No, we are not hallucinating from sleep deprivation (well at least I am not, can’t speak for my team). Now that we have completed a full round of research and defined some areas to explore further, we now look to begin [cue trumpets] … the Design Phase! Yay!

To do this, we have visioned, storyboarded and speed dated our way through some ideas, which we’ll get into below.

But first, enjoy this wacky bit of pictography.

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Have any idea what is going on in this drawing?

That’s okay, allow us to explain.


In this sketch, we explored the idea of using technology to help Mike (a fictional person) to deal with his pollen allergy. We went from using an allergen-sensing smartwatch to a vacuum tube delivery system for medication to holographic plants that are aesthetically pleasing without all the sneezing.

Makes sense, right?

In order to break ourselves out of conventional thinking, we employed a technique called visioning. We start with a vague prompt, usually a person and possibly one detail, like an illness in this case. Then each team member makes up part of the story, about one sentence long, and sets up the next team member to come up with the next part, and so it goes until we run out of ideas and the story concludes.

In this way, we explored 8 different scenarios, each with a unique user, condition, and possible intervention. Here are a couple more of our visioning sketches.

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As we drew more, we started seeing common themes that might be applied to our designs moving forward, such as the option to share information with family and/or doctors.

Storyboards and Speed Dating

In order to validate our assumptions about the needs of users, we used the sketches from our visioning session to write up 4 scenarios that embody the ideas we want to test. In order to offer value to engage users over the long term, 2 of our scenarios involve patients with chronic conditions. We specifically targeted conditions that lead many patients to the ER, namely asthma and heart disease.

Another concern is getting people to start using our product in the first place, so we looked at other groups who might be prone to visiting the ER, and might find value in a similar solution — such as pregnant women and people with influenza.

With these 4 ideas, we created storyboards to be used in combination with a technique called speed dating. Here, the storyboards serve as a visual aid to help users imagine themselves as the character in the story, dealing with some medical condition.

Take a look at some more pictures!

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Storyboard for Asthma
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Storyboard for Pregnant Couples
Storyboard for Heart Disease
Storyboard for Heart Disease (ER)
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Storyboard for the Flu

Next week, we will be talking to users who have asthma or heart disease, as well as women who are or have been pregnant, and those who have had the flu. Our goal is to learn more about how these people live and cope while getting feedback on our ideas for a solution to each one.

We will be back next week with the results of our speed dating plus a peek into our first prototype.

Next Up–Persuading the Audience: Communicating Your Message While Barely Saying it at All

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