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Gluclose Buddies
Mentorship platform that helps T1D high school students transit to college
Product Design Project   • Jan 2021 - Apr 2021


Sabrina Chuang, Maria Martinez, Arya Nair, Nimisha Devanagondi, Donna Kim


Figma, Mural, Adobe Illustrator


User Research, Product Thinking, Visual Design, Prototype Design


Let's Connect and Empower T1D Community

Gluclose Buddies is a multi touch point mentorship platform that connect type 1 diabetes high school student  


Currently, CDN, aims to help ease the transition from high school to college by providing them with resources and peer support. They even have “Off to college guides” for students and parents, but through our research, we found that although the content was amazing, they were too long for students to read so many wouldn’t download the guide. Our team was tasked with finding a new way for CDN to reach and deliver their high-quality content for prospective college students.


Problem: Our client College Diabetes Network (CDN) wanted to find a better way to show their "Off to College Guides" and to attract more type 1 diabetes high school students to join their community.  

Solution: Provide a mentorship platform incorporating "Off to College Guides" to help type 1 diabetes high school students connect with  type 1 college students and build a strong diabetes community. 

User Research 
Identifying User Pain Points

To understand the transition of type 1 diabetes high school students , we conducted user research by interviewing with:

  • 3 prospective high school students

    • to understand their user needs and their pain points

  • 3 current college students

    • to understand their past experience and what things are successful to help them transit 

  • 2 general CDN members

    • to understand their experience with our client and how can we improve our client's business model

  • 2 mothers of children with type 1 diabetes

    • ​to know their concerns on sending their kids to college and their thought on our client

Interview Finding 

High School Students:  

  •  “If I see the pdf on my own, I’m not sure if I’ll actually go download it and read it.”

  • “Really important for my personal health to have a community and someone to talk to

  • “Nice to talk to someone who is older and has had it for longer


College Students:  

  •  “It is were really hard to navigate took me several hours to navigate through the 50 page document. ”

  • “In terms of support in diabetes community now it’s a bit tough”(Current President CDN @UCSD)

  • “Marlon (CDN president) and I (VP of CDN UCSD) wanted to implement a mentor/mentee platform, but didn’t know how to go about it” 

  • "I didn't know that I could ask my professor for accommodation. I wish someone could told me back then"



  •  “I worry the most about my kids going to college and didn't have someone around know his needs.”

  • "I understand that there are so many things she probably don't want to share with me like drinking and partying, so I really hope she has someone to share these questions with"

User Personas 
Our Potential Stakeholder

1. Susan Collins (Mom of two diabetes kids)

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2. Nadia Jones (Prospective College Student with Type 1 diabetes)

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3. Stella Watson (Second Year Law Student with Type 1 Diabetes)


4. Stella Watson (Second Year Law Student with Type 1 Diabetes)

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Framing Problem 
How Might We 

How might we ease the transition from high school to college for prospective Type 1 Diabetes students?

Affinity Mapping

After gathering user insights, we brainstormed solutions through affinity mapping by writing down the pain points experienced by different types of digital news consumers. We then consolidated our ideas, categorized them, and identified features to fulfill their needs. 

Brainstorming Solution 

From our affinity map, we identified three main users needs which is:


1. Connect with Other Diabetes Student

 Connecting with an older student who has been through similar experiences

2. Get Answers

Getting answers to quick questions and be able to chat with someone for personal experience 

3. Find a Community

To find a supportive, knowledgable community in college 

User Flow
Style Guides
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Iterations Based On User Testing

We were able to get great feedback on our design from 4 high school students and 2 current college CDN members

1. Add users years with diabetes, insulin they took and pump device they used

  • “I will love to know what insulin they are taking and the pump they used" (21 y.o. college student)

  • “In choosing a mentor - some background on their diagnosis would be helpful” (18 y.o. high school student)

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2. Add Icebreaker questions in Messages  

  • “One thing I am scared with after connecting with a mentee is I don't know what should I start the conversation with ” (21 y.o. college student)

  • “I think it is hard to maintain a relationship online because throughout the time you will run out of topic to talk about" (23 y.o. college student) 

  • "I will definitely want to build a deep relationship with my mentor, more like friend instead. I will want to know more about them not just their diabetes journey" (18 y.o. high school student)  

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3. More digestible "Off to College Guides" and allow users quickly send it to other

  • "I'd like to read articles for extra support" (23 y.o. college student) 

  • "I think if I am a mentor it will be really helpful if I can send the articles to my mentee when we are talking about related topic" (21 y.o. college student)  

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Final Design 
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Find your Glu-close Buddies
Our platform is made for freshman college students and current college students

Filter Glu-close Buddies based on Preference
You can choose your glu-close buddies by location, gender, college, major, type of mentorship, or even number of years of diagnoses


One Click to Connect  

After carefully read through the mentor profile you can add your mentor with preferred mentorship duration.  

Daily Icebreaker Question 

Icebreaker question to help you connect with your glu-close buddies in a deeper level.    

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Digestible Article to Share

Now "Off to College Guides" from 50+ pages break down to different articles based on the topic. You can easily share the article to your buddies.      

What Did I Learn

Design with constraints.  In the brainstorming process, our group think of some ideas around app development, however due to our client CDN's budget we decide to transit the idea to web application. Also, when we proposed the mentorship platform ideas our client is worried about some safety issues of connecting teenager with adult, so we have ask users under 18 to sign up the account with their parents and have some parental control over their account. I learned from this experience as a designer, not only we are thinking about users but also our client's business model. 

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