MiBox: A Service for Migraine Sufferers

MiBox is a subscription service that allows migraine sufferers to try various methods of migraine treatment in the comfort of their own homes. I collaborated with classmates Lauren Zemering, Shruti Chowdhury, and Julia Petrich to research, prototype, and develop this service. 

Working Process

Given the topic of "things that are broken," our team was interested in the healthcare industry and the topic of communication, specifically the communication between the healthcare provider and recipient. We mapped out various areas within healthcare and became intrigued by the subject of chronic pain. There are many variables that can influence a patient's perception of pain, and decided to pick a type of chronic pain that we had access to and that we were interested in designing for - migraines.

Why Migraines?

Migraines were interesting to us because they are known as an "invisible illness" - a migraineur might look fine on the outside, but they might be feeling intense pain underneath. Because of this, people who haven't suffered a migraine don't understand the difficulties associated with having one. This creates even more of an uncomfortable situation for a migraineur, who must deal with the social and professional implications of having recurrent migraines. 

Survey

To help get a better picture of migraines and their effect, we sent out a survey with questions that asked about people's symptoms, how they dealt with their migraines, and how it affected various parts of their lives. We received 84 responses and analyzed the results. 

We saw that the greatest areas of interference were family, health, work, and social. Many participants mentioned having to forgo social events for fear of triggering a migraine, and they felt like a burden to their families. Medical expenses were high, and others were unable to work due to the severity of their condition. 

Employment

The employment aspect became the most intriguing for us. We reasoned that if we could help migraine sufferers stay employed and be productive at work, it would have a trickle down effect - they would feel more confident in their ability to provide for their family, and they would be able to afford treatments. 

As we began to imagine a service that could help negotiate the relationship between employees and employers, we realized that we were delving too deep into one area and decided to take a step back. We began to ideate on services that touched on each area - family, health, work, and social - instead of just one. 

Scenarios and Storyboarding

We drew up various scenarios by looking at each of our broad areas of focus that we received from our survey responses. These scenarios were used as provocations to test out their usefulness and desirability with migraine sufferers. We treated them as potential elements of our service.

We concluded that people liked products that helped them avoid triggers and relieve symptoms, and they liked the idea of trying out different products. They thought it might be helpful to connect with other migraine sufferers to share their experiences and learn about others, and they liked access to expert opinions. 

A Migraine Safe Space

Our concept became a migraine safe zone, where migraine sufferers could go to relax, meet up with friends, or get some work done in a place that could be trigger-free. We created a make-tool and invited a migraine sufferer to help us get a better sense of what would go in such a place. She used notecards to denote important features and paper cut outs to build the divisions within the space. 

This evolved into the basic elements of the space:

  1. Cafe - for migraine sufferers and their friends to interact socially, in a trigger free environment. food and drinks would also be trigger-free and incorporate migraine remedies
  2. Quiet Meditation Room
  3. Meeting Space - an area that could host speakers and group discussions
  4. Equipment Lending Desk - for users to check out and try various remedies

A Shift in Concept

As we struggled to define the space further, we started to run into a few questions. Why was this space migraine exclusive? How would we make the space trigger-free? Why would people make the effort to come here instead of just going home? Would non-migraine sufferers want to use the space? 

We asked ourselves, "Does it really need to be a physical space?" We revisited our proposition and decided to focus on the what we thought was the most important aspect - being able to try out new treatments and allowing people to share their knowledge with one another. We began to map out how this might play out with a mix of digital and physical interfaces. 

The New Proposition

Our service morphed into a subscription box model, where users would receive one larger product to try and several smaller, sample size products to keep. This enables migraine sufferers to try out treatments that might be otherwise expensive or difficult to obtain. The service offers a personalized approach to treatment, as users are able to find out what works for them through this trial-and-error process. 

We did a rough prototyping activity by presenting a user with a description of our service and a sample box of items. We asked how they felt about the items in the box and what they expected to happen next. This gave us insight into how much flexibility users expected in customizing their box and the importance of our explanation of the process.

Branding and Naming

After getting a good idea of our service proposition and flow, we began branding and naming the service. We settled on "MiBox," a fusion of migraine and "my box." Julia made a few style tiles for the visual design, and we decided to go with a calm style that evoked a soothing and tranquil atmosphere that migraine sufferers appreciated. 

Flow and Wireframing

As a group, we walked through the flow our of primary touchpoint, the website, and created rough wireframes. I took these sketches and used illustrator to refine them into a prototype that we could test with users. From there, we used the feedback to make further refinements on usability and flow. 

Final Touchpoint 

Shruti then applied our style and created a final, interactive prototype on Wix.

User Flows and Journey

Throughout the process, we focused on our main digital touchpoint, but we also considered the various back stage processes that would need to support it. We looked at other subscription box services such as Birchbox and Trunk Club to help us understand the business model behind it. 

Service Blueprint with Front stage and Back stage processes

Business Model Canvas

Our stakeholder map represents how mibox unites more medical, clinical treatments with alternative health products to offer holistic treatment options for a migraineur. 

Stakeholder Map

MiBox is a subscription service that is composed of digital and physical touchpoints. It's a result of exploratory research, iterating, prototyping, and testing. Our flexible process distilled the positive aspects of our previous ideas into a service that really allows migraine sufferers to take their care into their own hands and received personalized treatments at their doorstep. 

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