Sunday, December 15, 2013

Project: Multiple Sclerosis - Bamboo Mobile

Team members: Alok Sarang, Amit Mendiratta, Charon Miller, Nitin Rao, Stephen Cossa


The goal of our project was to design a web application that will serve as a visual dashboard for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. The dashboard will display information that is recorded via a mobile application called Healthie, which acts as a personal diary for the MS patients. Data about the current health of the MS patient is recorded by patients and/or captured via a Fitbit wristband. The data captured will record the severity of symptoms the patients are experiencing as well as other factors that may affect their disease such as amount of sleep, stress levels and amount of exercise. The dashboard that we designed was a means to take the data collected via Healthie and display it to the patients in such a way that would help them determine what triggers their symptoms, what helps alleviate their symptoms as well as to help motivate patients to practice behavior that will improve their overall health.

Project Scope
We were supposed to design the User interface for a web application that will allow the patients to view their recorded systems over a period of time. The aim was to provide the data captured in such a way that it provides motivation to the patients and they can see the progress they are making on a daily/monthly basis. The project also aims to capture some external factors that may affect the patient's symptoms like temperature, humidity and moon phase. This report can be presented to the doctors in order to discuss their progress and also identify factors that affected them the most.

Project Phases
There was no current system in place and we were supposed to design how the interface of the new web application will look.
We iterated our design in three phases where we gathered requirements from the MS patients and understand what they were looking for in the application. We accomplished this in an iterative manner in which we designed several mock-ups, received feedback from the client and the end users.

The project was divided into three primary phases.
In Phase 1, we presented to the patients a set of basic graphs that depicted their symptoms over a period of time, we also showed them some charts like Fitbit Charts, line charts and Calendar charts. The aim of this phase was to get a basic understanding of what patient liked, what they disliked and what expectations they had for the application. The patients didn’t like the line graphs showing their symptoms, they appreciated the Fitbit charts and Calendar Charts. One major feedback was to not use primary colors like Red and Green - which were the colors we used in our charts. They suggested to provide a chart showing comparison of symptoms, this they suggested would be very motivating.

During Phase 2 of the project, we worked on the feedback and requests made by the client and patients and provided them with new Calendar charts with better colors and Comparison charts for symptoms, we presented the changes to the patients to get their feedback and any new requirements they may suggest. The feedback we received was, they appreciated the comparison charts which they found very motivating, appreciated the color changes, major feedback of this phase was they suggested removing smiley faces from Calendar charts and instead using a scale from 1 to 5, they felt it was easier to understand and serves the purpose. Some other suggestions were to incorporate environmental factors like temperature, humidity and moon phase. Also, they suggested incorporating their adherence to prescribed medical dosage. Some changes to UI like legends to charts, larger fonts, removing color from gauge charts were also suggested.

Final iteration, we changed the calendar charts to show numbers instead of smileys, incorporated environment factors, dosage information, print out option and changes to font and color as suggested in precious iteration.

We learnt about the MS symptoms and one critical learning we got was that before designing any application it is very important to understand the users of the system. In our case we learned that MS patients have very different requirements than other non MS users may have even in terms of very small but important things like colors of the interface. We learned fundamentals about user experience. Earlier we used to design and implement system just as developers but by the end of this project we learned how to think about the end user experience right from the design phase.

Summary Report Link:

Detailed Results Link:

Hosted Prototype Link:

Github Link: No Source code available, Used Prototyping tool