User-Centered Design Enabling Behavior Change

I am very proud to share that Glooko won the healthcare design award at Stanford Medicine X this year for our excellence in user-centered design for mobile and digital health. Although we co-design our products with physicians, certified diabetes educators, and caregivers, our mobile application is designed and developed to meet the needs of people with diabetes. Our philosophy of user-centered design is rooted in our understanding that chronic condition such as diabetes is not controlled, but rather managed with the help of a supportive and collaborative healthcare team.

A person with diabetes is not just a collection of  blood glucose readings but an amalgamation of his/her socio-economic, cultural, social, and emotional environments and collaborates with a healthcare care team to incorporate various facets of his/her life to make and follow treatment and lifestyle decisions.

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At the award ceremony, Eames Demetrios, director of the Eames Office, said that “The role of the designer is basically that of a good host, anticipating the needs of the guest.” Glooko’s user experience and design team work tirelessly to understand the needs of people with diabetes and their healthcare team. Abbe Don, a designer, panelist, and judge said that she doesn’t like to use the word “patient” to refer to people with a chronic disease. I think the word “patient” captures the true essence of the experience as a person with a chronic condition is very patient with the diagnosis, treatment, care and management of the condition. Our team has empathy for the patient and their healthcare team. We do our utmost to let the user’s needs and wants guide our design process and product development.


The day after the award ceremony, I participated in a behavior change workshop led by Dr. Kyra Bobinet, a physician, and CEO of behavior design firm, engagedIN, and Britt Johnson, an e-patient designer, and blogger. I attended this workshop because I understand that changing behavior is not a destination, but a journey.  To help our users change behaviors and form new ones we help them:

– measure and track their specific behaviors such as dietary intake and physical activity  

– easily document their behaviors using the quick add feature

– provide triggers in the form of reminders and visual feedback such as graphs and logbook.

At the workshop, Dr. Bobinet and Britt shared with us that long–term engagement and motivation are elevated when there is high intimacy; this provided affirmation for our practice, as we help patients and their healthcare team collaborate by allowing the flow of information between the key stakeholders involved in diabetes management.

We are dedicated to empowering people with diabetes manage the condition rather than let it manage them. We provide a portal to help capture and share the day–to–day trials and tribulations of diabetes management. A key takeaway from the workshop was the importance of developing a contingency plan. Our new feature, Glooko Personal Advisor, helps people with diabetes and their healthcare team identify recurring glycemic patterns. Once a person with diabetes identifies his/her patterns they can develop an “if this–then that” plan so that they are prepared to deal with a multitude of cues and manage their glycemic excursions. 


Tanu Bose

Tanu is the Director of Clinical Development and Marketing at Glooko. She has dedicated her professional life to studying and working to help people with metabolic diseases. Her PhD was in Population Genetics and she also sports an MBA!