Four iPhones with screens from app

Medtronic logoThe Client

Medtronic, a medical devices company, makes products for people with diabetes. These include insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, and blood glucose meters. Medtronic’s most popular insulin pump has a 50% share of the US market, but competitors are gaining ground because of their sleeker looks and interfaces.

 The Challenge

For a two-week class project, our three-member team proposed a new offering for Medtronic to help the business stay relevant and attract and satisfy new customers.

The Solution

We aligned business and user goals by designing a mobile app, M+, that would allow users to enter and analyze information, browse actionable tips, and connect with other people with diabetes.

My Role

  • Strategy
  • User research
  • Prototyping

User Goals

Medtronic’s devices are used by people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), and nearly all of the 30,000 US T1D cases diagnosed each year are under 40. Newly diagnosed users want to see and make sense of their diabetes data on a daily basis, get actionable advice and insights, and find a community to stay motivated and learn about their diabetes. We designed a multifeatured app with a clean, elegant feel which would appeal to this market.

 User Research

We started by sending out a survey to people with diabetes, and continued by interviewing people with Type 1 Diabetes. Some of the results were surprising. We expected a high level of compliance with diabetes regimens; this would have led us to build a digital service that concentrated on connecting people to each other rather than on reminders. But 65 percent of respondents said they sometimes skipped or forgot parts of their daily regimen.

Do you ever skip or forget parts of your daily routine?

All our interviewees were adults, but whether they had been diagnosed as children or more recently, they talked about having felt, at first, like they were the only one in the world with diabetes.

I was diagnosed at 17 but by 19 I was so sick of doing [daily diabetes care] all by myself, I stopped it completely. I only went back to it after I ended up in the hospital with kidney values twice normal.
—Caitlin, 35

Interviewees also said that the best sources of actionable information, especially in early diagnosis, were other people with diabetes, even more so than doctors.


Looks like we’re at Dairy Queen!

We started by brainstorming about what features might be helpful to a user. Based on our user survey and interviews, our early sketches included features such as swiping through food categories with nutritional advice and finding a workout buddy.

Other ideas included geotracking the user to favorite eating places to allow syncing of menu items with nutritional information, time-syncing with a school or work schedule, and creating a loyalty program which would provide gift card rewards for responsible behavior.

We decided to build out a small set of features and leave some of these more complex items for later.

The three features we decided to concentrate on:

  1. Allowing the user to track diabetes-related data
  2. Providing actionable advice
  3. Connecting the user to other users

We wanted a way for the user to track data and also get insights and tips, so we started designing a multi-part screen. We wanted have several different data sets available—we started with blood glucose, carbohydrate intake, exercise, and mood—so we set up a toggle system in a graphical interface. After more interviews, we changed the sort to carb intake, insulin dosage, exercise, and sleep.

Round 2 sketches
Round 2 sketches



Blood glucose monitor screen" The blood glucose level is the most important piece of information for her, so we made the graphics large and easy to read. She can add information via the blue “+” at the bottom.

Tips Library and Detail screens: the user can browse a library of actionable tips.Community and Community Detail screens: The Community feature is accessible from any screen. The Community Detail page has more in-depth information about other users.



Usability testing

We tested a PDF of selected screens with interviewees, friends, and family. Some of the feedback we received:

The Trends screen is easy to follow. I like that it’s not five or six different screens.
—Richard, 32


I like that it praises you [for a good blood glucose level]. Mostly everyone focuses on negatives. No one acknowledges when you’ve done something right.
—Sara, 18


The alert just says my blood glucose level is high. I’d want to know an exact number.
—Marlo, 27


If this was real I’d definitely download it.
—Caitlin, 35



Blood glucose levelA clickable prototype is here. Follow the user as they receive an Alert, browse Tips, check Trends and visit the Community feature. Scroll down to see the full screens, if necessary.

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