Empowering the Elderly Through Intuitive Design
Worked with company's stakeholder
Good Boost creates technology to deliver individually tailored aquatic rehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions in partnership with local swimming pools. Powered by AI, the Good Boost software is delivered on waterproof Android tablets to allow participants to progress in their exercises at their own pace.
I have been asked to re-design the current Good Boost app to improve their UX/UI and address it to their less tech savvy users.
The current sign-up process is very time consuming and extensive. In addition, the accessibility of the app is a top priority, since many of the users have dexterity issues or visual impairments.
In-depth examination helps to build trust and credibility in the AI-generated solutions. The more the users provide with information about their condition the more likely they are going to trust the proposed solution to their problem. I have decided to break down the questionnaire into smaller chunks and split into categories. Additional time estimation for completion, as well as progression bars in each section, would indicate how long each task should take and help to keep track of time for the entire assessment process.
As a first step in the research process, I had to understand who the users are and what their goals and frustrations are. I have started off with interviewing the company stakeholder. Due to limited resources and time constraints, I was unable to interview the Good Boost users myself and had to rely solely on the feedback provided by the client (i.e. existing video interviews). That said, I did conduct current app testing sessions with a representative target audience later on.
I designed two short screener surveys that provided me with insights into the user’s motivations.
First survey was designed to find analogical behaviours of people who are currently/or have in the past used fitness or exercise tracking apps. I wanted to find out what the reasons were behind choosing and then regularly using these apps.
Accordingly, the highest impact on users’ continuous motivation was the ability to track and monitor their progress over time. Additionally, receiving quick measurable outcomes of their training, the burnt calories or mileage, and being able to compare these results visually, were a great incentive to keep exercising. The opportunity to track the progress outside the group session would be a motivational boost for the users.
The second survey was to understand the physiotherapy users’ treatment experience, especially in regard to performing the exercises on their own without supervision. This was to help me identify key areas where users potentially would require additional support while using the Good Boost app. Seeing the struggle of several participants with repetitive failed treatments, I was wondering what made them restore their trust in physiotherapists and find further treatments credible.
Screener Survey Results
How often have you used a mobile application to track your fitness
or health progress in the last 12 months?
Have you ever received physiotherapy or other form of rehabilitation?
What were the biggest challenges during your physiotherapy self-training sessions?
I ended up interviewing 7 physiotherapy users between the age of 30-65, including 1 pregnant woman. I noticed that vast majority of the interviewees are demotivated and resigned by ineffectiveness of their treatment, for which they most usually spent a lot of time and money. Also, the users who end up exercising on their own are scared of doing something wrong when no one is overseeing their technique or progression. This also causes them to lose motivation quickly and eventually fail at effectively improving their condition. Being able to see the progress helps building trust in the effectiveness of the exercises and boosts therapist’s credibility. I realised that in order to gain medical trustworthiness in the app, the users will need to find the assessment credible.
'Physio was communicating with me very well during the sessions, such as describing each exercise, to make me understand how it works and helps. It made me feel they were credible.'
'It is hard to plan and find a suitable time to do the exercises, also the conditions at home for some of them do not help.'
I synthesised the qualitative data gathered from the interviews using Affinity Mapping technique and created two personas as a representation of the target clients. The primary persona is, according to the stakeholder, their typical client - a semi-retired woman in her late fifties suffering from arthritis.
The secondary persona is their new target audience - an expecting mother. Due to the previously mentioned time constraints, I focused only on the first main persona to continue with the requested questionnaire based on feature prioritisation.
Current App Insights
Due to the fact that I was unable to interview the current app users myself, I decided to replicate the experience and conducted user testing sessions with a group of participants. My goal was to understand how less tech savvy users navigate throughout the existing app and what the main pain points that they encounter are.
• Users had to read a lot of information; no clear focus point, causing them to easily get overwhelmed and distracted
• Manually typing in the text slowed down the process especially for users with dexterity issues
• Users were confused how to use some of the design elements (i.e. slider bar with smiley faces underneath)
Before I delved into the user’s journey, I took a step back and looked at existing apps with a similar assessment profile. I found that resemblance in lifestyle, fitness, and health related apps. I have focused on those that required an elaborate and extensive questionnaire, analogical with the Good Boost app. Certain features were prevalent like onboarding, progress bars, access to additional info, further reading within the app, and categorizing of the content. These solutions could help with offloading the large pieces of information, which in turn would allow the user to skip if not needed. Otherwise, when the users are given too many details at once, they do not know what to do with that.
User’s Journey and Experience Mapping
I drafted key user scenarios to conceptualise on the user’s path and focus on functionality of the app:
Fiona would like to receive a well informed and successful physiotherapy so that she can progress in her rehabilitation. She would like to improve her health condition, so that she doesn’t experience constant pain from arthritis.
Emma would like to keep exercising while pregnant, so that she stays fit and returns to her training routine after giving birth.
Focusing on a particular user scenario allowed me to think of elements of the interface that would help support the user in their journey.
Mapping the current user journey through the initial assessment of the app and understanding user’s experience have helped to discover pain points, bottlenecks, and points of opportunity.
Some questions from the questionnaire could be removed or built into the app at a further stage, yet majority of them are necessary to correctly assess the medical issue of each patient. Therefore, I had to look at other ways to transform the assessment into more approachable and user-friendly sign-up process. The length and complexity of the questionnaire are something that causes the most frustrations for the users. We need to make this process as simple as possible and guide the user through, so the overall experience improves the trustworthiness of the app and treatment. Onboarding is one of these elements that helps less tech savvy users being introduced to the design features of the app.
The wireframes are mock-ups of the interfaces of the user’s journey to accomplish their goal - signing up to a training session. After starting with quick sketches tested with the users, I moved on to a higher fidelity wireframing and prototyping in the end.
The interface is designed with a limited colour palette, using the orange to emphasise the company’s style and tone. I replaced the typing, where possible, with clickable buttons and items, allowing for multiple ways of achieving the same outcome. The questionnaire was categorised into 4 sections: General Wellbeing, Symptoms, Activity and Personal Details.
The prototype was later tested with a group of users.
• The progress within the questionnaire wasn’t obvious, i.e. Indication of completed sections would be useful, so the users won’t get confused
• Users would like to see further explanation about the content of each section, before they click and go through the questions
• There is too much use of the orange colour. Reducing it to clickable elements only will highlight their importance
• The font used is too small to allow accessibility
• Extensive questionnaire broken down into sections with related items grouped. Each section has got a time frame indicator and section complete icon; Users can navigate in their own preferred sequence
• Simplified view with clear navigation, fewer calls to action, plenty of space to reduce distraction
• Multiple ways of achieving the same goal, i.e. users can select both from the list and the body model
• Credibility boost by adding an image of one of the physiotherapists from the Good Boost Team. This is simulating the experience the users would receive when facing towards an actual physiotherapist
Further Development/ Next Steps
• High contrast version of the app for visually impaired users
• 'Highlight' option for questions that require further assistance or consultation
• Mobile phone version of the app for users to track their progress at home
This was my first UX project. Hence, the learnings were unprecedented. Every step I took consists of invaluable lessons. For example, during the interviews with study participants, I was wary of asking leading questions. That’s why I did ask them broader questions instead and in return received convoluted answers. Last but not least, I was worried of presenting unfinished and unpolished work to the client. Therefore, I missed the opportunity to receive frequent feedback by the stakeholder, which could have advanced my ideas at an earlier stage.
For confidentiality reasons I have omitted some of the details of this project.