How might we help Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) patients to make better food choices while grocery shopping?



My teammate Yue and I have relatives with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). We see their frustration and empathize with the hard time they’re having. T2D is a dreadful disease affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide and is linked to and worsened by unhealthy lifestyles. We truly want to apply our knowledge to help them improve their health and achieve stable blood levels to make their lives easier.

Type 2 diabetes is a global crisis that threatens the health of all nations. It is a serious problem that the proportion of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in most countries.The World Health Organization reports that the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, and T2D comprises the majority of people with diabetes around the world.

Our goal is to help people who are suffering from T2D and empower them to live a healthy lifestyle.

visual -interface.jpg



Brimly is an augmented reality mobile app to help diabetics to make better food choices at grocery stores. It helps T2D patients can quickly identify diabetic-friendly food options in a real time environment and find key nutritional facts that they care about the most, and easily compare multiple products at the same time to meet their personal need. This utilizes Augmented Reality and computer vision technology to enhance T2D’ patients grocery shopping experience in a refreshing new way.

My Role

I worked this project from the concept development, research phase, design strategy to interactive prototype.During the process, I worn different hats as a UX Designer, Researcher and Prototyper.




Scope the design process


To work on the Minimum MVP, we narrowed our scope to Type 2 Diabetes patients. Based on 30 user interviews, I created two personas.


Quote from users

In general, I spend 30-45 mins doing shopping and spend 40% of tie reading labels
— From Desiree, 30 | T2D for 2-3 years
Reading nutrition facts on packages is inconvenient. When I find something new, I read labels and make sure there is no much sugar content. I don’t like reading nutrition facts. I don’t enjoy doing it.
— From Kevin, 61 years old | T2D for over 5 and less 10 years ago


Healthy eating is one of the most important methods to effectively manage and reduce the burden of diabetes. Diet directly influences T2D patients’ blood glucose, therefore increasing their healthy lifestyles and helping them make better food choices are significant to patients’ well being.

  • Diabetics need a useful way to help them quickly find diabetic-friendly foods in grocery stores.
  • Diabetics need an easy way to read the key nutrition facts on food packages.
  • Diabetics need an efficient way to assist them to select the right ones from multiple food choices.
  • Diabetics need more diverse food options.
  • Diabetics need to consider money and purchase affordable food.
 Identified pain points into groups

Identified pain points into groups

 Mapping out the current ways users interact with grocery stores

Mapping out the current ways users interact with grocery stores



Frustration: It is time-consuming to read food labels to figure out key nutrition facts and calculate nutrition facts per serving.

information overload.png

Information Overload: It's hard for diabetics to choose one from multiple food choices. Besides key nutrition facts the diabetic   care about, they also consider price, brand, flavor and more to meet personal needs.


Boredom: T2D patients are faced with an onslaught of restrictions and major lifestyle changes from the moment they are diagnosed.  They are tired of eating basic food and want something new.


Diabetic Recipe Recommendations and Wayfinding:  T2D patients can discover new food options through weekly diabetic recipes recommendation. Brimly simplifies the process of thinking about what to eat and where to buy the items. It syncs a collection of recipes for diabetics and shows a real-time map to direct their way at the grocery store.

Diabetic-Friendly Foods Recognition: In front of the produce section, T2D users hold the mobile app to scan. The app uses computer vision and objects recognition to show diabetic-friendly labels on healthy food items.

Food Comparison: T2D users can readily find out which food item works best for them based on the key information that they most care about after selecting multiple food items for comparison.

 Design Critique I

Design Critique I

 Design Critique II

Design Critique II

User flow

Imagining how users would interact with the Brimly app at grocery stores.

user flow.jpg



It's important to know user's behavior.

Four primary questions informed my design strategy:

  • How do they current shopping at grocery stores?
  • Which part of grocery shopping can be improved for T2D Patients?
  • How do they currently feel about the issue?
  • How can AR technology use in this project?


Very helpful. If I have this app, I don’t need to spend a lot of time to read labels.
— Tina, people who are overweight with T2D

For user testing, 30/30 diabetics say they want to use the Brimly app to get recommendations and help them save time on grocery shopping.

  • 21/30 people are willing to pay for $1.99 - $5 to download the app
  • 5/30  people are willing to pay for $10-$20 to download the app
  • 1/30 people are willing to pay for $30 to download the app
  • 3/30 people are not willing to pay for the app
 User Testing I

User Testing I

 User Testing II

User Testing II