Gold for outstanding user experience

Paraplegic app awarded at Digital Economy Award

Our prototype for an app for the prevention of pressure points makes everyday life easier for wheelchair users and paraplegics. We developed the prototype in a research project together with Swiss Paraplegic Research. At the Digital Economy Award in November 2018, the project won a gold certificate for its outstanding user experience.

Pressure sores are one of the most common complications in people with spinal paralysis. These bruises are extremely painful, lengthy to treat and can result in expensive hospital treatment lasting several weeks. During rehabilitation, those affected receive recommendations for the prevention of pressure sores, but some of them implement them inadequately after leaving the hospital. As part of a study, we developed a smartphone app that offers patients personalized support in preventing pressure sores.

Helping people to help themselves

The value of the app lies in the prevention and better treatment of developing skin pressure points. It enables users to behave correctly and helps them to monitor their skin condition. With a built-in messenger device, they have the possibility to contact local and specialized health professionals in case a pressure spot should occur despite their efforts.

Our prototype is precisely tailored to the needs and limitations of the paraplegic target group and is unique in the world due to the direct, secure and encrypted connection of healthcare professionals. None of the currently available apps in this sector offer such extensive functionality and none of the other apps offer integrated, secure and privacy-compliant communication with healthcare professionals from the region.

Awarded for outstanding user experience

At the Digital Economy Award in Zurich in November, the jury honored the prototype with a Gold Certificate in the category "Highest Digital Quality". This award for the user experience and the design process is well deserved. The creation process is a prime example of the optimal involvement of users in the design process.

From day one, we have permanently integrated the future users into the design process. This really helped us to understand their problems and to develop an app that is actually useful in everyday life. The design was refined in two iterations and tested with users from the target group at the end of each iteration. We observed the 20 users, animated them to think aloud and then interviewed them. In addition, a co-design session (design studio) with future users took place at the beginning of the design work.

Accessible thanks to Chat Bot

A group of paraplegics has limited hand motor skills. We have discussed but rejected an enlargement of all buttons beyond the usual extent. For an optimal user guidance, we used a Conversational User Interface. In addition to classic navigation, a virtual coach can guide users through the contents and functions of the app. All main use cases are accessible via a classic menu navigation as well as via a voice interface.

Our UX Architect Adrian Heydecker presented the advantages of a conversational interface over a classic graphical user interface at the World Usability Day at the beginning of November. Adrian led the entire design and usability process for the prototype.

Find the World Usability Day poster illustrating the project here (German).

Find a short teaser video with an example interview with the coach here.

The next step is to expand the concept and close gaps so that the prototype is ready for implementation.

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