(919) 435-4335

Sketch of Timeline Graph

Personal Medical Records
The Personal Medical Records project intends to enhance two areas of people's lives. Firstly, we would like people to better understand how healthy they are at any given time; not simply on the scale of day-to-day, but how healthy they are in the long term. Secondly, we wanted a better way for consumers to have access to their health records. More specifically, we designed an interface for consumers to view their own health records. Using this personal health record viewer, people will be more enabled to learn about their own health, talk with their doctors on a more educated level, and correlate the events in their own life with the fluctuations of their own health.

Timeline-to-graph tree ring sketch

Affinity Diagram

Timeline + Categories sketch

Objective of the course

Our class, "Art 484: Advanced Projects in Interaction Design", had been invited by Microsoft Research to participate in the 2007 Microsoft Design Expo to develop interaction design concepts that address how new software and hardware concepts can support health and wellness.

From here, we had free reign to create a concept that either made a marked improvement over an old method of looking after health, or introduce an entirely new system to help improve the daily life, and long term well being of a wide variety of users. This can be anything from promoting wellness and life balance, to addressing difficult health related issues, to addressing healthcare systems and tools.

How it was executed

With the help of Georg Petschnigg, the Microsoft liason, each group came up with a concept that related to health; ours was to help ordinary people to better manage their health records.

We found that people misunderstood their underlying health, which often would lead to disastrous results. The knowledge of their medical records would help them to better understand the current state of their body.

With the assumption that medical records will soon be widely digitized, my group consulted with an expert on personal records:, Gordon Bell, member of Microsoft Research and founder of the MyLifeBits project.

Here we were able to find that the records he had recorded from his doctor visits had aided him tremendously in making health decisions, so we decided to design a 'Quicken for Health' type software.

While brainstorming about how to navigate the entirety of one's health in software, we happened upon a 'tree ring' type of display. From here we explored the various ways this concept could be applied to a database of health information. To aid us in making an easy-to-understand design, we worked with people that we were the target audience. Through interviews and subsequent usability testing of the mockups, we were able to find which parts of the interface resonated with them and which areas needed to be redesigned. Lastly, we revised our designs to address all issues found in the usabilities studies then prepared the documentation for our final design iteration and presented the results at the Microsoft Design Expo.

More Images

Graph with medication overlays

Medium Fidelity Mockup

Timeline, Final Version


Tree Ring Graph, Final Version

UI Demo


Professors and Colleagues

Axel Roesler
— Professor, Ph.D. in Cognitive Systems Engineering, Art dept.
Georg Petschnigg
— Liaison for this project
— Executive Producer, Microsoft Pioneer Studios
Gordon Bell
— Advisor for this project
— Professor, Technical Communication
Steve Huarte
— Graduate student in Technical Communications
Allen Lau
— Undergraduate student in Art / Design