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

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Brimly is an Augmented Reality (AR) mobile app to help diabetics make better food choices at grocery stores. It helps T2D patients quickly identify diabetic-friendly food options in a real-time environment and find key nutritional facts that they care about the most. They can easily compare multiple products to meet their personal needs. Brimly utilizes AR and Computer Vision technology to enhance T2D patients' grocery shopping experience in a refreshing new way.

Yue Yuan from MFA Interaction Design SVA


I worked Brimly project from the concept development, research phase, design strategy to interactive prototype.During the process, I wore different hats as UX designer, researcher and prototyper.

My Role:


Brimly - helps Type 2 Diabetes patients make better food choices while grocery shopping.


Empower T2D Patients for a Healthy Lifestyle

My teammate and I have relatives with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). We see their frustration and empathize with the hard time they are 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.

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T2D is a global crisis that threatens the health of all nation. 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. It is a serious problem in many countries.

Our goal is to help people suffering from T2D and empower them to live healthy lifestyles.

Design Process


Four primary questions informed my design strategy:

  • How do they currently shop at grocery stores?
  • What challenge do they face?
  • Which part of grocery shopping can be improved for T2D Patients?
  • How can AR technology be used in this project?


To work on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), we narrowed our scope to T2D Patients. Based on 30 user interviews, I created two personas.



    Deeper Insights

    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, it is important to help patients make better food choices, and increase their healthy lifestyles. Diabetics need ...

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

    Group of pain points

    User interaction with grocery stores

    User interaction with grocery stores

    Reframing The Problems

    We interviewed people diagnosed with T2D whose age are from 30 to 69 years old, use a smart mobile phone more than ten times a day, and do regular grocery shopping. We found three key dissatisfactions and inconveniences related to food selection based on user research.

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

    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.


    T2D patients can use Brimly app to scan the product they want and quickly find out the key nutritions that they care the most about seamlessly utilizing AR technology and computer vision. 


    User flow

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

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    Key Features

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

    Diabetic Recipe Recommendations 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.

    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.


    Visual Design

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    User Testing

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