Designing for Children with Asthma
Breathe Easy is a service that utilizes both physical and digital worlds that is targeted towards pre-adolescent children recently diagnosed with asthma, and their parents. This project was as client work for Philips Health, alongside Danny Choo, Minrui Li, Eunice Oh, and Manjari Sahu. My role was putting together the concept video, making most of the illustrations and graphics, and assisting my team members in the UX/UI and conceptualization.
Philips was looking for a service that involves data from 4–10 year olds with asthma. This condition affects millions in the US, especially children. While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to mitigate and manage it. There was a slight push to transition children to independent management as they mature.
Don't have time to read through our entire case study? View the summary of our final solution here!
Potential Problem Spaces
We conducted some general research on our own, and found these main takeaways when we reconvened and made mind-maps to explore potential problem-spaces.
- Parents, who already have much to worry and stress about, find that constantly tracking their children would be too anxiety-inducing.
- Accessing information: medical documents are still on paper, which makes gleaning information more and more difficult.
- Teachers and school faculty being trained to handle asthma and communicative
- Socioeconomics and how minority kids in inner cities and in schools with low funding are more susceptible to severe cases of asthma
- Social inclusion: children with asthma could be bullying targets
We spoke with peers who suffered with asthma through childhood, and these were our main takeaways as well.
- Extremely restricted — activity levels was monitored and restricted
- Inhalers were like cellphones — needed them at all times
- Couldn’t participate in school activities, even though completely aware that they could
Defining our Opportunity
Upon brainstorming problem statements, we noticed our opportunity could go in a few directions, being empowerment, trust, and communication. With this in mind, we hatched out some of the core essentials we were looking at for our service system. This was our finalized service proposition:
"Our service is centered around enhancing communication and trust between parents and children as well as empowering the child to be independent through collaborative education and activity creation"
We defined communication as a regular exchange of activity data when necessary and trust as having the children make their own judgements and guide the parents create a sense of empowerment within the child.
Conceptualizing our Solution
We began narrowing down out concept — where we decide to focus on the beginning stages of asthma, or what we decided to call, onboarding asthma. First, we sat down and spent some time brainstorming touchpoints and rough conceptual ideas. Here what's we were conceptualizing initially:
- the doctor/child communication (via a physical, weekly log) with stickers
- pen pal communication between asthmatic children
- doctor/parent communication through digital portal, interpreting child’s postcards/stickers.
While continuing to conceptualize our solution, we often came close to falling into a pitfall of focusing too much on individual touchpoints and not the entire service as a whole. We drew back to clearly break apart our pain points and examine how to address solutions. By the end, we decided on three touchpoints: the app for the parent(s), and a journal/sticker set for the child to mark progress and achievements.
We decided to focus on collaboration between parents and their children, and decided to lean a little bit away from the onboarding experience.
This time, we focused on a scenario where our child and parent personas, the former diagnosed with asthma, are trying to understand the child's limits and triggers. Upon signing up, the parent would download the app as the journal and sticker set would be mailed to their home for the child's use. The child would be able to set goals and receive activities while the parent records them on the app. With data collected, they would receive bi-weekly summary reports of the progress made thus far, which can be sent to caretakers and school nurses. With each checkpoint, the action plans would be improved as the activities become more tailored to the child's thresholds.
Below is our value flow for our service!
Prototyping and Execution
Below are our wireframes to map the onboarding experience, as well as the core of our app touchpoint––a dashboard to measure current environmental conditions and the child's progress, which can be recorded by taking photos of the journal used by them.
Below is a styleguide of typeface and illustration style for our personas.
Overall, the biggest challenge was essentially making sure to avoid designing too much for a touchpoint and not the whole service. On the other hand, we also frequently fell into a trap of designing for too much. With the time that we had, there was no way we could feasibly create a system that would completely cater to a medical service (which already in itself is a messy area) and child/parent collaboration. We needed to focus on one relationship. All-in-all, most of the front-end was figured out, and with more research on asthma, we could calculate the activities based on each child's needs.