How may we support transition of children (4–10 years) from parental management to self-management in their asthma care.
Fresh Air—a mentorship program service that connects children with asthma (ages 8-14) with college students who have experience dealing with asthma.
Service Design for Philips
Manya Krishnaswamy, Mika Nomura, Alex Wang
Sketch, Premiere Pro, InVision
Research, Wire-framing, UI/UX Development, Branding
- Activity recommendations based on weather data, interests & frequency of physical activity
- Chat feature between mentor & parent (child optional) to discuss & schedule time for meeting
- Ability for mentors and parent to suggest & select activities through chat
- At the end of a hangout, the app prompts the mentor to take a photo & upload to their journal to capture the moment, which the parent & child can add to
UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
Philips, our client, came to school and kicked off our project. We learned that children with asthma have insecurities around their physical abilities, ability to participate and social stigma.
About 10% of children in the US suffers from asthma, and the amount of kids with asthma is expected to grow until 2025 at least. Besides health issues and discomfort, asthma also causes a $56 billion in healthcare and productivity costs. For kids, the main challenges are to remember to take the medicine, to take it in the right way, and to understand the amount and types of activity they can engage in, without causing an asthma attack. For parents and doctors, it is important to understand how to best support the child in managing their asthma. It is therefore important that children, parents and medical professionals do not only get the right information, they also need to receive it in the right context, timing, and presentation, and maybe even other aspects play a role in this.
How can we support transition of children (4–10 years) from parental management to self-management in their asthma care.
After some broad preliminary secondary research about asthma, management, and existing products/services, we identified the key stakeholders and brainstormed pain points for each. Using affinity clustering, we grouped these pain points to identify overarching themes. There were many areas of challenge but we decided to focus on three of them:
Physical activity can improve asthma.
We pivoted from personalized physical training to a mentorship program.
Young children look up to older children.
Mentorship and support are powerful tools for confidence.
Tendency to be over cautious.
Opportunity for parents and children to both be educated about asthma.
physical activity can improve asthma, but kids don't get enough of it
Early in our research, we found that children with asthma will often avoid physical activity since it is often a trigger for asthma attacks. They often lack the confidence to participate in physical activities because they fear getting an attack or not being able to keep up with their peers. However, children with asthma actually need this physical exercise to strenghten their lungs and body, which helps ease asthma symptoms. This formed our original concept of a personalized fitness program for families with children who have asthma.
pivot away from physical training
However, after talking to a number of gym teachers and parents, we learned that kids with asthma exercises just as hard as kids without asthma during gym class, but not as much outside of school.
Through competitive analysis, we also found that few services address the emotional challenges of children with asthma and instead focus more on the practical and medical aspects. Therefore, we decided to pivot away from physical training since focusing on personal relationships could have a larger impact on the child's life.
mentorship & support are powerful tools for confidence
Speaking to a person who is a mentor, was a mentee, and had childhood asthma, we learned that mentorship can have a huge impact on the life of a child, especially one who is vulnerable. His mentor helped him overcome his anxiety and find a hobby that he is proud of. It built his confidence and he became a mentor to give back to others.
tendency to be overly cautious
Children with asthma, parents, and teachers all have a tendency to err on the side of caution. Examples include a child choosing to opt out of an activity or a gym teacher asking a child to sit out due to the fear of triggering an attack. Through this, we realized the necessity for children and their caregivers to understand their bodies and its limits.
young children look up to older children
In speaking with teachers, we learned that younger children really look up to older children.
opportunity to educate both children AND parents
From a conversation with a parent, we saw that there was an unexpected opportunity for mentors to educate not only children but also the parents.
Iterating our stakeholder/value flow diagram helped us shift our stakeholder focus from teachers and gym teachers to the relationship between child, mentor, and parent.
build trust from the beginning
We thought hard on how to build trust between the child, parent, and mentor. As the mediator of these relationships, especially at the early stages, we saw an opportunity to lay the foundation soon after the mentor-child matching is completed. After being matched, the mentor and parent will get access to each others' profile with their bio and other relevant information.
Based on all the feedback and stakeholder interviews, we realized the thing we're really interested in is building the relationship between mentors and mentees. Sure, asthma care and physical fitness is a part of it, but there's an opportunity for supporting the child in a more holistic way. We want to give children with asthma the confidence and emotional support that they need - help them stay physically and mentally healthy through activity-based experiences so that they can develop better habits for exercise and asthma management.
Above is the simplified journey map of our service. Below is the full FreshAir Service Blueprint:
From the concept of mentor derived from our design principles, we created some low fidelity wireframes.
At first, we wanted to focus solely on nudging the child towards outdoor/physical activities and therefore designed a progress bar for it (first screen).
We ran our concept past some users to see if they would see value in our service. They reacted very positively to our service.
HIGH FIDELITY DESIGN
FreshAir is a mentorship program that connects children with asthma (ages 8-14) with college students who have experience dealing with asthma
Mentors include pre-med students with an interest in respiratory care.
VISUAL DESIGN SYSTEM
We wanted the tone to be friendly and approachable so we decided to pick colors and typography that created that feeling. The cloud symbol represents the outdoors, which we want to encourage more of.
WHAT I LEARNED
& NEXT STEPS
Initially, we focused on designing a system for children, but we realized that through doing this, we were building a system that brought value to parents, as well. This reminded me that design is never idependent, it walways afftects other stakeholders. As designers, we should always be aware of the impications of our design.