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Emotional Design for Healthcare

Search for health app ui on pinterest and you will find 9 of 10 examples use a white/cyan color scheme, have minimalistic graphs and beautifully type-set numbers, but not a lot of human.

Sterile sci-fi fantasy is not what healthcare looks like nor should aspire to be.

I refuse to accept the sterile sci-fi fantasy aesthetic. It is dehumanizing. I remember walking around in Tokyo and seeing their marketing, ads and graphic design on trains, the street and publications, they are so full of positivity. Instead of starkness I get a big sense of life is worth living so get healthy and live it to the fullest. And then I remember the hospital in my town – Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital. It is full of greenery and whether I’m there for myself or someone else, I always felt good being there. The greenery has an uplifting effect. I think it is important for healthcare software to try to achieve that.

Clockwise from top left: Care Plus website, Umeda Hospital signage, Apple Health illustrations, Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital.

It is known that better hospital design results in better health outcomes. When I wrote down MyDoc’s design manifesto, I defined one of the three pillars of MyDoc’s philosophy as Positivity – Convey a sense of joyful confidence. Make it feel like a sunny summer day. I thought about how I can brighten the experience in various patient touch points, starting with the app.

Happy Colors

I created a palette of semi-pastel colors and used them in as many places I can, including default avatars and illustrations.


Blood Sugar
Illustration used to liven up the weight input interface.

Profile Branding

Service providers in the MyDoc Care Network are known as groups. I designed the group profiles to use rich imagery. People are used to seeing the Facebook pages and Twitter profiles of brands in their best light. There is no excuse for healthcare brands to be dressed in a lab coat.

The profile of Guardian.