PatientsLikeMe Autoimmune Disease Mobile App

Imagining a way to manage Lupus and Fibromyalgia flares

PatientsLikeMe approached Rocket Insights with the task of prototyping an app flow for managing autoimmune diseases like Lupus or Fibromyalgia. I worked collaboratively on this project with two other amazing designers at Rocket. With only a few weeks, we worked quickly to craft a story around an existing persona and mock up a cohesive flow. We designed an InVision prototype showcasing this journey.


  • - UX Design
  • - Rapid prototyping

Choosing user needs over feature requests

The team at PLM asked us to fulfill three requested features:

- Symptom tracker
- Symptom trends
- Doctor’s visit prep sheet

We took it a step further and met with the research team at PLM to ensure we were meeting core user needs. Armed with this information in hand, we plotted our prototype narrative around the journey of Lisa, a persona with Lupus.

Below is an early story sketch where we try to figure out the narrative. Eventually, we landed on three major touchpoints. Day 1 when she discovers the app and begins to track, Day 14 to demonstrate tracked patterns and trends, and Day 30 to demonstrate app intervention when the user may have been offline for a bit having a flare. We found this storytelling approach to be ideal for presenting a proof of concept.

sketch sketch

Iterate, iterate, iterate

Though we only had a few weeks to get all of this done, we accomplished a remarkable number of iterations with significant improvements each time. Our only regret is not having access to the user base within our engagement. There were so many open questions we would have loved to learn the answer to from actual Lupus people. Below, check out some early wireframes we created when visualizing the trends report feature.

Above is a wireframe iteration that involved overlaying any tracked factors over one another on the same chart. We didn’t have to run user tests to quickly realize how hard it would be to make sense of the data in that format.

Be thoughtful

Chronic illness can so drastically affect someone's life, making it impossible to get out of bed or even look at a phone on some days. Keeping this in mind, one of our main goals was being thoughtful about what might be going on with the person offline. This led us to provide value up front—let the user try tracking before making an account, and introduce them the potential value.

Setting reminders is a given for any habit-forming app. On top of that, we were also proactive about the fact that flare days could cause users to be offline for days or even weeks. We called this ‘flare intervention’ and thought it may be the fastest way to track a flare.

On the left is what it looks like when you’ve just downloaded the app to begin tracking without creating an account. On the right is what it looks like once you’ve been tracking for awhile and have data to populate the trends.
A tracking app is only valuable if you actually use it. Here we utilize tracking reminders and an interventional message if the user logs on for the first time in a few days. It’s likely that someone in the midst of a bad flare won’t log on to track.
doctor's visit report sheet
Finally, we created a flow to allow patients to neatly package their tracking data to bring to their doctor's appointments. Included with their tracked symptoms and trends is other information they've put into the app, like linked medical tests and questions to ask the doctor. The idea was to make doctor's visits as efficient and productive as possible for the patient.

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