Motivating tweens to get active with a game-changing activity monitor

HopeLab

Research and Strategy
UX Design
Visual Design

Motivated to move

13.7 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are affected by obesity.

We worked with HopeLab to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity by finding ways to motivate kids to be more active. We spent time with kids in urban apartments, rural towns, and after-school programs across the United States; we saw patterns and identified reasons for why some kids were opting out of activity.

We generated a set of foundational behavior profiles that allowed us to create a wearable activity monitor, predating the days of Fitbit or Apple Watch. Our collaboration was so transformative that President Obama recognized HopeLab and Zamzee as a successful model of social innovation.

"To move me, first you've got to understand me!"

Demario

Turning patterns into behavioral profiles

Patterns identified through research led to us to a powerful framework of behavioral profiles. Creating these profiles helped us empathize with and design for specific segments of the market. We focused on motivating and engaging kids who were less active and were therefore more at risk for childhood obesity.

We realized the best way to engage kids was to embrace their passion for connecting with one another through technology. The resulting opportunities and design principles served as jumping-off points—and guideposts—for a series of brainstorms.

Prototyping the first activity monitor

We created working prototypes based on our most pivotal discoveries. Our prototypes were used in an extensive clinical trial, and qualitative user feedback sessions informed iterations to the overall user experience. Before most of today's popular wearables were on the market, we were prototyping and creating an activity monitor that was tied to a rewards system.

59% increase in activity

Tweens using the product and service had a sustained 59% increase in moderate to rigorous physical activity compared to control groups. These outcomes captured the attention of President Obama, who celebrated HopeLab and this program as a successful model of social innovation in 2009.