An at-home kit for managing your own gut health

You’ve probably heard of saliva sampling or even done a test yourself. Now there’s stool sampling. Sound uncomfortable? 

Project
Stool sampling is a popular method for identifying bacteria and problems with the digestive tract. Thryve’s Gut Health Test gives access to this for consumers who can test at home. But even in the comfort of their own home, it can still be a scary experience.

Company
Thryve

Timeline
1.5 months

My contributions
Packaging design, Content management, Branding, Product photography

Before

Within a week, I interviewed 10 people, spanning from first time stool samplers to return users about the old, temporary kit. From the interviews, I learned that many people were disappointed at the value they paid for.

User Journey

Assumptions

By creating some assumptions about the stool sampling process, I was able to begin conceptualizing ideas.

  • the user can read
  • the user has two free hands to stool sample
  • the user has accessible toilet paper
  • user has a post office nearby to send out their sample

High Level Insights

  • The surface of the kit had a plastic and cheap feeling to it. Some mentioned it was nice to have a light and portable kit, but they thought it should have costed less.
  • The box was hard to open since we secured the flaps with tape. When users placed the kit on a surface, it would plop over due to uneven weight distribution.
  • The kit looked very bare with taped up sampling tubes. Some received their kit with loose tubes, which appeared unprofessional.
  • The accumulation of small issues made the odor of the experience bothersome.

Market Research

To get inspired, I bought various home delivery products to do research and test. These included competitors’ kits as well as boxes from other industries.

  • Helix – Step-by-step instructions were printed onto the kit itself, which reduced waste and loose paper materials.
  • Color – Their pre-paid return box was the Color kit itself. This was cost-effective, but created confusion for those who skimmed through the instructions.
  • uBiome – Their sampling tubes were fitted and secured in a plastic mold, which was easier for users to access.  The tubes could be popped out with one hand.
  • EverlyWell – Their kit had two flaps, step 1 and step 2, made from a single sheet of paper. It was both functional and cost-effective.
  • Curology – Crinkle paper was put into their kit as a cost-effective way to provide protection for their product.
  • Blue Apron – Their food kits had ice packs that lasted longer than ones from other companies.  We decided to use the same, long-lasting ice packs for our probiotic kits that users received with their stool sampling kit.
  • Care/of – Their personalized vitamin packs made users feel special and recognized.
  • Warby Parker – Their eyeglasses box had a soft feel to it, which made opening and closing the box smooth and satisfying.

Principles

Drawn from a mix of observed needs and firsthand experience,  I developed 3 principles that would guide my new design. Providing a “wow” moment was crucial for this new experience.

  • Viewing – Must be approachable and remind users how they’ll benefit from stool sampling
  • Feeling – User should feel excited and confident more than dread and confusion
  • Usage – Kit should provide clean yet comprehensive instructions

Prioritizing design decisions 

I sketched several iterations of the new kit. While brainstorming ideas, I tried to design an experience that prevented users from holding more than two objects at once.

While designing the kit, I had to work around the size of the Send box. It was the return box that the user would use to send their sample to our lab and it had to fit in a standard size mailbox.

Sketches of shape and form

Sketches of finalized form

Prototypes

After 3 rounds of work-like prototypes, I curated the content and color scheme by working off the selected kit.

Generating Manufacturing Files 

I received a physical version of the final proof to approve colors, text, score and fold lines.

Final Prototype and Reflections

The new design of the kit provided more value in appearance, weight, touch and reliability. Made from five pieces of soft touch paper, the kit’s cost increased, but attracted more influencers who brought in new revenue.