Designing for lived experience : a suite of tools for people with Type 1 diabetes
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Diabetes is a chronic, patient-managed illness. Type 1 diabetics must maintain near-constant awareness of their blood sugar levels and perform frequent medical interventions in order to remain alive and healthy. Research has shown that symptoms of poor treatment adherence manifest both physically and emotionally. While a great deal has been written about, and many products designed for, treatment of physiological symptoms and outcomes, far less has been written about, and even fewer products designed to address, the emotional experience of the type 1 diabetic. Yet the emotional effects of chronic illness have been well documented, including the effects of blood glucose variation on mood (Penckofer, 2012) and increased comorbid depression among diabetics (Anderson, 2001). For my thesis project, I have created a connected system of physical and digital tools called the t1D Suite that addresses the unique emotional needs of people with diabetes, thereby bridging the gap between life-giving treatment and life-enriching experience.