Why Healthy Habits?
America is often viewed as a nation of stressed out, sleepless, and sedentary people who are poorly equipped to improve their overall health and wellness.
According to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, only 2.7% of Americans meet all four healthy lifestyle habits: eating well, exercising, being a non-smoker, and maintaining recommended body fat levels.
Based on our initial work with this client and secondary research, we identified an opportunity to encourage healthy habits and improve health outcomes through effective behavioral change techniques.
Through contextual interviews conducted in Washington, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area, we engaged with individuals who matched our behavioral archetypes. Moderated by myself and another designer, we conducted eight 2.5-hour-long contextual interviews in DC and the Bay Area. In total, our team conducted 24 contextual interviews alongside 47 diary studies.
Our primary aim was to gain a deeper understanding of how individuals define health, their motivations, successes, and challenges.
To gain visual insights into the factors influencing people's health and their relative importance, we asked participants to fill out a health ecosystem map
Mapping health influences
A participant showed us zipongo, a health app she currently uses to track recipes.
A participant shows us his kitchen and food pantry.
A participants evaluates an experience concept.
The definition of "personal health" varies
Everyone wants to lose weight. Oftentimes weight loss provides a window into bigger health aspirations or underlying private concerns.
Weight loss as a window into health issues.
Self-reflection incentivizes behavior by creating a sense of self-evaluation and awareness.
Self-reflection inspires self-accountability
They desire to be seen holistically by their care team, beyond any specific diagnosis.
People are more than their conditions
People are influenced by their social circles. This can influence or impact starting or maintaining healthy actions.
The influence of social circles
Incremental steps towards small and significant achievements enable individuals to reach larger health goals.
Progress over perfection
Designing for the future
During the remaining nine weeks of the project, our team focused on designing a service blueprint, ideating concept features, conducting usability testing, and creating high-fidelity prototypes. We aimed to create a future-state concept that would enable sustainable healthy habits and improve health outcomes through behavioral change techniques.
Through participatory workshops with our clients, we generated over 150 ideas, which we then grouped into 18 features for further exploration. We created three frameworks: guided experience, self-service experience, and collaborative experience, as foundations for our design direction.
4 experience concepts
70 behavioral change techniques
6 research insights
with care team
Finding the right framework
To build upon and explore our mental model frameworks, we developed four concepts to test in our desirability studies. While my teammates focused on the design streams, I took the lead in conducting remote desirability studies to evaluate the concepts and proposed features. This testing played a crucial role in shaping our initial design direction and informing our future usability testing.
A smart digital guide transforming your health aspirations into clear, achievable, and enjoyable action plans.
Lifecoach + Care Team
Launchpad, fortified with supplementary interactions, focuses on fostering adoption and engagement through people's perception of a trusted Care Team.
Launchpad + Care Team
Your health ecosystem's central hub, integrating all digital tools, resources, people, and products, providing insights on what works best
Providing a guided experience
We recruited a total of nine participants, including some of our past participants, as we wanted to ensure their continued involvement in our design process.
The key takeaway from our desirability study was that participants recognized the value of a guided experience. However, we also realized the importance of meeting individuals where they are in their health journey. As a result, we moved towards a guided experience with the option to add on a care team.
Connect with people
“It's like having your best friend who helps me stick to my goals and provides support to get there and stay on track.”
Opinions on "Incentives and Rewards" varied, but everyone recognized their value due to familiarity.
Rewards felt familiar
I would say [rewards] is probably the most effective
because it's familiar with what I am doing."
"It eliminates doubt, noise, and clutter, giving you the confidence that your efforts will have a tangible impact. I'd download it today!"
Eliminate clutter and noise
All participants saw value in “Lifecoach” as a starting point to achieve their health aspirations and goals.
Collaborating with product managers to review initial wireframes
Aligning on sprint goals and prioritized features
Testing prioritized features with participants using usertesting.com
Sharing feedback and identifying next steps for prioritized features
Asynchronous user testing on our prioritized features
Participants found the onboarding process to be fairly straightforward but expressed a desire for more prompts and guidance, particularly during interactive sections like the mad libs.
Enhance onboarding guidance
Participants appreciated that Healthy Habits emphasized the privacy of reflections, assuring them that their thoughts and reflections are only visible to them unless they choose to share them.
Create a ‘safe space’
Envisioning a holistic, health ecosystem
Building upon our research and usability testing, the team collaborated with our client to create a health ecosystem for Healthy Habits, encompassing over 20 features categorized into pursuits, reflection, support, and insights.
Introducing Healthy Habits
Capturing, analyzing, and presenting information that matters to people and HCPs.
Recommending short behavior change recipes, made up of small actionable steps
Guiding insightful reflections related to personal wellness
Providing the righ support, at the right time
On-demand health coach
Celebration and rewards
After completing two prototypes for Healthy Habits, I collaborated with a data designer to launch a study involving over 100 participants to assess the feasibility of our frameworks in real-world scenarios. We conducted the study with two tracks: moderated (collaborative experience) and unmoderated (self-service experience).
Initially, the study was designed to create predefined action plans for individuals based on their health goals. However, as we observed a handful of moderated studies, we realized the importance of empowering people to create their own action plans. Prescribing specific plans would undermine their sense of empowerment and accountability.
Pivoting our study
With the principle of progress over perfection in mind, we made a pivotal decision to change the direction of our study. We shifted our focus to empower participants to create their own action plans based on their knowledge, skills, and confidence. The revised approach included the following questions:
This new approach aimed to foster a sense of ownership and self-efficacy among participants, allowing them to tailor their action plans according to their individual circumstances and capabilities.
Do you have the knowledge and resources to complete this step?
Do you have the skills or ability to perform this step?
How would you rate your confidence in successfully completing this step?
Bringing the client along
A key contributor to our success was the collaborative partnership we established with our client. They actively participated in both the research and design phases, ensuring that Healthy Habits remained patient-centric. This close collaboration allowed us to align our goals, leverage their expertise, and create a solution that truly addressed the needs and aspirations of our target audience.
Being part of a larger team with diverse roles provided us with valuable opportunities for mutual learning and growth. Throughout the project, we implemented a "buddy" system, pairing team members with different areas of expertise. I had the privilege of being mentored by a senior visual designer, refining my skills in visual design, while I, in turn, mentored him in user research, giving him the chance to moderate interviews. This exchange not only strengthened our professional relationship but also expanded our skill sets and fostered a culture of continuous improvement within the team.