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Diet coach app


2019 |  4 moths  |  1 app


From ideation to

high fedility prototype

In order to be able to tackle this project in a structured manner I created a research question from the design challenge presented by the hospital.

This is question was specified further through desk research and interviews with healthcare professionals and patients.

What will be the perspective of the conversational agent?
- Coaching
- Not your friend but your tool
- Autonomous motivation
- Food

The challenge:
How can we design a conversational agent to support oesophageal cancer patients during the treatment phase (from diagnosis till the postoperative phase) to fulfil the self management needs of patients and their health care professionals?

Inspiration phases:
To start the project I started off with some form of structure. I was looking for inspiration for the project. Therefore I needed information that reflected the target audience. 

At first I started with a research question. Thinking about the research question and with the information I got from the hospital I made a research plan together with one of my peers.

Additionally to gain more knowledge we did research on several topics related to the casus. The different aspects I looked into were:

Research on food advices for oesophageal cancer patients
Research on the fundamentals of design
Research on providing information

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The patient journey

Creating the affinity map
After the interviews we wrote all the (possible) important insights on little post-its. These post-its were then categorised into different subjects. In this way we could see what the relevant subjects were and which weren't as relevant to finding a solution/problem.

When analysing the affinity map I concluded that there was a problem concerning food. As 80% of the patient that are diagnosed are malnourished - said in the interview with the dietitian - this directly effects the treatment of the patient as well. 

What confirmed this decision to focus on the food aspect, was the following: The food intake is equal to the amount of energy a patient has for the exercises. This is important to keep their weight in check, weight is an important metric to determine the course of the procedures.​

How might we:

- let patients eat with enough variation?

- give nutrition advice to the patients?

- speak to the patients?

- inform the patients?

- improve the apps performance towards the patients?

- help the patients to not put their focus on being ill without withholding crucial information?

- help the patients to get through the healing process better?

- get the information to the patients in a friendly persuasive way?

- make a device that is usable for the target audience?

- persuade the patients to trust the information?


Creating the first designs
Now it was time to start bringing the concept to life. Starting of with the wireframes, I looked for inspiration online and started drawing out first ideas onto paper. Then I collected all my ideas and made them into a digital XD low fidelity prototype. Maxing sure to keep the accessibility of the user group in mind. The design was a mobile first approach.

Right after the first design set up I went to talk to a former dietician who helped patients with their chemo/radio therapy. Together with her I spoke about the concept and made a couple adjustments to the structure and design of the app. This meant that the app would be giving advice for a requested change for a portion of the meal, instead of giving an alternative for a completely different meal.

She also confirmed that the app would be a tool that could be used, and didn't interfere with the professionals work, but added to it. 

Research Question
Research Plan

Patient journey
To get a better understanding of the process the patients are going through I made a patient journey. This made the different stages and bottlenecks of the patients visible.

Now we had a good basic understanding by desk research.

Field research
However we also wanted to gain insights by field research. This is why we planned for interviews with 3 former patients and with 6 healthcare professionals.

To prepare these we made an interview document. The most insightful interviews I held were with the surgeon, the dietitian and 1 with a former patient

Whit the new information from the interviews I started an affinity map.

Affinity map

Once I had set my focus and collected our insights from all the information we made a couple of How Might We’s. These were made to see were the concept opportunities were.

After making this list I had a brainstorm to see if I could implement the HMW's with the focus on nutrition.

With different brainstorm sessions I made the first steps towards the concept. I took different aspects from the interviews I held. Coming up with the next concept:

A chatbot that will give alternatives for the different aspects of the diets of the patient. Because they can't continue their current eating habits due to the complication of their illness. 

I felt like this was a good balance between the needs of the professionals and the patients themselves.

Concept document
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Go to all the artboards
Tone of voice
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Final steps for the concept app:
To further develop the tone of voice for the chatbot my peer was going to test the tone of voice. What was the hardest part of creating the sentences was making them different and yet similar within the Epsilon and Zeta profiles. We created the test sentences together.

Tone of voice test
After the test we had a better idea of the tone of voice the bot should get, taking the earlier results from the research and the ones from this test. The conclusion was that there is a preference for the Zeta profile within the tone of voice.

From ideation to

a solution

The concept of this app and it's research were done for the Catarina hospital, they took the knowledge and added it to their information sources.

Additionally the research done were implemented into a university study to make improvement into the health care system using ICT and technology.


This course has taught me a lot when it came to research and the way to process findings into the concept. I never heard/known of an affinity map or a customer journey. I can add these new ways to my personal toolbox and use them when needed in other projects that will come.

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