Kacper Pietrzykowski is an experience designer who developed IDA, a blood/glucose metre that helps lower the psychological trauma inflicted on some patients when measuring their blood/glucose levels.
Speaking at the Design Indaba Conference 2019 he explains how his sister Ida was the inspiration behind this metre. His sister has Type 1 Diabetes, and the regular record keeping and blood/glucose levels tracking made it appear as if she had a second job.
“There is no vacation for this kind of job. Imagine that you have this second shift because your pancreas decided to quit for no good reason. You are now the head of blood/glucose balancing department of your body,” says Pietrzykowski.
Watching this incredibly intricate and tiresome procedure got Pietrzykowski thinking about ways to make it a little easier.
From there on out he made it his mission to make testing blood/glucose levels less invasive. He listened to how people dealt with the illness and coped with their measuring equipment by following online communities to track their stories.
He found that the main issues people suffered with was the physical pain caused by the needle prick of the blood/glucose meter and the psychological trauma caused by the blood/glucose level reading.
This is where IDA comes in. According to Pietrzykowski you can decide if you want to see the actual measuring or for it to be placed within a range, “This creates a smaller emotional investment for every test. It puts you back in control”.
He adds, “This UX intervention does not try to be protective. Treating phobias is about making people tougher. You make people tougher by exposing them to what they fear voluntarily”.
IDA also eliminates the use of blood measuring sheets. It has a feature that allows you to measure your blood/glucose levels up to fifty times and is able to measure haemoglobin.
When it comes to pain reduction, IDA has a non-invasive method of testing your blood/glucose levels without drawing blood. “Before you prick your finger you can actually test if you really need to,” says Pietrzykowski.
For his closing statements he recalls a conversation he had with his sister Ida. She asked, “ ‘If you could use your design superpowers for good what would be the most meaningful good for you?’ I want to believe that the answer is somewhere along the lines of ‘I want to decrease the unnecessary suffering’.”
Adding, “When designing for these kinds of diseases. You’re not designing to please or impress, you design because people are on fire and you might just have the water”.