iHeart: How old are you on the inside?

You may have seen or heard of iHeart somewhere before, but let me show you in case you haven’t yet…

That’s right, Dragon’s den. Not only were Dr. Jess Goodman and Sarah Goodman on CBC’s hit show, but they were also offered 4 deals from the top investors!

They ended up walking away with $500,000 for 25% stake — close to what they had asked for! This deal was with Michele Romanow — founder of buytopia.ca.

Okay awesome, but why do they need you?

Great question. Sarah had come to us to help them redesign their mobile app. Although they had this huge success, they still had one important issue to resolve immediately.

Their sales started to increase almost immediately after airing on the Dragons Den, but with a growth in sales meant many more users. Now, this would be great if their mobile app had created the same experience the device provided.

This is where we came in, we needed to figure out the “now what” of the device and app to entice new and returning users. We found that user’s become very intrigued and excited to use the device, but when it came to using the app — it got a bit confusing and misleading along the way.

Hold on, what is iHeart?

iHeart is a personal health tracking device.

Allow users to get on their fitness levels with regular monitoring of the key factors that are strong indicators of your overall health. The iHeart Personal Health Tracking Device combines the power of a pulse oximeter and an Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity measurement device into one easy-to-use gadget to help users reach their optimal health. Users’ Internal Age is immediately calculated using Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity, blood oxygen levels, and resting heart rate. The data is then sent to your iOS device as well as your online dashboard for you to track and measure your progress.

What does research say?

Contextual inquiries, surveys, user interviews, secondary online research — you name it and it was done. What did we find?

  • Many people were confused by the internal age fluctuating so frequently
  • People did not understand what the age meant or was in reference to
  • 70% people who have not heard about iHeart would use a device like it
  • The targeted demographic of 45–60 year olds (baby boomers) were highly interested in using it
  • People were usually super intrigued and excited by the device until the end when they started to get confused

It all came down to people not understanding the end result of using the device once the app provided them with their internal age — and once they started getting confused the trust was gone for iHeart’s credibility.

As you can see from above, the user is enjoying the experience until they get the results and try to find out what the age actually means. This is the one area we found needed most improvement in terms of content and functionality.

What’s the strategy?

A lot of elements went into developing a strategy to help optimize the iHeart user experience.

First we wanted to take a look at some of the leading competitors in the health app industry. Currently, there are 165,000 health apps in the market and 35 of those apps make up 50% of the market!

With this in mind, we took a deeper look at some of the apps like Pacer, FitBit, Lumosity, LifeSum, Withings, Headspace and Misfit. Reason why we looked into these apps were to find out insights on how they engage their users, display their data, personalize the experience, and obtain sensitive information successfully.

Lumosity: One of their key features is they onboard users really well. A lot of times people tend to resort to a quick onboarding processes, but Lumosity has shown the industry that sometimes having a more thorough process can serve the company or app better. They educate users on what they do, how it works, the science behind them — all while gathering their personal information. Click here to read more about their onboarding process.

LifeSum: Other than having a smooth interface, LifeSum was really effective at obtaining personal information from users. Most people do not like the idea of filling out long and tedious form fields — LifeSum made this process smooth and seamless. They take each question and ensure users only focus on one at a time by introducing a question only once the previous one was complete.

Pacer: Here we look in to an app that has a lot going on, but manages very well to organize the data in an effective and efficient manner. They visualize all the user data's information in a way that is intuitive for people to understand — even with a glance.

The insights gained from looking into all these apps were something we wanted to take and apply when designing the new iHeart app. One of the key things I know from UX Design is to look at who is doing it well right now and use it — being original isn’t usually the best method without having extensive research behind you.

The Target Audience

If you recall, iHeart is targeting the baby boomers who are not becoming older as speak. A lot of the health apps out there right now are targeting the younger demographics — so they way they design their functionality and UI are different then how we plan to develop iHeart.

Elder people have abilities that decline with age. Specifically their eye sight is one of the key things to worsen as they get older. The eye loses its ability to focus quickly or to react to rapidly-changing brightness, they cannot see thin lines and cannot focus on edges and is difficult for them to distinguish between similar icons.

To dig a little deeper into this, older people avoid using technologies or products that are too complicated for them — they like familiarity. That is not to say they don’t want to learn new technology, but will only attempt to learn something new if they see the benefits.

So what does this mean?

In order for iHeart to be successful with the older demographic, the app needs to incorporate a key few features.

  • Larger text and items
  • Simple intuitive icons
  • Not a lot of swiping and pull out features, clicking is most intuitive
  • Simple language

To the drawing board

Once we started taking all the insight into consideration it was straight to the drawing board… literally.

And back to the drawing board again…

Figuring out what would make sense, the feature prioritization for the MVP, and the layout of the information — was not an easy task.

We constantly reconsidered the information we wanted to show and even obtain from the iHeart users. It was important for us to remember that this app was not meant for people to use for medical purposes — but more of a healthy lifestyle purpose.

But alas we came to what I consider a pretty damn good designed app — incorporating all the research and elements previously discussed.

Here is the user flow I created in order to begin implementing the design:

And here is the sitemap I created to help us plan out and visualize the flow of the screens:

The Design

Let’s get to the exciting part now…

Above are a few screens of the new design… compared to the old design below:

You will quickly notice a few things just by glancing between the two versions:

  • The app is now available in both landscape and portrait (not just landscape)
  • The font’s are bigger
  • The app is more intuitive for the demographic
  • It’s personalized for users and creates a welcoming feel
  • It motivates users to keep track of their activities and informs them on how to improve their internal age over time — providing support

Below you will find in-depth descriptions of all the features that were included in the new design:


But we didn’t stop there… we found through previous research done by iHeart that many users who carried the device around had one main issue. The issue was with the button on the device being pressed constantly and wasting the battery usage.

We ended up working with a UX / Industrial Designer, Jasmine Tiau. She helped us create a case for the device that can be personalized by colour and would help prevent that issue from occurring. In addition, she developed a few changes to the device itself in terms of material and functionality.

On the left you will see the cases made to prevent the button from being pushed as users carry around the device. On the left you will see a modified device, where the button is a bit flatter and the colour has been changed to a white to create a more welcoming feel for the device. In addition the material will be a bit more matte to give it that nice finished look. Thanks Jasmine!

As a result, we have created a new experience for iHeart that allow users to figure out the “now what” after using the device. We keep that momentum and excitement that users get when using the device all the way through to using the app itself. We have found through testing people have found the app intuitive — ensuring that it is in fact usable for our targeted demographic. So… what’s your internal age?
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