Design Toolkit

Ten principles to launch,
develop and scale mobile
health services

The mHealth Design Toolkit is a collection of insights, tools and key principles to increase adoption and customer uptake of mobile health services by involving end-users in the service development process.

mHealth services have faced challenges in attaining scale and adoption. In many cases, these challenges can be overcome by adopting a user-centric design approach. Developed in partnership with frog, this toolkit provides guidance on how to bring end-users into service development process, helping mHealth providers to build services that truly resonate with their end-users.

Segmenting customers by user and age does not reveal who they are

To design a meaningful service, it is important to not reduce people into 2-dimensional abstractions. Instead, design a service that considers people in their full complexity, taking into account the context of their lives.

A service should be created with the whole community in mind, not just one single user

Users do not live in a bubble. Consider how their community affects interactions with the service, and how the service can take advantage of that community.

The aspiration of mHealth services often do not resonate with user aspirations

Successful services must address true needs of their end-users - everything a service does should be aligned to address this need.

Nutrition is not scientific, it is subjective and highly cultural

Nutrition is not just a combination of nutrients and public health practices. It is an integral part of people’s identity and culture, which must be considered when designing an mHealth services.


Mobile services allows to reach people at an unprecedented scale. However, face-to-face interactions with users are important to build initial trust and make users comfortable with new technologies.

Localising the service does not just mean translating words into local languages

It is important that health messages offer medically accurate advice. However, it is just as important that messages are actionable by giving recommendations that recipients are able to implement easily at their location.

Wording matters. Even if it's only 20 characters long

Terms and concepts that seem like everyday language to health experts are often unknown to message recipients. It is important that messages are written in a simple language that avoids technical jargon or ambiguities.

It is not only what you say, but how you say it

How you say something is just as important as what you say - how you say something most effectively changes from place to place.

Continuous iteration: You will not get your service right the first time

A service will never be complete. To develop the best service possible, keep on learning, make changes on the learning, then learn some more, make more changes, and so on.

Sustainable revenue will not come only from one source

Services should not rely on a single source of revenue. Instead, they should develop a portfolio of different revenue streams.

*All images taken directly from the toolkit, a publication by Frog about our GSMA mHealth programme.