ImpactHD is a health and wellbeing application designed for the Huntington’s community, informed by local and global research. It provides physical activities for gene-positive to mildly symptomatic individuals, their, supporters, family members and carers.
In order to best customise a routine appropriate for each individual, the ImpactHD app requires participants to set their own physical goals and select either a gym-based or home-based exercise plan (the app serves different content accordingly), on a customisable weekly schedule. To encourage social collaboration, an option to connect with fellow participants via Facebook allows users to track friend’s activity and provide encouragement at their achievements.
The design of the app is minimal but friendly, functional but fun, so a user can clearly identify where they are within the interface in any given stage of a daily routine, and not tire of continued exposure to the app’s appearance. The interface has been carefully optimised to ensure optimum usability on smartphones and tablets for gym use, and also scales seamlessly to full desktop browser proportions for home PC use. Little touches, like confetti droplets to celebrate milestone achievements, and variations in background colour themes, work to keep users engaged as they progress through their programmes.
Almost all of the ImpactHD content was developed in conjunction with a research team at Edith Cowan University, which took the form of video examples of the different exercises, and supplementary information or recommendations around ways to further tailor the exercise to suit the exact needs of an individual enrolled in the programme. Additional content can be written and saved by the user as reminders for subsequent sessions. The app exposes this wealth of information gradually, and as needed, so as not to overwhelm a user, and clever decisions were made with how best to approach screens with large amounts of content.
Due to the physical requirements on each participant asked by the content, there was a very strict matrix of allowed exercise progressions. Coupled with a wealth of customisation options and user input data, a comprehensive map of all possible combinations was created to ensure tolerances were adhered to.
Our ultimate goal was to provide a simple and motivating app environment. Due to the sensitivity of providing physical exercise recommendations for individuals with Huntington’s Disease, there were considerations to take into account as part of the onboarding process. Many iterations of storyboards were created to find the right balance of informing the user of the app’s function, allowing customisation for a tailored regimen, and requesting specific details required to allow the user to operate within safe physical exercise levels. To encourage users as they progress, the app periodically rewards users with achievement trophies. An underlying framework of exercise progression offers variety and a sense of progress to the exercise routines.
Designs and user flow prototypes were iterated upon multiple times as new considerations became unveiled throughout the course of the project. We moved from large, printed Sketch prototypes for internal and client-based discussion, to screen-based Invision Prototypes and feedback forms with a group of test users within the target audience.
Once the development build was ready for testing, the app was soft-launched as a beta to another internal group, with Hotjar feedback support throughout the entire app. This allowed subsequent bugs to be discovered and fixed prior to launch.
The app was built from the ground up in Laravel, with Vue.js providing the interactive daily exercise component. Participants also receive notifications from the app via email in accordance with their progression through the app, which are triggered by cron tasks. The decisions for the initial setup of development were reliant on the results of the design, user flow and content decision iterations that Bam Creatve worked through with the client and research team during the early phase of the project. The app was built from the outset to easily allow for future modifications or duplications of functions as new audiences are added to the ImpactHD programme. Specific functionality did change slightly at various points within the development timeline, but with this modularity and flexibility being in place, this was able to be weathered without significant issue.