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Image by Amy Shamblen

Thrive: Mobile Solution for Patients

Healum • Digital Healthcare • Behaviour Change


Healum started thinking of the app redesign even before I joined the team. The first version was full of complex tools to help people change their lifestyle. However, the UX of the app felt clinical, almost if the target audience was doctors - not patients.


      The goal of this project was to identify the key painpoints associated with the app experience and propose design changes to address these painpoints. Design changes proposed as part of this project were developed and curretly is being tested by the internal team and Healum clients.

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Product Designer

User Research, Interaction, Visual Design, Prototyping & Testing

Mar 2021 - Ongoing

1. Background

Healum is a digital healthcare startup based in London. Learn more about Healum.


This was the second project I took when I first joined Healum. Since the beginning of the project, I was the only designer working on it from start to finish.

This project taught me a lot, and I have listed some of my key achievement on the right...


1. Aligning the team’s understanidng of users. For this particular project, I was doing weekly sessions with the team e.g. design show&tells, presentations to breakdown the basics of behaviour change and it’s application to design, brainstorming sessions etc. Tthese sessions helped me better understand the team’ perspective on the product, and connect with their thoughts and concerns.


2. Our Process

In general, Healum follows the Double Diamond Theory with a strong emphasis on Behaviour Change - COM-B model principles are used to facilitate decision-making at every stage of the design process. For example, during discovery one of the important parts is to identify behaviour ‘barriers’ towards the desired behaviour.

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        For this project, I went through all the phases including Development.

3. Gathering Insights

As a start, I had a few sessions with the clients to discuss the app issues. Our clients have conducted their own user testing and had quite a few insights to share with us. I then synthesized the data into the spreadsheet below to uncover a few burning pain points and suggestions...

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4. Defining Problems

The analysis of the data revealed a number of themes that the team decided to focus on for this project...

  • Users need to see relevant to THEM information as soon as they enter the app. The first page in the current app showed users a list of things they had to do, which is something that users need to be reminded of to improve their health but unfortunately, as the data shows, is not something that they would be motivated by. Instead... “Showing just-in-time alerts based on users performance and adherence i.e. if you continue eating X, you could lose A kg”

  • The app is not inviting to promote engagement. The choice of color palette as well as some of the UX decisions made the overall look & feel clinical and boring.

  • Hard to track different health metrics. Beyond that, some participants also said that they would prefer using a different method of tracking - such as a photo to track their meals.


These high-level problems led the team to decide that the design team needs to rethink the UX & UI of the app. These issues set a scene for the upcoming work and helped me get a clear direction for the project

4.1. Breaking down Issue 2

As part of this portfolio, I will focus on the second issue which is...

Issue 2: The app is not inviting enough to promote engagement


This problem consisted of smaller and more precise issues to address. Among those that existed, a few were considered the most prominent... relevant for people newly diagnosed with diabetes. Instead, people suggested...

  • The interface feels overwhelming. The app copy and the amount of it used to onboard people made the first-day experience overwhelming. Even though the complex nature of some concepts introduced in the app required their explanation, there was no doubt that the form of explanation (information text) was not doing it justice. This was particularly relevant for people newly diagnosed with diabetes. Instead, people suggested...

  • Copy in the app is not inviting. The copy created for the app was clear but was rather clinical. People needed a simple language that shows empathy and understanding of their condition. The use of negative language was received neither from the app’s copy nor from healthcare professionals directly...

  • Colour palette feels boring and clinical. The choice of colours, white spacing etc did not reflect users’ needs to feel safe and inspired and eventually stay in the app. It’s worth adding that some people also commented on the accessibility of the app where colours, especially font colours played a huge role.

Below I have given a screen that represents these issues very well.


"The app can act as a buddy, because when you are first diagnosed you do not know anything about the metrics, so tit would be great for somebody brand new to the illness to understand those first”

"Healthcare professionals might not know what the person is going through, hence they may use negative language to solve the problems they see."

1. Interface feels overwhelming.

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Ah cool, I'm finally in the app that is meant to help me manage my Type 2 Diabetes better... but wait...

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...What is tracking?

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...View results here? What results am I supposed to see?

...And why should I set up any goals?

5. Brainstorming Ideas

To address these problems, I started an ideation session where the team came up with a few potential solutions, which we eventually decided to explore further.

These ideas were...

  • Creating an onboarding flow for users to introduce them to the app and ensure the app is transparent with our users' regarding behavior change.

  • Creating a brand character to “represent” the app and play a role of a health coach.

  • Changing the UI of the app to get a more friendly look and feel.

5.1 Doing Competitor Analysis

Before mocking up the onboarding flow I decided to spend time reviewing other apps’ onboarding journeys to get inspiration and understand the best practices. Out of all best practices I have noted a few...

  • Explaining to users what they will be getting from this onboarding. Onboarding usually takes time and it’s crucial to give users an incentive to go through it.

  • Customize the onboarding experience. Cater the onboarding experience based on the needs of the target audience.

  • Break your onboarding into smaller steps. Don’t overwhelm the user with too many tasks. Focus on the two or three features that will help the user to understand the “aha moment” or “magic moment” and focus on them.

  • Celebrate success. Rewarding people for completing an onboarding reinforces users to continue using the app. The reward can take different forms - social or virtual reward, etc.

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6. Defining the Onboarding Journey

Even though there were a lot of hidden journeys in the app that could be potentially explained as part of the onboarding, we decided that the first version should be simple.

From the feedback sessions with users, I identified that a few high-level concepts that formed the core UX of the app confused people. For example, many users did not fully understand the benefits of creating health-related goals.

Aim: The aim of the onboarding was to give a basic understanding of these features and their benefits to the user.


Functionalities: The list below represents high-level functionalities that formed the base for the first onboarding flow...

  • Dashboard

  • Actions & to-do list

  • Goals

  • Tracking

  • Resources



For the first release, we decided to proceed with the 2nd flow as it satisfied the largest audience of the app...

7. Wireframing Onboarding Alternatives

Following the 1st tip from the Competitor Analysis section, I wireframed a few alternative onboarding flows to satisfy the needs of different audiences where...

  • The 1st flow was meant to satisfy the needs of a tech-savvy audience. These users want a brief overview and prefer to skip the onboarding to explore the app themselves. People like Jackie (from the VIrtual Community Project) have a need for autonomy and would prefer to actually learn by doing.​

  • The 2nd flow was designed for a less tech-savvy audience with people choosing to have more guidance and support. These people prefer a guided approach to onboarding and are willing to spend a bit more time in exchange for a better understanding of a new digital tool. People like Sarah and Vance (from the VIrtual Community Project) would pick this type of onboarding in favour of the 1st one.

8. Look & Feel Evolution

In parallel, I revisited the look & feel of the app and started experimenting with the style.

The aim was to make the interface...

  • Easy to understand

  • Accessible (at least text to be readable for people with impaired vision)

  • Fresh looking and friendly at the same time

The app UI went through a series of iterations... Have a look at how the style changed through this example of the personal dashboard


Personal dashboard was also initiated by me to addres the first problem of people not getting relevant and engaging information to come and stay in the app

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9. Validating the Design

After a few iterations based on the comments and suggestions from the Product Manager, I created a mid-fidelity prototype for the internal team to test. I have asked a few members to go through the onboarding and try to think out loud at the same time. The results of this testing were used to iterate the design and prepare it for development.

Overall the onboarding was received very well with a few suggestions.

  • Lowlight: One person said that sometimes the copy sounded like “marketing”. It was important to minimize the use of design jargon

  • Highlight: Human character, Linda created a feeling that there is “someone, like your virtual coach” talking to you rather than a piece of code.

  • Highlight: Progress circle was received well. Participants found this functionality useful as it helped them understand how close they are to the end of the onboarding > reduced uncertainty

View the final prototype here...


10. Results & Reflection

The onboarding flow is just one of the flows that I have worked on during this project. The development of the app version 2, based on the updated UI and improved UX is still in progress but I can already mention a few takeaways...

  • Working with developers. The development of this project started in June 2021. I have learned a lot from working with developers. To improve our communication and ensure the designs are delivered in the best way possible, I have introduced a few activities and assets. Conducting weekly design walkthroughs, and creating explainer videos to support the development were some of them.

  • It is worth doing competitor analysis. I am not a big fan of doing competitor analysis too early in the process, as it sometimes downgrades designers’ creativity. However, this time I had the opportunity to look at different apps not particularly related to healthcare, understand the best practices, and then incorporate them to fit the purpose of Healum’s product. This helped me to propose certain ideas with greater confidence.

  • Sometimes it is better to improve than redesign. Now that I’m looking back, I might have considered the option of not redesigning & redeveloping the app from scratch but gradually improving it. I believe that it may have saved us time.