IntroductionThe ProblemThe SolutionUser ResearchIterationsLesson learned


Better Eczema management through symptom and trigger tracking
UX Research
UCL HCI student project
Help Eczema patients better track and understand their symptoms
Limited reach to real Eczema patients & diverse teammate background
2 months
Roles and Responsibilities
1 out of 4 UX designers in a team of 9
•   UX research: Desk research, persona development, usability testing
•   UX Design: wireframing,  mid to hi-fidelity prototyping
The Problem
Eczema is a non-curable skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and red patches on the skin. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as food, fabric or weather. The common struggles of an eczema patient include dealing with persistent itchiness, self-consciousness, and the challenge of managing and preventing flare-ups.
How might we support eczema patients to better manage their conditions and their daily life?
The Solution
Onboarding for personalisation
Eczema patients are able to select the feature they would like to use, set personal goals, and communicate the known conditions in the onboarding flow for their experience to be personalised
Symptoms and trigger logging
Eczential would prompt the user to log their symptoms and ask them whether they are exposed to certain triggers based on smart recommendations, such as food, event or the environment. This allows the app to locate the reason for flare-ups.
Insights on symptom management
Eczential will identify potential triggers for flare-ups and make recommendations to their lifestyle. Users are also able to monitor their eczema condition over time.
Community support
Users can get support from the community by browsing and discussing with dermatologists and patients alike. We hope this community will serve as an information hub and provide the mental support to reduce the sense of isolation experienced by Eczema patients.
“I woke up with a face that was completely inflamed. I didn’t know how or why this was happening..”
- Rucci in her YouTube video
User Research
Due to project limitations on contacting real patients, the team conducted desk research through academic literature, online Eczema forums and experience-sharing videos. Main user research insights include:
Lack of knowledge regarding the trigger and treatment of eczema
Advice provided online or by dermatologists can often conflict with patients’ own experiences
Competing desire to maintain a ‘normal’ life like their peers, causing mental health issues
Forming Requirements
We created three personas to represent the user groups that require the most help, as indicated by online communities - A long-term eczema patient with very little hope, a working mom with a kid with eczema, and a freshman abroad who recently developed eczema. After prioritising the features based on their importance and their fit for the personas, we decided to create an app that allows user to track their symptoms and exposure to triggers, as well as engage in the eczema community.
The team aligning on the importance of the features with the prioritization grid
Low to high-fidelity Prototype & User Testing
We designed mid-fidelity prototypes to maximise the clarity of user flow while minimising time and effort. I was in charge of the analysis and profile page while helping to modify the onboarding and trigger-logging flow. After presenting our prototype to 8 participants (one conducted by me),  we uncovered several usability issues and iterated upon areas of confusion, and I converted the insights into the final high-fidelity prototype.
More than half of the participants mentioned that they were unclear about the function of the top-right button and the hide button. Half the participants also expressed confusion interpreting the forecast graph. In response, we decided to use intuitive iconography and language, remove the hide personal detail button, and improve the clarity of the graph using legend and colours.
Symptom logging
When seeing the body diagram, most users immediately questioned whether it was the front or back of the body. They also requested more flexibility and precision for marking flare-ups, such as around the joints and creases. Thus, we changed the marking mechanism to painting instead of selecting and replaced the 2D diagram with 3D visualisations.
A/B Testing for Trigger Logging
We tried to incorporate playfulness into the trigger-logging process by designing a card-swiping interaction. Not sure about the user acceptance, we conducted A/B testing with our users comparing the two methods. Users reported that multiple-choice logging is faster and more functional while gamified logging is more engaging. Although it was a tie between both methods, we eventually chose method A because one participant reported strong negative feelings toward method B claiming that ‘my condition is not a game’.
For our users to better understand the mechanism of the smart trigger recommendation, we designed an alert component to be displayed with the trigger log. However, almost all of our participants ignored this alert so we increase its visibility by prioritised placement and elevated colour.  Users also want to be able to manually add a food or event.
Analysis page
We found that participants didn’t feel drawn to the mood-tracking feature so we removed it in the new version. Users were generally more interested in the potential triggers than known triggers, so we moved the list up to a more prominent position.
Lesson Learned
Involve stakeholders more for easier alignment
Having a diverse team of designers, healthcare professionals and psychologists, one challenge was to align everyone on the user-centred design approach so all members could be on the same page during decision-making.
We hosted a co-design workshop with the whole team which we brainstormed and prioritised potential features and drew wireframes together. It was not only a space for all members to communicate effectively but also a fun bonding event for all of us.
It’s not about getting it right, it’s about getting close
I used to be afraid of testing my designs with others because I took feedback as criticism towards my design skills. However, it's nearly impossible to get Eczential perfect with limited resources and knowledge of the medical condition. I learned that my goal should be to get as close as possible to what the user wants.
Despite only testing with eight participants, I received a lot of valuable feedback and identified important issues. Incorporating that feedback into the final design gave me confidence because the design is now supported by evidence.
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