Case study 2022
P-CONNECT

Overview đź‘‹

Problem

People have trouble stick to the home exercises between sessions due to the lack of engagement and inefficient communication with physical therapists outside of the clinic. They feel lack of motivation and afraid of hurting themseleves even though the in-between session exercises can largely reduce their in-person sessions at the clinic.

The current channels of assigning exercises outside of clinic are static and lack of feedback. One example is the two-dimenstional paper product clinic often used to assign exercises. Users have to recall their memories when exercises and have a hard time knowing if they preform the movement right.

The current communication between patients and physiotherapist are often via email or phone which is slow and inefficient to address specific questions thus users are tend to hold the exercises until the next session.

Background

During our preliminary research, we discovered that physical therapy is a rapidly growing industry, and people from all walks of life benefit from it. However, Adherence is the enemy of good clinical outcomes in PT. Only a estimated one-third of patients undergoing PT in-person complete their prescribed course of care. Patients complained about the affordability of physical therapy, limited time spent with a therapist, or simply not having enough time to fit physical therapy into their schedule

5,820,000

people seeking physiotherapy within the US per year.

41%

of people perceive physiotherapy to be the most effective when looking for long-term or drug-free pain relief options.

60%

percent of people only attend one or two in-person physiotherapy

How can we make outside-of-clinic exercise
more engaging and motivating?

Solution

We designed P-Connect, a mobile app that empowers our users by providing an interactive way to perform assigned exercises at home between in-person physiotherapy sessions. It enables users to know if they perform the exercises correctly as well as keep track their progress to keep them motivated. It also serves as a communication tool between users and their physiotherapists so that clients may address concerns about form and pain between in-person sessions.

My Role

Lead UX Designer, UX Researcher

Timeline

August 2022 - December 2022

Team Members

Druti Naik

Sydney Lodge

Plamen Tassev

Tools

Figma, Miro, Google drive

engaging exercise

The homepage displays the assigned exercises. Once a user clicks on the first exercise, their virtual physiotherapy session begins. The avatar will perform the exercises that the physiotherapist assigned. The bar illustrated will move depending on the exercise and turns when the user hits the desired movement. There is a button to sync a Spotify playlist so the user may perform the exercises with music. Importantly, users can mirror this application on their television screen.

customizable avatar

Users can choose a skin tone, eyebrow shape, mouth shape, hairstyle, outfits, and accessories that best suit them. This avatar will be used to show users how to do the exercises, so we gave users the freedom to represent themselves in their avatar. More options for outfits and accessories will be “unlocked” the more sessions that a client completes to encourage engagement and motivate users.

Chat with physiotherapist

The chat feature shows how physiotherapy clients and their physiotherapists can communicate using the mobile application in between in-person sessions. Users can send a text-only chat or attach a video that may better illustrate their concerns.

our approach

01  Define
02  research
03  design
04  evaluate
understanding space
survey
brainstorming
task-based user testing
defining project goal
semi-structured interview
User Flow
Feedback Review
secondary research
competitive analysis
Wireframe
project timeline
Persona
Style Guide
proposed methods
Interactive prototype

my contribution

During the research phase, I was in charge of competitive analysis. I also contributed to preliminary research, construct survey and interview questions, and interviewed potential users.
‍
As the lead designer in the team, I first facilitated a brainstorming session to engage everyone in generating innovative ideas. After that, I created sketches and storyboards to convey our design ideas visually. I am also in charge of deciding on the core functionality and main user flow. I then designed the user interface for creating avatars and exercise processes using Figma.

During the evaluation phase, I moderated user testing, made interactive prototypes, and walked the users through during the session.

research ✍️

Competitive Analysis

Features
· Demonstrated exercises and modifications
· Virtual Health coach
· Feedback from motion-tracking
· Personalized program
Features
· Guided live exercises sessions
· Real-time feedback on performance
· Live interaction and motivation from the instructors
· Work out with friends and others
Features
· Matched with a physical therapist
· Book appointments
· Deliver physical therapy at home
· Prescribe in-app exercise in
 between sessions
Problems
The function of points system is basic and it only adds points when you finish exercise but there is no use of the points.
Problems
Lack of direct communication between the instractors and users. Users can't get customized feedback.
Problems
There is no real-time feedback on users' movement when doing exercises

survey & interview

To better understand how people undergoing the current in-person physiotherapy session and identify potential problems, we conducted a survey and interviews. Our goal for survey was to collect data from participants who attended physical therapy for their chronic pain as well as recruite our target users for inetrview. We also conducted interview with both physiotherapy clients and physiotyerapist to get a full picture of the current in-person physiotherapy session.

interview with Physiotherapy clients

The team recognized many strengths in conducting semi-structured interviews and believed that it was important to interview people who had chronic pain and had been to physiotherapy.

Affinity Mapping
6
clients
99
notes

interview with physiotherapists

We chose to do interviews with physiotherapists because we understand that there are intricacies to physiotherapy that our team members do not understand. This expertise was necessary and only interviewing physiotherapy clients presented a one-sided picture.

Affinity Mapping
3
Physiotherapists
50
notes

key findings

After further analyzing data from our surveys, interviews, and affinity map, we found that:

Every patient's condition is unique
According to the research, money, time and transportation are barriers people face with in-person PT.
Patients trust the opinion of their physical therapists.
It is important for the patients that they perform the prescribed exercises correctly.
Exercises are heavily encouraged to be continued outside of the clinic.
People are motivated when they see progress.
Communication outside of the clinic between the physiotherapist and client is not sufficient for either party.
People are generally willing to track their health through technological interventions.

Design Requirements

When the team began this project, we thought that we might want to replace in-person physiotherapy altogether. After these interviews, we have better understanding of the problem space and acknowledged the importance of their work and the individual care and evaluation each client is given.

We have focused more on how to enhance virtual physiotherapy or exercise in between sessions to ensure that this reduction does not negatively harm physiotherapy clients’ long-term progress.
‍
Based on the findings, we identified specific functional and nonfunctional requirements that our design should reflect. They includes:

Functional Requirement #1
rich feedback

When doing exercises at home, patients receive virtually no feedback for the way they perform the exercises. Instead, they rely on what they remember from their sessions and on any materials provided by their therapists. Our intervention should provide feedback verifying if they perform exercises correctly as well as positive feedback when they make progress.

Functional Requirement #2
Track Progress

Our intervention should make people feel accountable for the work they’ve done. We found that people are motivated to go to in-person physical therapy and exercise outside of the office if they see progress and feel a reduction in their pain. Our intervention should allow users to be able to track and see how far they’ve made so that they can reflect on their journey.

Functional Requirement #3
effective communication

Our findings suggest that a lack of frequent communication between sessions leads to reduced efficiency long-term. The methods of communication that do exist tend to be taxing and are often avoided by clients. Our intervention will target this need so that there is improved communication for discourse between physiotherapists and clients. This may lead to better outcomes for physiotherapy patients.

Non-Functional requirement#1
motivating

Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are very powerful in driving the participant to complete their exercises and physical therapy. With this in mind, we intend to address motivation in our intervention. By doing so, we hope to further engage our users and remind them of their goals.

Non-Functional requirement#2
adaptable

Every person who needs physical therapy exercise has different needs, conditions, and goals. The intervention should allow users to customize their own journey to achieve the best result. This may include but is not limited to offering various exercises for different pain areas, and offering flexible time and plans for users to choose.

Non-Functional requirement#3
trustworthy

Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are very powerful in driving the participant to complete their exercises and physical therapy. With this in mind, we intend to address motivation in our intervention. By doing so, we hope to further engage our users and remind them of their goals.

Design 🪄

brainstorming

Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.

Crazy 8

We used the Crazy-8 method for our brainstorming session. We set a timer for eight mins and each of us drew eight sketches conveying our design ideas on the whiteboard. The goal is to come up with as many ideas in a quick time of manner. When the time is up, we each presented our eight ideas and we stared at our top five ideas on the whiteboard using different markers. Taking a closer look at each other’s ideas leads to a discussion of how to build on each other’s ideas and we ended up with eight final iedas.

Vraptor

BubbleHabit Builder

PhysioParty

Hub it

VRAPTOR is a jungle-themed VR game that users can immerse themselves in a jungle and do physical therapy exercises while playing fun games. The game will coordinate with the exercise moves and turn them into movements like swinging between branches or stepping away from the dinosaurs without waking them up. The game's difficulty will evolve as the user progresses and help users better perform the movement as they immerse themselves in the game.

Bubble Habit Builder is an app that allows you to set weekly goals and will send you daily reminders to finish the goal. If you didn’t achieve the goal you set up, there will be bubbles filling up the screen as time goes by and only showing the Bubble Habit Builder App. If you finish your goal, it will give positive feedback such as 10% off on online shopping websites.

Similar like Just dance, PhysioParty is a console game that allows people to do physical exercise in a fun way. There will be sensors that people can wear to capture movements and while they are doing movements, it will give feedback such as “Perfect” or “Good”. Users can join group sessions to exercise in groups and connect with other people who have similar issues worldwide.

An online community platform for physical therapy patients to find people alike and go through similar journeys. Users can find and join different meetup groups based on their interests and background, blogging about their PT journey, or read others’ blogs, as well as join in group exercise sessions to work out with other people

Videotherapy

Visiotherapy

P-Connect

Drop-in Pop-in

Videotherapy is a platform that allows users to record videotaping exercises while they are in physical therapy. The physical therapist has the ability to make commentary on their form, posture, position, etc while doing the exercise to ensure accuracy for when they have to conduct the exercise at home.

Visiotherapy is an app containing a series of physiotherapy exercises. It will allow the user to create their own carton figure when they start to use the app and that carton figure will be the figure in the videos demonstrating the exercises. As the users keep doing more exercises, the cartoon figure will also grow stronger and stronger to reflect user's hard word.

P-connect is an app that allow physiotherapists assign exercises to their clients. The exercises will link to video tutorials with modifications dependent on the individual’s physical abilities. It also allows the patients communicate with physiotherpists through a chat feature.

Drop-In Pop-In is a website that allows patients and their physical therapists to communicate effectively and conveniently outside of the office. The physical therapist can put their availability on the website so that the patient can pick the time slot if they have questions.

storyboard

P-Connet

“P-Connect” is an app that both physiotherapists and their clients will use. Physiotherapists can assign exercises through their portal and clients can access the exercises through their side of the portal. The exercises will link to video tutorials with modifications dependent on the individual’s physical abilities. A chat feature will also allow both parties to communicate with each other between sessions to address questions and concerns that arise.

PhysioParty

PhysioParty is a console game that allows people to do physio exercise in a fun way. Utilizing an extensive array of position sensors used by many video game consoles, our product can monitor the correct performance of the exercises while it giving feedback such as “Perfect” or “Good”. Users can join group sessions to exercise in groups and connect with other people who have similar issues worldwide.

Visual Style

The Visual Style for P-Connect was intended to provoke a feeling of warmth. Contrary to the cold and distant feeling of a clinic, we wanted our App to make users feel homey, relaxed, and comfortable.
We also wanted it to be fun and playful so that users were engaged and motivated to keep up with the exercises. The App contains muted colors and neutrals because we wanted to maintain a colorful and clean balance.
Also, because our target users are college students and working professionals, we want our App to remain a modern and youthful look. The app also contains simple instructions and since our target users have limited free time, we determined that it should be simple and intuitive to use.

Core functionality & User flow

Based on the design requirements, we decided on the core functionalities and mapped out the key user flows.

Pair with Physiotherapist
Prescribed exercises
Immediate Feedback
Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.
Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.
Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.
Gamified experience
Instant chat with PT
Progress tracking
Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.
Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.
Patients wanted to be reassured that they were recovering and making progress. This motivated them to overcome their pain and complete the exercises prescribed by their therapists.

High-fidelity prototype

onboarding

BEFORE:  Two dimensional paper product

AFTER: Customized figure leading the exercise and providing feedback on movement

Doing exercise

BEFORE:  Two dimensional paper product

AFTER: Customized figure leading the exercise and providing feedback on movement

Chat with Physiotherapist

BEFORE:  Lack of direct way of communication

AFTER: Send direct message to your physiotherapist and get quick response on confusions and gesture correction.

Customize Avatars

BEFORE: Static and standard figure

AFTER: Gamified feature that makes PT journey more personalized and motivate users

Evaluation đź“ť

Task-based usability testing
1hr session
4 Participants
Figma prototype

Findings

task 1
Create an avatar
task 2
Complete exercise
task 3
Send a message

Participants liked that you can customize the look of the avatar to make it look more like the user. That makes the character more relatable and easier to imagine that it's them

Participants liked that physical therapists could assign exercises via the platform.

Participants think it is useful to directly communicate with the physiotherapists and the feature make sending them videos and pictures much easier.

Participants wanted more customization options about the workouts

Participants wanted additional feedback from the platform when they did their exercises.
Participants wanted more guidance on how the sensor works

Participants are concerned about the effectiveness and efficiency regarding direct message communication.