I was brought in by Tracey Varnell, the Director of Product Experience, to help craft CafeWell’s user experience strategy, provide personas and user journeys, and gamify this social health network. This platform helps users achieve their health goals, get relevant information, and connect with others.

CaféWell is a Health Optimization Platform which helps payers, health systems, ACOs and other population health managers connect with their members and reward them for healthy behavior. The platform enables access to an organized ecosystem of programs and resources and drives engagement through a novel combination of social, gaming and personalization technologies. 




CafeWell UX Strategy Presentation

(For mobile users: this interactive book may be viewed on the website)



This website is part of a growing trend of sites that function as ‘social health management tools’, helping users achieve their health goals, get relevant information, and connect with others. WellToc, a startup at the time, had already gone through first round of funding and had the minimum viable product up and running. The website had a small but strong following and the company was ready to take their next steps: one, creating a cohesive UX Strategy for the future of the website and two, gamifying the existing site.

I was brought in as an expert in gamification, to help create personas and user journeys, to recommend changes and improvements in the user experience of the website and to assist in the creation of a UX Strategy document to guide the company into the future of this product.

About the site

About the site

  • Analyzed the existing site for usability issues and made recommendations for changes based on current best practices in web design. 
  • Mapped the taxonomy and information architecture in the current site and gamification principles
  • Researched current thinking on anonymity and privacy in social websites, an issue vital to the success of a site centered on both the need for real and verified information and the desire to ask (often embarrassing) questions.
  • Studied ways to streamline the registration process and form filling-out on the profile pages without neglecting to get data necessary for the smart engine to be able to adequately recommend appropriate courses of action or articles.
  • Mapped out the current user journey through the website, paying special attention to pain points, and mapped out how the site could satisfy these users instead. 
  • Expanded the user personas in order to make them relevant to the gamification of the site. 


Read an article on the results of these changes »

Brought in as a specialist on gamification, I was pleased to help make this social health management website fun and rewarding to use! I paid close attention to game mechanics and player types. With the help of a Bunchball game engine the site was really headed in the direction of becoming a positive feedback loop for the users, helping them achieve their health goals, get relevant information, and connect with others. [pictures in gallery] 

I looked at aspects of gaming such as

  • 4 Keys 2 Fun
  • The Nine Boosts
  • Game Mechanics – the three attributes, three types and 24 aspects
  • Flow, Mastery and Ease of Use
  • Good-Tough Problems
  • Bartle’s Four Personality Types
  • Nick Yee’s Five Factor Model
  • Lazzaro’s Game Design Principles
  • Brainhex matrix
  • Hard Fun/ Easy Fun/ Altered States
  • Emotional Feedback
  • Engagement without Story

I documented the possible application of many aspects of gamification to this social health management website. I analyzed the existing structure of the site and illuminated where, what and how gaming principles could be implemented immediately.



The entire company was committed to using visible posters of this site’s personas to increase motivation and empathy. I worked with Tracey Varnell, the Director of Product Experience, to expand the existing personas to adequately flesh out and cover the projected range of users on the site.

The user journey maps functioned both as a usability baseline and as an opportunity to suggest improvements in the site. The journey maps illuminated the persona’s needs and wants as well as their potential pain points.

The CafeWell site implemented the recommended changes and gamified this site into a best-in-practice Health Optimization Platform.