Creating awareness on the daily challenges of living with type 1 diabetes


Health care professionals have a great theoretical understanding of type 1 diabetes, however, understanding the practicalities and the mental toll this disease causes on a day-to-day basis can be hard to fully comprehend. Understanding the daily hardship can be just as much of a challenge for family members, especially siblings, who might be oblivious as too why their older brother or sister must measure their food, be constantly observant about what they eat, and what activities they do. With an increasing amount of the population living with type 1 diabetes, not everyone can fully empathize with the challenges, setbacks, and mental burden of those living with the condition. For this reason, our client approached us to help shape a digital solution that could create awareness around the impact type 1 diabetes has on a person’s life from wake-up to bedtime. 


After less than 4 months, we launched a mobile application capable of simulating activities that a person with type 1 diabetes experiences on a daily basis. In the course of 2 days, the user is  prompted with various scenarios a type 1 diabetic would face during a regular week day. The app confronts the user with situations and dilemmas they have to and act upon, simulating the mental burden throughout a day. The first version of the app contained a two-day flow with manual blood glucose measurement (virtually simulated), while the second version added a storyline with continuous glucose monitoring (haptically simulated).

Business value

As a global leading pharmaceutical company, our client had a need to be the center of patient advocacy for type 1 diabetes, along with strengthening cooperation with stakeholder organizations and type 1 diabetes advocates. Our application helped strengthen this position, while also increasing the internal understanding and experience of digital solutions, marketing channels, and end-user communication. 

User value

In this case, we saw a trifold of user groups: the patients, their relatives, and health care professionals supporting the patient. Though the initial target group was health care professionals and parents, we quickly experienced an uptake in siblings using the solution to better understand the daily challenges their sister/brother faces. 

Multiple-choice questions

A typical struggle of a life with diabetes is the constant assessment of how your actions might affect your blood sugar. With simple multiple-choice questions, we tried to push this mental challenge to participants during the day. 


Always being aware of your blood glucose requires a lot of measurement. Though the blood glucose measurements in the app are simulated, we attempt to show the physical struggle of blood sampling on a regular basis. 

Injection simulation

There’s little room for fear of needles if you have diabetes. Since we obviously couldn’t have participants inject themselves during the simulation journey, we emphasized the mental struggle and feelings accompanied with daily injections e.g., always changing the injection site. 


After the first week of launch, we managed to get more than 10.000 views at the post-click landing page, with conversion rates of close to 50%, leading to more than 5.000 downloads. Since then, uptake has steadily increased, and we’ve currently educated more than 70.000 Dutch people about living with type 1 diabetes.