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Build trust and relationships through acupuncture service in GLIDE Foundation

GLIDEsf  LinkedIn.jpg

Project Overview

GLIDE is a nonprofit organization that has served the Tenderloin district and San Francisco since 1963, providing food, housing, healthcare, and family services. During the fiscal year of 2020-2021, GLIDE Foundation spent $2.4 million providing services and received $2.5 million in sponsorships from individuals, governments, and related agencies.


One of the many ways GLIDE supports the Tenderloin community is by offering free meals and covid testing services in their Tenderloin(TL) Hub. Among the services that GLIDE provides, acupuncture service faces the barriers of being less known by the community and hard to build trust and relationships with the clients. GLIDE sponsored this class and supported us in investigating and improving their services.​

During these nine weeks, my team collaborated with GLIDE and re-designed the clients' experience of having the acupuncture service. With the service we re-design, GLIDE can build trust and relationships with clients by demonstrating how acupuncture can help ease clients' pain and create a comfortable and healing space for them to return to. Ultimately, achieving the goal of improving the health and lives of the Tenderloin community. 

Process highlights

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Team Project (Team of 5)

Taewuk Kim, Yujin Cha, Morgan Wash, Josh Yule, Chloe Chen(me)


My responsibilities

Secondary Research, Journey Map, Service Blueprint, Concept Ideation, Video shooting and editing

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Nine weeks. Feb - May 2022.

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Project plan

Research, Synthesis, Service blueprint, Concept ideation, and usability test & changes.

GLIDE - Project Plan

Project Quick Guide

Every UX case study consists of many steps. Any solution my team and I came up with always tie back to what we discovered about the needs, wants, pain points, and jobs to be done of our target customer/audience/user. (Tips: you can click on any of the steps and it will take you there :)

Case Summary

Discovered user problem

Acupuncture is not a first-line pain management option in the United States. The percentage of US adults who have used any form of acupuncture only increased by 0.9% over the past decade. 

Another barrier is a lack of medical trust. People have problems trusting a new medical service like acupuncture.

Service vision

By analyzing the service blueprint, my team defined the pain points in the process and set up MVP to improve the clients' experience through the most cost-effective solutions.


  • A video to quickly walk through the re-design service in a bigger picture. 

  • Five detailed touchpoints correspond to five different pain points in the service, including two digital touchpoints, one human-to-human touchpoint, and two physical touchpoints. 

GLIDE Acupuncture - Video Demo (4:41 min)

Service Walkthrough: Key Moments in the Service

GLIDE - Service Walkthrough


Collaborate with Daily Free Meals

​​Because GLIDE is a non-profit organization, how advertising its services becomes a complex problem. GLIDE wants to help more people, but their budgets can't afford the usual means of publicity, such as billboards and web ads. In this case, my team came up with a different solution. 

Pain point

  • People don’t know that GLIDE has this service and provides it as a free service.

  • People don’t know what acupuncture does, so they don't know how can the service help them.

Re-design touchpoint

  • In collaboration with GLIDE's most well-known service “Daily Free Meals” that provides three times a day, a flyer with information about acupuncture service is attached to the lunch box and provided to people. Increasing the awareness in the community or people who are attracted by the Daily Free Meals service. 

GLIDE - Flyer with lunchbox
GLIDE - Flyer with lunchbox


Better wayfinding system

When my team and I visited GLIDE for the first time, one of the most intuitive questions immediately came to us: we didn't know what these tents and these lines were. When a first-time visitor comes to GLIDE, it is difficult to find the correct then and staff to help them because the staff and the guests dress almost the same.

Pain point:

  • The location of the tent and service is inconsistent each time. Even frequently visiting clients will have to spend some time finding the right line and tent.

  • When clients need help from the staff, they are hard to find one because the staff doesn't wear uniforms to distinguish them from the crowd. 

Re-design touchpoint

  • A better wayfinding system with a fixed location of the tent and the service. Direction cone to point out the service, as well as staff uniform to make them more obvious in the crowd. 

GLIDE - Direction cone
GLIDE - Staff Vest


Easy Check-in

When it comes to the check-in process, my team's goal was to save time for both GLIDE and the clients. GLIDE currently uses the paper sheets to sign clients in on every visit, it’s hard to keep track of information with paper sheets, and for people who don’t speak English, there will be a language barrier. 

Pain point

  • Clients need to fill out the form during every visit

  • Hard to track clients' information if needed

  • Language barrier

Re-design touchpoint

  • A file-management application on digital devices to store information and allow different staff to access clients' information if they need it.

GLIDE - Easy Check-in
GLIDE - GLIDE Offcials


Animated Testimonial Video

Since acupuncture is not the first-line pain management option, people might not know a lot about acupuncture. Especially hearing the fact that acupuncture will perform through the needle, it sounds a bit scarier in some ways. During the research, we found that clients generally wait 3-8 min before receiving the treatment, so my team thought there was a great opportunity to use it. 

Pain point

  • People may not know what acupuncture does and they are hesitant to trust medical staff due to past negative experiences.

Re-design touchpoint

  • While patients sit and wait for their turn, provide them with a video explaining the acupuncture process. This may include information on what acupuncture is, how it works, and how it feels. With a testimonial video, first-time clients would learn what to expect in treatment and feel more prepared than anxious.

GLIDE - Animated Testimonial Video
GLIDE - Testimonial Title


Feedback Form / Relaxation Station

When clients finish the treatment, they will be asked to stay at least 15-20 min for recovery. During this time, the client will generally chat with the people around them. Since now there is no system for tracking clients’ feedback about the service, My team figured that it is a great opportunity to use the time of the recovery to ask for their feedback. Receiving patient feedback on service can be an opportunity to improve service quality by identifying shortcomings in service.

Pain point

  • No feedback system to collect clients' thoughts

Re-design touchpoint

  • The feedback form is available in 3 different languages, so even non-English speakers can fill it out in Spanish or Chinese. Along with the feedback form, evidence shows that anxiety, fear, and worries are all symptoms that hinder us from speaking our minds and communicating our true feelings. Providing a relaxation station where patients can chill and share their thoughts on services help GLIDE better understand their clients.

GLIDE - Feedback Form
GLIDE - Feedback Form

The Double Diamond Process

Every UX case study consists of many steps, I organized these steps and integrated them into four categories. Any solution my team and I came up with always tie back to what we discovered about the needs, wants, pain points, and jobs to be done of our target customer/audience/user. (Tips: you can click on any of the steps and it will take you there :)

Image by Scott Graham


Secondary Research - Who is GLIDE? What does GLIDE do? 

GLIDE is a social organization fighting institutional injustice and supporting people to come out of poverty and crisis. To create a radically inclusive, just, and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. GLIDE's most well-known program includes the Daily Free Meals program, Women Center, Family, Youth and Childcare Center, etc. 

Primary Research - Guided Tour in GLIDE

Invited by GLIDE, my team had a tour guided by Saba, who is in charge of managing the service in GLIDE. During the tour, we learned about daily changes in services, whom they serve, and the scope of their services. We also visited this place many times after that to know more about our clients and GLIDE and learned about clients' behaviors by observing the places and the clients.


Interview & Analysis: Learning about the service

From the secondary research and guided tour, my team had a rough understanding of the service content and objectives of GLIDE. After choosing to help GLIDE to optimize its acupuncture service, we set up an interview with the manager of the service, Pam. At the same time, 4 clients who came to use the acupuncture services on the same day were also interviewed by my teammate: Josh and Morgan.

In short, we organized the current client experience into four stages. Each stage appeared to have its pain points and opportunities to improve. While defining our clients' journey map, we realized the clients can be divided into two categories: first-time visitors and repeating clients. In addition to the fact that repeating clients have a better sense of the process and are more familiar with GLIDE than new clients, we also found problems that only repeating clients face: they have to fill up the same content for their medical history sheet in every visit. 

The other pain points we found in the journey maps are: 

GLIDE - First-time User Journey
GLIDE - Pain Points

How Might We

How might we help GLIDE to build trust and relationships with clients by demonstrating how acupuncture can help ease their pain?

"Acupuncture is a pathway for many outlets and we do a lot of services for people in the scope of pain and dependency recovery. By working alongside GLIDE we get to be collaborative in one's healing process. "

Pam, Acupuncturist in GLIDE

Image by Sigmund

Design Concept: From Findings to Features

Based on the feedback and insights from the research, my team came out with some opportunities to solve their pain points while keeping some constraints in mind. (Tips: click on each project phase to see more details)

Pitching Ideas to Stakeholders & Changes

There were several rounds of discussions and revisions between us and our mentors before presenting ideas to GLIDE's stakeholders, each building upon the suggestions of the previous. Here are the two major changes we had after the feedback round/usability testing. 

The Design of the Lunch Box Flyer

“How can you make sure I don't throw this away when I'm so hungry?” One of our presentation guests asked us the question when seeing the concept of the lunch box flyer. He agreed with the idea and thought it can help advertising acupuncture service from a practical point of view. After that, I modified a few iterations of the design based on other suggestions.


GLIDE - Old Flyer
  1. Human eyes are more sensitive to pictures or graphics. 

  2. It is great to consider that there are many clients with different language backgrounds in GLIDE, but the focus is still on advertising the acupuncture service. 

  3. Directly calling out the painful positions/pains will make the flyer easier for people to associate.


GLIDE - New Flyer Design


GLIDE - New Flyer Design


Testimonial Video rather than Educational Video

In our opinion, since most clients do not have the background knowledge about acupuncture and its benefits, educating them about acupuncture may help them to trust the treatment. During the second presentation to the guest, they made a good suggestion to remind us whether we would like to watch this kind of educational popular science video ourselves. The answer is no.


They suggested that the idea could still be kept, so we began to analyze why educational videos were not attractive and research what types of videos are more acceptable. After researching, testimonial videos allow clients to see other clients talk about the service giving honest, unscripted opinions and descriptions. Stories described from one's own experience are often more acceptable and empathetic than a serious educational video.


GLIDE - Old Educational Video
GLIDE - Old Educational Video


GLIDE - New Testimonial Video
GLIDE - New Testimonial Video

Final Thought

This is an intriguing idea with equally intriguing people. Three graphic designers and two interaction designers make up our team. Two diverse roles collaborate on the project and design it from various perspectives. It gave me a sense of the multidisciplinary team's positive working environment.

After rerunning the entire project, I believe there are several aspects to note. The first is the project's timetable. There were five important touchpoints in the experience, and several of which required a longer time to finish. However, since everyone is unfamiliar with the service blueprint, it took more time than we expected to identify the service and make our design execution even more nerve-wracking. 

The second thing I believe should be improved is the clarity of some graphs. For instance, the journey map. Despite the wonderful idea, the expression of the journey map is more composed of returning clients. Although the graphic is decorative, its utility is severely limited. The circular graphic structure makes the map difficult to read and needs to spend a certain time to identify the content in the map.

There are a few kinks in the works, but we're extremely proud of what we've accomplished. Several of our proposals were explicitly endorsed by GLIDE stakeholders when we present to them, especially the lunchbox flyer. The stakeholders believe that it is very rare for a team to spend the least amount of money and maximize the use of existing resources. Some solutions can even be implemented right away without the need for a development period. We're also glad that our 80+ rough concepts were not in vain. 

Lastly, I want to mention that we are also a multi-cultural team comprised of whites, blacks, Chinese, and Koreans that share the same goal. It was fun to get to know different cultural knowledge. I'm grateful to be able to collaborate with such a diverse group of people, and I sincerely wish them the best of luck in the future. 

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