I led the design of the Mango Health App from 2012-2016.
The crux of Mango Health is the Pill Reminder. The mission of Mango Health is to address the billion dollar problem: medication adherence. I conducted some design research into the reasons people didn’t take their medications. Side effects, dosing complexity, “feeling better”, misplacing meds, and just plain old forgetfulness were among the top of the list. We designed in a gamification mechanism to incentivize folks to take their pills. Points were earned on a daily adherence score that landed you in levels. At different levels, you were entered in to a weekly raffle to win gift cards or donations to charity. The higher the level, the more valuable the prize.
We later built a survey that would surface if a patient missed a med multiple times. This would allow us to understand if the patient was feeling better, feeling side effects, or other. It would also allow us to work with health care partners and also encourage patients to discuss this with their physicians before completely halting treatment.
Often times, people are not only prescribed pills, but they’re prescribed lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes are often overlooked and seen as merely suggestions. We decided on habits, instead of goals, because failing on your goals can be disheartening. Also, for many of our patients, some goals can never really be attained. With that in mind, we designed a way to help people create healthy habits. This was the natural next evolution from being sick to proactively starting to care about your health.
I worked closely with out VP of Medical Outcomes (a 15 year veteran physician) to figure out which goals were good for almost anyone. The goals needed to promote mindfulness, fitness, and real measured tracking, all without feeling too daunting. Here are a few highlights of my favorite features from Healthy Habits:
- Watch Weight: This one was tricky because people a) hate weighing themselves and b) feel incredibly discouraged when they seem to yo-yo on a day to day basis. We chose to focus on the 10 day moving average since water weight can make your weight fluctuate, and weight only gradually moves in a downward fashion. I found Paul Smalera’s Medium post incredibly helpful when designing this feature. Of course, I personally tried this technique and found that looking at a 10 day average instead of focusing on my daily number was pretty encouraging.
- Rate My Plate: What is more time consuming or daunting than calorie counting? I knew from personal experience that embarking on a road to trying to count calories is a full time job, and sometimes, practically impossible. The minute you eat out at a mom-and-pop restaurant, or have dinner at your friends’ house is also the minute that your gusto to count those calories goes down the drain (of course unless you have no qualms about bringing a food scale with you everywhere). I believe that the goal to mindful, and therefore, incrementally healthier eating, is to review the things you ate that day as honestly as you can. So I designed a simple system of rating your meals and then an overall rating for how well (or poorly) you snacked that day. 1 being poor, 5 being best, you get a daily averaged score to see how you at that day.
Record your moods
This feature was designed with the intent of having our users to take a moment and to ask themselves “how do you feel”? While a very simple mechanism with only 5 different moods and an open note pad to write in, it was our first step towards addressing healthcare outside of medication.
Prior to the Apple Watch release, we were invited down to Cupertino to do some pre-development of Mango Health for Apple Watch. Of course for our app it made a lot of sense for our users to be able to see at a glance their medications due and coming up. We also built in a way for folks to see their adherence stats and to also record their mood on the go.