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San Francisco, August 2020
Individual Case Study


San Francisco, August 2020
Individual Case Study

Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day, more than 3 times the recommended amount for women. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of sugars people should eat in a day is 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

Children and teenagers are particularly at risk.

Children and adolescents in America consume an average of 81 grams of sugar per day and obtain about 16% of their total caloric intake from added sugars alone, while the US dietary guidelines advise people to limit their intake to less than 10% of their daily calorie intake.

How to raise awareness and make a difference?

Most adults are aware of the harmful effect of sugar and it is usually related to Diabetes. However, the problem of consuming too much sugar is often overlooked for children and teenagers. SugarLess is a mobile application that aims to help young people and families monitor and regulate their daily sugar intake in order to maintain a healthy diet.

The Secretary

A friendly and happy blood cell character is introduced to represent user's sugar intake level in an intuitive visual presentation.

Family Reports

Daily and weekly sugar intake reports are available for up to 4 family members so that parents can help children maintain a healthy diet.

Record + Reward

Record sugar intake with a broad list of food and drink choices. Earn trophies by recording daily intake and using the app, share the trophies with your friends.

User Research - Personas

Two personas were created after research and user interviews. They represent two types of the target users:
◆   Young people who are mindful about their body and health, and are willing to improve their diet by regulating their sugar intake.
◆   Middle age parents who are conscious about the health of their children and their own, which are greatly impacted by their daily sugar intake.

Ideation Process

During the Ideation process, information was synthesized and new ideas were generated. The following ideas are highlighted to move on to the next phase:
◆   Allow users to add multiple individual profiles under their account for their family members.
◆   Generate periodic reports to show users how their performance vary over time.
◆   Create a database with the approximately amount of sugar in different food and drinks. Users can search for the food they have and record how much they eat. Users should be able to add and customize their own choice of food as well.
◆   Add a fun character to attract the young age group users.
◆   Reward users with virtual trophies as they keep using the application. Allow users to share their trophies on social media.

A character was designed to visualize the user's sugar intake level and to make the experience fun and educational. The inspiration comes from the red blood cells in our body which would carry glucose balls, and the amount of glucose ball indicates how much sugar our body has obtained.

Therefore, the red blood cell character is designed to be the user's secretary. It "carries" the glucose balls for the users. If the user has eaten too much sugar, the character will appear to be unhappy with many glucose balls hang around it. Users can customize the character's name, background color, and the glucose ball's color. If the user have multiple profiles added to the account, each profile will be assigned with a different character that can be customized individually.

This character not only visualizes the status of the users, but also makes the experience more fun. This fun element is going to be educational to the users, especially the users' children. When children see the cute character becoming unhappy because of the glucose balls, they will learn to be mindful about how much sugar they eat.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT(Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis research has been conducted to achieve a throughout understanding of the product. The results are taken into considerations when producing the high-fidelity prototype.


Low-fidelity prototyping & high fidelity prototyping

Usability Testing

Usability testing was conducted to test out the application design. 5 users were invited to test out the prototype and here are their valuable insights on what should be improved for the next iteration:

◆   The multiple-profile function: As one of the main features, it is unclear to the users that they can add multiple profiles under their account. It is not mentioned during the intro, and the "Add" profile button is not obvious.
◆   Pie charts: It is confusing to read the pie charts showing how much sugar the user has consumed. The colors used in the pie chart causes misunderstanding easily.
◆   Trophies: Distinguish the trophies that the users have and have not achieved, using colors versus B&W.

The Takeaways

1. Be clear about what you are researching and why.

When it comes to researching a particular topic, we usually start with a few reasons why we pick the topic, and as soon as we dive deeper into the research, we discover more reasons and options. To stay motivated and efficient, the earlier we clarify our main reasons and goals the better.

2. Talk to your users to explore the opportunities.

Qualitative research can provide valuable insights that may not be achieved through quantitative research. When talking to your users, you gain a more direct understanding of the problems and build empathy on the users.

3. Extend your workspace beyond the screen.

Working with various mediums really helps to keep the project refreshing. Experimenting with different materials allows you to open up your mind and come up with innovative solutions.