Diabetes Apps Increase User Engagement But Should Be Doing Opposite
People with diabetes increasingly turn to smartphone apps to help them manage their condition, and people like my son, a young adult who has lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for fifteen years, now have more than 100 to choose from on iOS or Android devices.
Researchers from the University of Florida recently took a look at these apps, and found it difficult to tell whether or not they were actually useful, though they gave many of these apps high marks for aesthetics and engagement.
Speaking from the perspective of someone who has spent these last 15 years living with diabetes in our home and working with thousands of people living with this challenging chronic disease, the vast majority of these diabetes apps do not work for most people with diabetes and are ultimately not useful, and here’s why: managing a chronic disease is exhausting, and tools to support people should be about giving people their time back, not asking them to devote more of it by “engaging” with your product.
There are better ways to use technology to manage chronic conditions.
Living with Diabetes
People living with diabetes—including my son and many colleagues of mine — spend an inordinate amount of time every day taking blood sugar readings, entering numbers on an insulin pump, recording their meals, reordering supplies and prescriptions, exercising, and keeping a daily log of their activities, illness, stress, and moods, and carbohydrate intake.
Going to bed at night does not offer relief from the routine. People with diabetes and, for children living with the disease, their parents, lose Continue reading