I'm looking for an example or a suggestion for a nice visualization that displays levels of severity of disease types. For example:

  1. Flu has a score of 10

  2. Covid 19 - 40

  3. HIV - 400

  4. Cancer XXX - 500

  5. Cancer YYY - 700

(sorry for those terrible examples 😅)

I need the users to feel they have critical issues and encourage them to take immediate steps.

A table sounds like a boring idea that will not visualize the severity, I though about heat maps but I still feel there might be better solutions. Any ideas?

  • I'm not sure what your app is for and how it handles data, but I'm thinking, "If I already know I've one of these diseases, I'm certainly going to do something about it without anyone having to tell me". My point is, if they already have a diagnosis, they probably don't need an app to tell them what to do. And if they're not diagnosed, how does that app know? I'm also not sure how the data is extrapolated and how you determined a score. Depending on comorbidity, flu can be deadly, much more so than COVID. So I'd simply tell the user, "Do something now!" regardless of the disease.
    – Devin
    Aug 22, 2022 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Being a somewhat sensitive topic, I wouldn't hesitate to incorporate some "playful" elements or at least not as structured as a select option component. The thermometer icon is universally understood as health and the immediate thing would be to choose between a higher or lower level on its scale, but we would make the mistake of forcing the user to choose from better to worse, which, although it's the end of the choice, avoiding it graphically is somewhat better at the perceptual level.

The people icons humanize the choice and with a simple change, they help to better interpret the five possibilities.

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Ignoring the graphic guidelines of the interface, in the case being a personal project, I would study the way to completely remove all the conceptual solemnity.

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Or move to the abstract, but always thinking of removing rigidity to the interaction.



Your goal is to get the patient to commit to starting "immediate steps" in treatment. I don't unfortunately think you'll accomplish this goal by comparing the patient's condition to other conditions. "COVID is bad, but it's only a 2 out of 5" doesn't inspire much urgency for action.

Instead, be specific and show the patient what will happen if they put off treatment for their condition. There are many good models for this that you can browse online; dentists seem to have good ones in their offices.

Stages of periodontal disease chart

Remember that medicine is a highly personalized area. It's worth investing the extra time and effort into making information as relevant as possible to the patient.


If you want to encourage them to take immediate steps, you need to motivate them. In this case, it basically means you need to scare them into taking action.

The obvious motivator here would be the prospect of declining health and possibly pain. But unfortunately there's plenty of research showing that people aren't easily scared into action by these two - which is why no amount of gruesome photos on cigarette packs has succeeded in reducing smoking, and more generally people don't tend to adopt healthy lifestyles even when fully aware of the dangers of bad habits.

What does work very well in exactly this kind of scenarios is money. It's a great short-term motivator (although it's a very poor long-term motivator), and with "immediate action" short-term is just what we need. If you show them that taking care of the problem now will cost them $X, and the more they drag it on, the sum will keep multiplying - that might have a great impact. Because money is very specific and easy to understand. Just how to calculate this, taking into account different healthcare situations in different locations is a different matter, but I guess that some general average estimation can be worked out.

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