Growing a Digital Health Community with UX Design
Glu is a unique online community for those living with type 1 diabetes, or caring for someone with type 1 diabetes.
The web application, myglu.org, is an extension of T1D Exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving outcomes for those with type 1 diabetes. Glu’s online community provides a place for discussion and connection, but more importantly, the conversations on the site lend a “real world voice” to T1D research.
T1D’s patient-driven approach to research via Glu helps collect relevant data while providing a faster way for the research community to connect with patients. As a result, data is used to improve outcomes more readily.
Glu had a solid grasp of its audience and good back-end functionality to support its online community, but needed to finesse the UI/UX to meet a number of goals:
- Reinforce the connection between Glu and its parent organization, T1D Exchange
- Increase conversions of site visitors to site users
- Increase user participation in research surveys posted to the community
- Enhance the overall visual design
- Improve UX for increased engagement
The social community was loosely based on the Facebook model, however the Glu design lacked personality and workflow when answering “The Question of the Day” or interacting with the Activity Stream. Glu knew its users well, but sought direction on how to translate that knowledge into an effective interface that would increase engagement, meet research goals, and improve awareness of Glu as a nonprofit, therefore supporting fundraising goals.
Oomph’s task was increasing both membership and engagement. With over 15,000 people already on the platform, the team took a data-driven approach to redesigning certain aspects of the experience. First, we made a series of hypotheses about changes we might make and the anticipated results. Then, we leveraged a favorite A/B testing tool, Optimizely, to create the tests and monitor results. In just three weeks, many of our hypotheses were proving true. As with many user experience optimizations, we found that the smallest changes led to the greatest impact. In this case, changing the terminology of a call to action was our #1 improvement. While more substantial updates were made as part of the engagement, it was a simple text change from “register” to “join” that had the most positive impact on new member signups.
The goal for the social community was to improve user flow and connect the Glu brand with its parent company, T1D Exchange. The Oomph design team developed a new logo for Glu based on the T1D logo, providing an immediate visual connection. The Glu social network received a color makeover that was more distinctive to the brand, as well.
Data-driven design helped the Oomph team create a more attractive, content-rich, and engaging social community for Glu. Frequent and prominent calls-to-action, mixed media content, and a more user-friendly site are encouraging membership, and therefore providing better research data. The Glu site is now visually connected to its parent company, T1D Exchange.
The process of optimizing a user experience can be fraught with opinions and ideas and likes and dislikes. Optimizely lets us cut through the clutter, quickly test a hypothesis, and gather real-world data. If it works, we implement, if not we try something else.
Director of UX and Design