Tracks

UX, Visual Design, Illustration

Challenge

Design Problem: Make the boring and painful process of recording migraines easier and more enjoyable. 

For people who suffer from chronic migraines, doctors often recommend keeping a headache diary. But carefully recording every potential migraine trigger is painstaking, especially when you have a headache. Our goal was to make the experience of tracking migraines easier and more enjoyable. A colleague and I worked on this app as a side project. We were inspired by a friend's brother who experiences frequent migraines.

Process

I conducted 7 short user interviews (around 25 minutes each) and worked with my teammate to research available migraine tracker software as well as medical information about migraines.

We found that most competitor apps were visually boring and frustrating to use due to long forms and heavy text input. One app forced users to complete six pages of required questions before allowing them to save a record of their headache!

These usability issues were especially troubling given that our interviewees reported more irritability when experiencing headaches. One participant said, “When I have a migraine, I  am annoyed by little things that normally don’t bother me.” Here is a telling one-star review from a competitor app:

Our goal was to make our tracker fun and easy, so we turned to games for inspiration. After looking at game apps and brainstorming a bunch of different playful interactions, we came up with the idea of a bear to represent the user. The user could apply her symptoms and triggers to the bear, resulting in playful animations. Here are some initial sketches, along with a set of wireframes I designed to finalize the design patterns. 

Outcome

The app was not developed. To measure its overall success, we would hope to see a majority of users consistently recording migraines for longer than two weeks (since we heard in user interviews that people often stop recording migraines after a week or so of trying a new app). Here are some of our designs (and the reasoning behind them):

All Fields Optional 
We designed the app with all fields optional so the user could record a migraine without having to fill out every section. The home screen is a calendar where tapping a date creates an entry. There are several sections to record different categories of triggers and relief methods. Sections are organized in order of importance, but there is no required sequence, so the user can go in and out as needed.

More Fun
We wanted the app to be fun and game-like, so we illustrated bears, food, and scenery and created playful animations for interactions. Each category is a separate scene with its own animations. See the prototype at the bottom for an idea of the app animations. 

Trend Reporting
Since it’s hard to identify trends with so many possible triggers, we automated the work. The app lists out recorded triggers by frequency and keeps stats on average headache severity and duration. 

Prototype
I made a quick prototype in Principle to document the app's animations.