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Designing a “non-medical” health app for Soturi

The most successful projects often come from the joining of different people. Here we're happy to reveal the story of our collaboration with another big team for vibrant and functional design for the Soturi, the new health app that helps people living with Parkinson's Disease.

Working on this project gave us the great chance to connect with the Healthware Therapeutics team with whom we created a one-of-a-kind app for Orion Pharma.

Teamwork makes it possible to share skills and experiences and create added value for all those involved as well as for the project itself.

The task of the "Dream team" - so named given the good feeling established from the very get-go - was to create a functional and easy-to-use user experience and an enjoyable and very friendly user interface for Soturi.

Soturi app screens

Over the last decade or so, we’ve seen significant progress in the evolution of digital health products and services, getting even more and more popular in the world. But we are used to seeing most apps with a very medical and professional approach that recreate that aseptic environment typical of when we go to a clinic or a physician’s studio.

Soturi, on the other hand, wants to revolutionize this approach by offering the figure of a "companion" to people with Parkinson's Disease, a daily guide that can support them at all times: from being adherent to therapy (medications scheduling, pill reminders) to tracking and managing of symptoms (motion data analysis, emotional support) to a physical and speech exercises programs.

The real challenge of the project was to design a health app that didn't look like a medical app.

During the UX research phase, this goal arose from the participants who expressed their discomfort in always and only feeling like patients. So we worked to make the mobile application experience as consistent as possible with this end.

To make the app able to give a pleasant sensation, we were inspired by leaves and flowers to bring a natural effect into the design that is very beneficial. We also used winding shapes and smooth lines to delimit visual areas, sections, and information. As for the colors, we dropped the idea of using the stereotypical blue and green of the health industry as the main colors, and we introduced a wider palette - where orange and purple and their shades are the colors used for the main functions of the app (e.g. buttons) - that allows to surprise users with ever-different visual solutions. Mixing shapes and colors gives the feeling of something new across all screens but consistent and belonging to the same design system anyway.

Soturi app screens

Further, in a full human-centered design approach, we avoided any specific visual reference that may directly evoke negative sensations or memories related to the disease. In this direction, a special icon system was designed for the symptoms. Based on semiotics and a chromatic approach, we studied and created six different symbols of the symptoms without representing the real state.

In designing the app, the team had to cope with another non-negligible aspect: all the possible physical and psychical Parkinson's symptoms - such as tremors, slowness, anxiety, visual impairments, etc. - can occur at any time. For this reason, we paid particular attention to every single detail to make the experience as less tricky and stressful as possible.

We carefully selected highly readable fonts, even studying the differences between the individual characters so that they're all distinguishable. User flows were simplified in order to propose one or a few actions at a time. We designed wide buttons and expanded the spaces between functionalities to ensure and help clickability, and a custom numeric keyboard was also developed with the same logic. Each icon, illustration, and graphic element was specially designed for the app.

Soturi app screens
Helping people and enhancing their quality of life is always fulfilling and enriching for us at Aurora.

Everything in Soturi app takes into account the specific needs of the special target audience. The final result is a mobile application with a solid user experience, marked by an airy light interface with bright and soft colors combination as well as a balance of colored and light backgrounds and lovely thought-out color accents, typography with solid readability, custom illustrations, icons, and catchy graphics, contrasting call-to-action buttons, easy onboarding process, smooth and clear animations.

Since the first testing, the app has been very successful and received a lot of positive feedback. Also, this project connected people located in different parts of the world, from Poland to Estonia to Italy, proving that great results can be achieved by joining forces and working remotely.

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