Understanding Diabetes: First 30 days with Liam, our new Product Designer.

May 8, 2020

Before joining Quin, I worked at another health-tech start up with a similar mission – to empower people with long term conditions, like diabetes, to better manage their everyday lives. I had designed for a number of different complex health conditions but never diabetes. 


My diabetes experience prior to joining Quin was limited to a simplistic understanding from having a close friend living with T1D. Admittedly, in hindsight, I was naive and my understanding of diabetes was highly oversimplified. It followed the logic that specific foods increased a person’s blood glucose level, which required a proportionate amount of insulin to be injected to lower it, balancing these factors. If these weren’t balanced properly, there was the potential for the person to hypo or hyper. Simple, right?


Far from it. Since joining Quin, my empathy for what it is like to live with diabetes is forever increasing. I’m very quickly learning that living with diabetes has the potential to make everything in life harder if the equilibrium between a number of factors isn’t found. Factors like the hormones in our body or the weather, things we have no control over, can impact our blood sugar levels. For the majority of people the impact of these is minimal but for people living with diabetes the effect of these on blood sugar can, over time, have long-lasting consequences. These factors, as well as many more, appear obvious now but it is easy to lack understanding for what, in everyday life, is an invisible health condition.


Each person with diabetes’ experience is unique, with each having their own variation of ways to try to keep their sugars within range. However, continual reevaluation and guesstimation can bring a heavy mental burden, and in addition to balancing glucose, this can lead to a negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Balancing the factors that a person with diabetes can control can be overwhelming but technology is there to help.


Unfortunately, most current apps and devices are focussed on the healthcare, recording and reporting, perspective of treating diabetes and fail to alleviate the burden of planning everyday life. This is why I’m glad to be designing at Quin, helping to develop a future-focussed App for people with diabetes.


Our goal is to help alleviate some of the everyday mental burden of forward planning by helping our users visualise how the factors they have control over are impacting their blood glucose, as well helping them make better informed decisions based on their collective past experiences. 


Having only been at Quin a short while, I’m conscious there is much more for me to learn from our users and people living with diabetes. I’m extremely grateful for those who’ve shared their story and experiences with me so far. If you live with diabetes and would be open to speaking with me to help co-design our app, send me an email (liam.mitchell@quintech.io), it would be great to hear from you. 


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