Based on our research findings from the Health Bridge Project, we developed a fully-functioning Android application called Snack Buddy. The application was designed to engage families from low socioeconomic status communities in eating healthier snacks.
The Snack Buddy application was built using a user-centered design process that involved initial ethnographic work to understand the health practices of our target population. We used multimedia elicitation interviews (MEIs) to capture participant’s experiences with different health behaviors. Participants captured videos and pictures, like the two below, that related to their health behaviors. After doing this for a week, we sat down with them to discuss the multimedia that they captured and used those objects as prompts for broader discussions of health and wellness.
Following the initial needs assessment, we conducted a participatory design session where we engaged individual participants in the design of health information visualizations that they would find effective. Participants actually developed their own low-fidelity prototypes and discussed their rationale behind different decisions.
We also presented participants with low-fidelity prototypes that we had designed to get their feedback. The following image represents one of the early prototypes we presented to our participants.
High fidelity prototypes
We took the feedback from our participants on the different low-fidelity and co-created prototypes and implemented a four different high fidelity prototypes. Two of the prototypes were game-based and two were not. These prototypes were implemented as HTML image maps were specific areas of each interface, where there were interactive ui components, were mapped to load the appropriate web page that would be next in the interaction. We tested each of the four prototypes with 26 participants from our target population to get there feedback on specific design decisions.
Snack educator prototype
Based on the feedback from the target population, we identified the need for two distinct interfaces for children and parents. We used the Lifespan prototype as the basis for the gaming interface targeted at children in the family and the Snack Manager prototype as the basis for the informational interface. We then built a single Android application, Snack Buddy, that could adopt a different interface depending on the preferences of the user.