I am designing a medical application related to physical rehabilitation and I have hit a wall.

I have several screens in which the user will do several physical exercises - their rehab training. The screen is field with a lot of information like current progress, repetitions, set, angle at which their movement is tracked (through some third party device). I need to find a solution to explain what every information on the screen represent and how it interacts with the user's physical exercise.

Some of the information is more obvious, i.e. the repetitions as they are displayed as (rep: 2/5) but some of them may be more confusing (i.e. what those angles represent).

Taking into account that this is a closed circuit app*, that the users may not have any previous experience regarding rehabilitation training and that the age demographic goes up to 60 years, would a walkthrough of several steps fit this scenario? (with an option to skip and return to the tutorial at any time)

  • the app is available on the AppStore but it is useless without the third party devices therefore no random user will download it

I am asking this question as I have seen a lot of guides/tutorials/tips/advices on the web suggesting to avoid at any cost any possible walkthrough. While I understand this for general gestures, I believe that in this case no general user may be familiar with the information displayed unless they are having a background in the medical field.

I am looking forward to your answers.

3 Answers 3


I think a good starting point to this problem, is thinking about setting up the optimal conditions for the users to learn. Reducing initial anxiety is key for a successful user-initiated self-service experience.

A good idea when dealing with data-intensive apps is to include an initial assessment that gets the user to perform a set of actions in order to fill the app with the minimum amount of data needed to make sense of every part. Blank slate conditions, especially when dealing with targets and measurements can be a daunting scenario for any user, and while useful, placeholder information doesn't help to make any connections between what the user did and the response of the app.

The user's task is then to figure out how to minimize the discrepancy between what they just did and the targets the app has set for every action. This sense of direction, paired with specific relevant resources will guide the user into the self-service journey.

  • By initial assessment you mean an interactive walkthrough? Instead of static 'slides' that comes with a guide this seems indeed a better idea. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you for your answer.
    – Darkkz
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 12:39
  • I wouldn't call it a walkthrough though, I think it's more of an activity to prevent the blank slate situation. A calibration of some sorts, so that they don't start at 0 when interacting first with the interface. Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 13:53

It is very difficult to answer your question. But here my thoughts: The UI should be as easy and understandable to the users, so that a walkthroug is not necessary. This said, you should probably work on that screen an not on the help to that screen. You should ask yourself:

  • Is the information on the screen useful to the user?
  • Could some of the information be hidden and only displayed on request?
  • Could some (or all) of the information communicated in a different way e.g. angles as a picture of a body with the actual angles instead of a number.
  • Could the screen be splited to "This is your exercise" and "This is your progress" or similar?

Maybe this questions could help to come up with ideas to make the interface easier for the user and therefor make the walkthrough question obsolete.

  • I will focus more on making the UI easier to read, even as a newcomer. This may rise the necessity of adding some labels, as the UI is to a degree minimal. In regard to the beginning of your message, in general it is a difficult task, trying to avoid walkthroughs. Thank you for your answer.
    – Darkkz
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 12:42

Well, the introductory part to the application could be some kind of onboarding. Be it an in-person hand-held guiding through the app and its' various features or a digital slideshow-ish tutorial or video within the app, it will most likely not stick.

Without the proper context, it's almost impossible to explain everything to the user so that they'll understand everything from the get-go. That's why its crucial that the interface itself is as self-explanatory as possible while being careful that you don't throw too much information at once. Starting the "introductory" tutorial each time they have a question or are confused, can feel belittling or frustrating. "I should already know this and I must be stupid for having to go through this again"

  • While using your application, do the users have a way of teaching themselves to use it better?

  • Is every button, field, modal, view etc. explained somewhere unless it's super self-explanatory to all of your users?

  • Is everything visible to the user actually relevant or necessary? Can you remove elements from the UI while keeping it usable for your users?

In my personal experience, the best way to guide the user through complex tasks is with clear copy, proper labeling and the occasional tool tips when relevant.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.