Mockups up different ThyroPal app screens

Empowering thyroid patients to get the care they need


Being a thyroid patient myself and knowing about the challenges of our current healthcare system, I embarked on this solo project to support other patients.

I designed and tested an interactive prototype for a companion app for thyroid patients to help them optimize their thyroid health together with their doctors.

Not much time? You can jump straight to these sections:

Thyroid patients share sensitive health data in online forums


Being a thyroid patient myself, I noticed that many fellow patients gather in Facebook and Reddit groups to exchange medical advice.

I wanted to provide a more trustworthy and safe way to receive support.

Screenshot of a Facebook post where a thyroid patient shares their medical report and personal data
  • Advice from strangers may be unqualified.
  • Sensitive health data is shared with strangers.
  • Forum operators and third parties may use health data for advertising.

Lean UX Research

Who are these patients and how can we help them?

Using a Lean UX research approach, I gathered both qualitative and quantitative data about the needs of other thyroid patients. I distilled the insights from the research into a set of four user personas with different motivations and health goals. The primary persona, María, represents a typical user of online thyroid forums.

Forum post analysis

  • 5 German-speaking groups
  • > 30,000 members
  • 176 posts looking for support


  • 121 thyroid patients
  • mostly recruited via Reddit
  • 16 questions


  • 5 thyroid patients
  • 30 minutes remote
  • 19 questions


Main user persona

From the four personas that emerged from the research, I selected the one that would be a likely early adopted of the product, because she had high motivation to engage with the app.

How might we get María away from Facebook groups?

Solution hypothesis

A health app with basic thyroid education as well as data- and research-backed medication recommendations can empower patients to improve their condition with their doctors’ help.

User journey map

In order to define María’s touchpoints with the envisioned solution, I created a user journey map from the initial contact with the app to a successful doctor appointment.

Design Iterations

Providing trustworthy education and recommendations

Design goals

With my design, I wanted to address these three challenges:

  • Help patients understand their thyroid health with short & actionable content.
  • Make it easy for non-medical users to enter bloodwork & medication data.
  • Present treatment suggestions in a doctor-friendly format.

From sketches to wireframes to a polished UI

Using a rapid prototyping approach, I designed and tested different ideas for providing patients with education and recommendations for their thyroid health.

Hand-drawn sketches allowed me to rapidly visualize and compare different ideas.

I used a first prototype based on the mid-fidelity wireframes to conduct a moderated usability study to test key features of the app without distracting participants by the visual design elements.

Using the high-fidelity prototype with the polished UI allowed me to run a second, more efficient unmoderated usability test without running the risk of testers getting irritated by a mid-fidelity prototype with obvious limitations.

Hand-drawn sketch of the Lab Analysis screen
Mid-fidelity wireframe of the Lab Analysis screen in shades of gray
High-fidelity mockup of the finished Lab Analysis screen with final color, icons, and typography

Usability Testing

Patients need more guidance to engage with their health data

Testing the first prototype with actual patients allowed me to see that I hadn’t fully achieved my goal of helping them understand their medical information and getting actionable results. A major theme emerged: users needed more guidance to engage with the various features of the app and make connections between them.

Moderated usability study

I evaluated if real users understand the app
and can use key features and how satisfied they are with the value and benefits.

  • 6 thyroid patients aged 20-50
  • 30 minutes remote
  • 2 scenarios incl. 5 tasks

3 out of 6 testers felt irritated by empty state screens


3 out of 6 testers had trouble understanding the value of the health reports


2 out of 6 testers felt overwhelmed by the lab analysis

I simplified many screens and also the main app navigation. In order to see whether the new navigation better matched users’ mental models, I performed a card sorting study.


Conversational style with helpful assistant


Explicit patient goals


Simplified navigation


Smaller steps with progress (not all steps shown here)


Simplified analysis with option to learn more


Clear CTA to conclude the flow

Unmoderated usability study

The second usability test focused on the health report flow as well as the newly designed thyroid assistant that guides users through the app.

  • 13 participants
  • 7 minutes remote
  • 1 scenario plus After-Scenario-Questionnaire
Pie chart showing the distribution of direct and indirect success and unsuccessful attempts
Success Rate
  • Direct success: 70%
  • Indirect success: 15%
  • Unsuccessful 15%

On a scale of 1 to 7, overall I am satisfied with …

… the ease of completing
the task

  / 7.0

5.5 / 7.0

… the time it took to
complete the task

  / 7.0

5.4 / 7.0

… the support
information available

  / 7.0

6.0 / 7.0

Branding & UI Design

Creating a trustworthy brand to support patients

ThyroPal aims to be a companion for thyroid patients who have to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional stress of their condition and medical information that can sometimes be overwhelming. This informed the branding goals:


Style guide & design system


The brand color teal supports this brand with its reserved nature that can promote stress relief in apps. Composed of blue and green shades, it can symbolize trust and harmony.

The interface uses mostly neutral grays and reserves the brand color for interactive elements to keep the interface calm and help users focus on the task at hand.

The Nunito typeface and Untitled UI icons with their rounded forms are specifically chosen to support the friendliness of the brand, so that users feel supported by their companion. This attitude is also reflected in the Tone of Voice guide.


Typeface: Nunito

Typography samples with the typeface "Nunito" showing headings, body text and buttons.
Icon samples from the ThyroPal app
Brand voice sample
Voice and tone
Speaking as Thyro

The app’s mascot, Thyro, guides users through their experience in a conversational way. It asks questions and offers suggestions. The dialogue between Thyro and the user reads like a conversation between friends.


A better solution than Facebook groups and Reddit forums

The final design allows thyroid patients to scan their lab results and medications and enter their symptoms to get actionable insights. That way they do not have to rely on strangers from the internet to give them health advice.

The app will also provide patients with a health report for their doctor, which contains not only details about the patient’s medical data but also research-backed recommendations to optimize medication treatment. Communicating effectively with their doctor and receiving optimal medication can already go a long way in relieving symptoms and is comparatively low-effort for patients.

What do my lab results mean?

Since this is the most common question from patients in online thyroid forums, the main feature allows them to scan their lab reports so that they get optimized visuals and explanations of their results based on medical data.

Video Description Lab Results

The video shows how a user navigates through the lab results section of the app.

They look at the hormones and medication charts, go to the lab results list, look at the details of previous lab tests to learn more about the results and eventually navigate to an article in the education area to find out more about a thyroid hormone.

How do I get my doctor to help?

Another common problem is communication with doctors. The health report feature summarizes the patient’s lab results, medication dosages and symptoms and for the doctor. Patients can easily create PDF reports with their app to print or email to their doctors

Video Description Health Report

The video shows how a user creates a health report for their doctor after signing up for the app.

They are greeted by the assistant Thyro and can choose what they want to do next: prepare a doctor appointment.

Then they are then guided through the health report flow, where the purpose of the health report is explained, they scan their last lab results and their medication packaging and finally the app creates a PDF health report to download.

How can this app help me?

Users wanted to understand what the app can do for them before creating an account and sharing their personal and health data.

Therefore, the onboarding explains what benefits the app offers and allows users to create a “local account” without sharing their personal data.

Video Description Onboarding

The video shows the onboarding flow of the app.

After a splash screen with an animated logo of a butterfly flying into the screen and the word “ThyroPal” is typed out, the user gets to the login / signup screen where they swipe through 3 short feature introductions.

They can now sign up, log in, or continue with the Google or Apple account.

When selecting sign up, they can choose between a cloud account and a local account, both of them being explained briefly.

Feedback from thyroid patients

What is next?

  • Validate the health reports with doctors
  • Design a video course for thyroid education
  • Create an experience to encourage symptom tracking
  • Assemble a development team to build a beta version


The importance of focus and rapid iterations

My main challenge was keeping the project scope manageable because I was working alone and wanted to create a useful solution in just 4 months. I learned how helpful it is to strictly focus on one primary user persona and her challenge.

When the first usability test showed problems with the health report flow, I had to iterate quickly and so I ran multiple smaller tests (like card sorting, preference testing, design reviews, usability testing) to validate the reworked solution.

In the end, the rapid prototyping approach and a clear focus allowed me to achieve my goal of providing a useful and usable solution to support other thyroid patients.

Thanks for reading!

How can I support your project?

I offer Lean UX Research and Rapid Prototyping services to help you build your app — for web and mobile.

Find out more about my Rapid Prototyping Service or just pick a spot in my calendar to chat about your project:

Of course, you can also get in touch via the contact form, find me on LinkedIn or email me directly.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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