Designing For Lifestyle change
Balancing various health aspects with everyday life
A holistic app that schedules specific tasks for improving overall health by aggregating various available data sources.
There is enough awareness about how our food intake affects our physical health. But the awareness is not so much as to how our mental health gets affected by the food we eat. I tried to look at this aspect of food consumption in people and its effects.
I used a systems thinking approach to this and tried to map it out to find the core problems.
Research & Analysis
A thorough analysis of the intensive research done, lead to the following insights:
- Mass food production techniques are deteriorating its quality and are indirectly responsible for nutrient imbalances leading to mental disorders
- We are a generation that is most disconnected with its food
- Lack in cooking skills gives rise to unhealthy eating choices
- There has been a 34% decline in consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and a 59% decline in fish consumption in the last 30 years
- On the other hand, meat consumption has tripled, from 71 to 245 metric tonnes
- Variety of food consumption has reduced
- Micronutrients obtained mainly from fresh fruits and veggies are responsible for synthesis of important brain chemicals.
- Often micronutrient deficiency symptoms are psychological
- According to WHO, in 20 years, Depression will be a Global Disease Burden.
- Convenience dictates food choice
- 1/4 people globally are mentally ill at some point in their life
- People consuming a wholesome breakfast more resistant to mental illnesses
Insights from interviewing Psychologists & Nutritionists
- People have stopped listening to their bodies
- Stress tolerance levels have reduced dramatically
- Own Handful is the perfect quantity for measurement of most food.
- Breakfast full of carbs necessary for a fully productive and happy day.
- Natural rhythm of the body is lost with any illness.
- The balance of sleep, nutrition, physical activity and mind is necessary for good overall health. Relationships also play a very important role in determining your health.
Initial Design Brief
Designing healthy food choices for prolonged mental wellbeing
- Right Access at the right time
- Quantity to be eaten
- Encouragement of healthy eating habits like meal planning, eating at proper times, consumption of right amount of nutrients
- Establishing some level of connection with the food consumed
- Following patterns of nature and your biology by eating food according to:
- Local bestsellers
- Family convention
However, just good nutrition cannot guarantee good health. An overall health improvement approach needs to be taken.
However, maintaining a balanced & healthy lifestyle has the following challenges:
- Plethora of information available through various sources especially internet is bound to be confusing
- Health is a very personal space which requires even more specially personalized care
- Lot of planning involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and balancing it with your day to day activities
- Current health measurement techniques often overwhelming and unnecessary
Existing solutions are inefficient due to excessive data entry points and an information overload. Also, they lack the touch of contextuality and personalisation.
Final Design Brief
Designing a visual and contextual experience for healthier lifestyle changes
- Reducing the cognitive overload involved in indulging into any health related activity.
- Reducing the time consumption involved in indulging into any health related activity.
- Education of all health related factors in a non intrusive but engaging and motivating experience
- Reducing data entry points involved with current solutions. Also, simplified first level information by reducing information overload.
- A visual approach to ease understanding and also to make it easier for the user to achieve goals
- Natural interactions & contextual information at every level
The finalized concept is a mobile or watch app synced with your fitness band. An AI powered assistant called ‘Cuckoo’ (Cuckoo’s clock) is available simply by tapping smart replies. Cuckoo gives a personalized schedule to follow for all the health related activities right from setting up time for you to buy ingredients to help you eat the right food, to reminding you to unwind and just relax or catch up with friends. It shows a visualization which replicates your health measures and asks you to act accordingly. Basically making sure your inner world and outer world are in perfect harmony. And ofcourse helping you achieve it if otherwise.
Most health issues occur due to improper lifestyles. Our bodies and mind are not in sync with our environment, hence causing imbalance. People want to be healthy, but there is resistance for taking the efforts for being so. The resistance can also be easily understood considering the amount of effort that goes into trying to be healthy, given our lifestyles and food choices. And these efforts are not just physical but mental too. Extreme amount of planning can be required at initial stages to ease out into the process.
One of the most important insight obtained from research was psychologists saying, “People have stopped listening to their bodies”.
Cuckoo is an attempt to be a visual representation of our body’s natural clock. It is designed to be the user’s personal health assistant. It gathers most data by smartly connecting with the user’s apps and designs a personalized schedule for the user to optimise his/her time for work, health & close ones.
The app has been designed for both iOS and watch platform. I have represented the iOS screens here for better visibility and understanding.
Radha was recently a victim of mild-moderate depression and recovered back to normalcy with help from professionals and her family. She is slowly realising the importance of the right nutrition and also the right activities to keep such episodes away. However, she is in a fragile phase where managing all her daily chores and health could be stressful. Cuckoo steps in here to ease out some of the tasks.
Cuckoo, an AI powered chatbot asks specific questions to the user by engaging him/her in a casual conversation. This helps the app craft a better and more personalised experience for the user.
The dashboard gives an overview of the schedule for the day and the measure of your health metrics. You can interact with it to view details. The external ring is an interpretation of the analog clock while the inner dial is your health. Its when the dial is perfectly circular, that your body is in sync with its natural harmony
Cuckoo prepares a weekly plan for the user syncing his calendar events and finding time for health related activities. The intensity of the activities is decided on the basis of the intensities of other calendar activities.
The app automatically shifts to a night-mode according to time of the day, to prevent straining your eyes.
The bioclock gives a measure of the different health metrics and their levels. It also tells you specifically on which aspect of health you need to focus.
Also, you don’t necessarily need a weighing scale or calculate your BMI to understand if your healthy or not. Science proves that other factors, like feeling fresh every morning, being more energetic and happy are good metrics of measuring heath too. ‘Natural Health Metrics’ visualizes all the data that it gathers into a line graph. These metrics include your sleep, your social activity, use of emojis(they can convey a lot about a person’s mental health), skin spots(data from selfies)
The app runs in the background and does not alert the user for every small thing. However, if it senses certain changes with respect to the schedule, it alerts the user accordingly.