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I am sketching the user flow for a new feature of a fitness/medical recovery application that is using hardware sensors to monitor the way the user is performing certain fitness exercises.

In order for the user to begin the training he has to perform certain tasks before:

  • position the sensors (two sensors) on the body or on a limb (i.e hand scenario), above and below the elbow
  • be sure that the sensors are in a certain position (there are some LEDS* on one side of the sensors and they must face up)
  • have the sensor centred on the body or on the limb
  • strand the straps so the sensor/s does not fall off

If I place all of this in a single screen I am afraid there may be too much information and the screen may end up with a high cognitive load. I would like to split this in multiple screens and after the user goes through this at least 2-3 times, wrap it up in a single screen as the user will be familiar with the process.

Currently I am in an argument regarding splitting the screen, as mentioned above. The team has a solid point against splitting the screen into mutiple screens: the "onboarding process" until the user can start training, beside this screen, contains 6-7 more screens. From these 6-7 screens at least 4 require the user to do at least one action (i.e. move a the limb with the sensors).

If the user does not perform these tasks successfully the hardware device won't track his movement therefore the tasks are mandatory. From my point of view, I'd rather have the user go 1-2 times through a longer flow and be able to successfully use the product rather than keeping it simple and confusing the user.

Important: Our users are of an older age demographic therefore everything must be as simple and clean as possible.

What would be the best approach to keep the process as short as possible while maintaining its usability? I haven't seen any other application that has anything as complex as what I mentioned above.

*the LEDS task is tricky because it is not too visible on the sensor. Beside the phrasing "LEDS must face up" is confusing. Last but not least, our users may not even know what's a "LED".

  • Related question – Perceived speed - single question, multiple screens vs multiple questions, fewer screens, ux.stackexchange.com/questions/124063/… – Ren Aug 21 at 9:48
  • Is this a mobile or a desktop application? Do the screens have heirarchy? – Ren Aug 21 at 9:52
  • @Ren It is a mobile only application. – Darkkz Aug 21 at 11:31
  • Is the user walked through the process by a healthcare professional or other helper at any point? If not, can you include a video? I know that my grandmother would be unable to follow what you are describing based on text alone. – ph33nyx Sep 16 at 17:49
  • @ph33nyx Some may be walked through, some may not. I cannot rely on third parties to properly onboard the user therefore I want everything to be as simple as possible. This is one difficult task, I must admit. – Darkkz Sep 16 at 21:05
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Considering demographic section, you must show every action on a seperate screen like a wizard. Because it's v v imp to get all things attached precisely to get correct results. Your app's main USP is to show correct measurements.

imp - please show small gif instead of just plain text for every action.

Whoever has selected to use this app won't mind going through detailed steps rather than using it intuitive way and failing.

Then you can have options on main screen where user can either choose to prepare himself with detailed steps or can directly jump to excercise.

  • That is what I was thinking as well. On the small test pilot the team did, for the onboarding/start training process the feelings where mixed. I mostly blame this on the bad design that's currently in the app. The current flow is.."few screens with a lot of stuff in them". I truly believe that for the elders explaining step by step may be the key. – Darkkz Aug 21 at 14:07
  • I am splitting this in multiple comments due to characters limitation. Anyway, another thing that you said that cought my attention - "Whoever has selected to use this app won't mind going through detailed steps rather than using it intuitive way and failing." - the team told me that they encountered users which where pressing "next" or taping buttons in the onboarding without actually reading. I blame this on the poorly designed version that it is now live but if I will face this I have to figure out a way to tackle with this - making the user pay attention and actually read stuff. – Darkkz Aug 21 at 14:08
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    For making users pay attention for the first time you might want to add some sort of gamification like - instead of next button ask user to spot an imp point on screen which is central to the concept eg. Tap sensor attached to limb. This will ensure users are actually going through instructions. But this is tricky. Overdoing might frustrate users. – Omkar Chogale Aug 21 at 15:22
  • The idea with "tap" on the sensor is really nice, haven't thought about this. Probably refined for elders (making things bigger and rephrasing tap?) may become a great feature. – Darkkz Aug 21 at 16:09
  • I think the main thing will be to use video/gif/pictures instead of relying on text to communicate the steps. Also, it will be essential to look at ways of giving feedback to the user as they progress. Always keep in mind the issues faced by your older users, poor vision, poor hearing and reduced fine motor skills, as well as less knowledge of technology. – ph33nyx Sep 17 at 13:41
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I would argue that it's very hard to know how your audience will respond to your (somewhat involved) setup process.

That being said, one of the versions you describe (the kind where each step in the process is on a single view, in sequential order), will give you feedback as to where users are struggling – either through in-person user testing, or via analytics (when do most people slow down / abandon the process), and the other will not – if everything is on one view, how do you know which aspect is giving the user trouble?

Until you have a really clear idea of the difficulties folks have, and how best to solve them, you may be better off segmenting, just for the opportunity to test / understand the process.

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    Indeed, segmenting would ease the troubleshooting - even more as currently there's no tracking/heatmap implemented. So far we discussed with the users after they used, and that's why we figured out with what step they had problems. Basically they would simply say "I had problems placing the sensors" or "Attaching the straps". – Darkkz Aug 28 at 13:30
  • Attaching the straps my be an issue of physical coordination, especially if they are trying to attach to an arm. Can the sensors go onto a sleeve or brace instead of just straps? or something like this: amazon.com/Tomight-Elbow-Brace-Tennis-Compression/dp/B01M0F5IA4/… – ph33nyx Sep 17 at 13:45
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I would create a prototype and test it myself, as it seems like you would benefit from talking to your potential users.

Test the two types of flows or start with the one you think is best. I would test with about 4-5 people. This way you get insights into what your users know and how they perceive your app and they most likely provide feedback you would not think of yourself.

  • And should this be applied even to the elders? From my point of view, yes, it should be applied to the elders as well, as they are the user base. The management has a different opinion. LE: Different opinion as in: the elders do not have the patience nor the IT knowledge to be bothered with user tests/prototypes so let's just let them use the product to recover. – Darkkz Aug 28 at 13:34
  • Yes I would also test it before implementing on the elders. If you have ability to deploy a new build quickly, then go for it, but it seems like it is about opinions, so I would argue to test. And I would argue it it better to test (eg. in a semi controlled environment) when you believe your user is in a certain way (less it knowledge) to actually see if that is the case. – Michael Laugesen Aug 28 at 13:39
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I would recommend breaking the up the onboarding tasks and find a way to reward the user after each task i.e.; confirm that the sensor works. Break the steps down to the most important/necessary for optimal experience. It's better to have the user get it right the first time than having them go through the onboarding process a second time will definitely lead to frustration. Small wins with a big payout in the end would make for a winning formula.

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