's health.
Teens with type 1 diabetes (T1D):
- It can be easily forgotten and blood glucose checks can be neglected.
- Know T1D management is important, but they are demotivated because of the stressful process.
- Doesn’t stress their parents out.

Teens' parents or guardians:
- It’s hard to get their children to check their blood glucose.
- Their life is also like a roller coaster, they need motivation and emotional encouragement.
Routine Ninja is an app that motivates teenagers to manage their T1D diabetes by providing positive rewards.
Teens' parents or guardians can:
Set up reward
Set up check-in requirements
Send the deal
Teens with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can:
Accept the deal
Check blood glucoses as required
Claim the reward
how does it work

1. Teen's guardian sets up a deal

There are three steps to setting up a deal -- choose a reward, select check-in times, and time frame, and an account. We have a wide range of choices on the reward recommendations including cash, concert tickets, screen time, gift card and so on. After the setting process, the guardian can send the deal to the child.

Currently, we haven't partnered with any E-commerce companies. So, users will need to process rewards in person.

2. Teen accepts the deal

After the guardian sends the deal the teen will receive an email about the deal and how to download our app.

Once the teen uses the same email address to create an account. The deal notification will automatically pop up.

3. Teen follows the requirements and finish all check-ins

We are partnering with Dexcom, Inc. and we will be targeting people who are using Dexcom CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring).  

Teens need to follow the request to check their Dexcom app and input the result on Routine Ninja. All recorded data are shown on the dashboard. Guardians can also access to these data on their app.   
“It sounds pretty motivational.”
— John (a 15 year old teen diagnosed with type 1 diabetes)
"Sounds good, parents also need motivation and emotional encouragement. "
— Dan (a dad of teen with type 1 diabetes)
The app is currently in beta test. So far, the test result shows that:

78% Beta testers said it’s really simple to use.64% Beta testers liked the idea and said it would motivate them a lot.
Research methods
Liam Mc Morrow, PhD is the founder of Adelie Health and has lived with diabetes for 16 years. Based on his personal experience and his PhD in health economics of diabetes, he led the research direction. I mainly supported primary research, and usability testings.  

Talking to patients assisted my in understanding the obstacles that they faced and empathize with both guardians and teenagers with T1D. After we talked to six teens and six parents, we found their pain points and needs.
And we found out that...
Core customers' needs
Teen with T1D
- Wants his T1D to be easier to control.
- Wants T1D to influence him as little as possible.

- Can be easily distracted and forgets to check blood glucose.
- Knows T1D management is important, but he is demotivated because he has tried before and failed.
- Doesn’t to stress his parents out.
Teen's parent
- Wants to make sure her child can take care of himself when he gets into college.
- Wants her child to be independent and do things in the right way.
- Her life is like a roller coaster, she also needs motivation and emotional encouragement.

- It’s hard to get her child to check his blood glucoses.
- Child just doesn't want to be diabetic, and this makes it hard for him to manage their conditions.
- Child doesn’t want extra attention or people to know about his diabetes.
Market research analysis
There are a lot of diabetes management applications out in the market. But most of the apps are focusing on Type 2 diabetes, and many of the apps are focusing on tracking behaviors and passive support. So, we decided to focus more on facilitating behavior changes in teens with T1D feel, including them to assist them to feel more motivated and remember to check blood glucose. Further, parents will feel more relaxed and confident in their teen’s ability to handle their condition.
Following our customer interviews, we synthesized our findings and were able to create a customer journey and persona which were presented and discussed with the client. These exercises formed a great foundation to move into feature ideation and prioritization.
Academic studies show that teenagers with type 1 diabetes who receive support from their family achieve better health outcomes. Through ‘deal-making’, the team wants to encourage teamwork between the teenager and parent where possible. When I joined, the team already built the MVP and I was helping the team to dive deep in some key flows and features.

On-boarding flow and "rewards choices"were my main focus.

Want to see the before and after?

ON-BOARDING (before)
My initial thought was that teens will take the initiative and send through their wish list, and the guardian will then approve the wish list and set up the goal. Because my assumption was that if teens can have more freedom to choose whatever rewards they want, they are more likely to use the app.
But after the prototyping tests, we heard different feedback that contradicted my design. 66% participants questioned why teens should take the initiative instead of parents. So, I adjusted the design based on the feedback we got from our prototyping test participants.  
From our prototyping test, 2/4 interview participants preferred money. We considered business constraints. 9/14 beta testers questioned about what kind of rewards we provide, and they expected more to come.  In the end, we decided to use money + other rewards!

There is so much more to come!

- Finalize "setting up rewards" flow Redesign the dashboard - Design the I - watch mockup
- Conduct the language application study
- Add a “Note-taking feature” during the check-in process

I said I want to explore the healthcare industry before I graduate, and I did :)

I said I want to explore the healthcare industry before I graduate, and I did.I thought the healthcare industry only accepted people with a lot of experience or professional knowledge.

I thought this because the problems it solves are complex and multilayered. But now I realized that as designers, we still can do a lot for people. I have been talking to Liam every week, our conversations started by explaining what insulin pump is and how people use it to discussing the future of type 1 diabetes. I am so glad that I got this opportunity to work with these industry experts and talk to all these patients.

For me, design is always about solving the right problem. But in order to solve the problem, understanding the problem, and the company's constraints or capabilities is very important. That was my most significant lesson this semester.  
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