Shadow

Shadow is an online service that connects teenage friends with their diabetic friend through fun and educative curated content, while motivating the diabetic towards better self-care. As social media plays an integral role in how teens meet and interact with each other Shadow takes place in Facebook Messenger.

Shadow is also a connected blood glucose meter and application on the diabetics mobile. Connectivity allows for Shadow to notify the friends when a measurement has been taken, and when a diabetic friend needs help to remember to take one. In case of life-threatening low levels of blood sugar Shadow will notify friends and family to aid. Shadows core objective is to promote discussion, sharing between friends and a healthy relationship to being different in a vulnerable age.

Background:

Diabetes type 1 is diagnosed mostly with children under 15 years of age. The more a diabetic measures his/her blood sugar, the better they can manage their diabetes. To monitor blood sugar levels before and after each meal is a big task even for an adult, as I came to notice when having measured my blood sugar levels for one week.

As diabetes is an everyday matter, it can easily dominate the daily discourse of a family. When parents remind about measurements it can sometimes have the opposite of desired effect on the behaviour of the teenager. What then could be done to motivate a teenager diabetic to take measurement?

I observed and interviewed a teenager diabetic during 8 weeks. The recommendation from her medical care for better self-management was to involve her friends more. During co-creation sessions it became obvious that relying on helpful friends is desirable and could potentially motivate the teenager to measure more. Furthermore, understanding and support of friends can help the diabetic with establishing a more functioning relationship with her condition. Together with the diabetic and her teenager friends we set-up an experience prototype named Shadow using Facebook Messenger and Tumblr.