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Utilizing design methods in shaping business with Vointy

Vointy, a health technology start-up company from Oulu, Finland teamed up with Etteplan to bring a health and wellness application of a whole new breed to the market. Instead of focusing on personal performance metrics and competing in the fragmented and saturated market of wearable technology the application is aimed at employers and their human resources development.

The Vointy application gathers well-being data from employees and crunches the numbers to a bite-sized format known as Vointy Wellness Index. This index provides valuable information for the user and human resources to monitor and improve their employees’ well-being. The application also has a social dimension: the employees can create activity challenges for each other and post the best experiences to the company’s internal social feed.
 

Modeling the business with design methods

The cooperation started with a pre-study project gathering the right people around a rough idea of a platform that enables companies to develop their personnel’s holistic well-being. The well-being of employees also reflects the level of satisfaction and productivity which both directly affect the company results.

“We had a preliminary discussion about different ideas and approaches”, says Hanna Remula, Head of Design, Cloud and Applications at Etteplan. “In the early phase we decided to apply design thinking methods and gather insights about the end-user needs for health tech services”, she continues.

Vointy also used their own network to map out the insights of human resources professionals’ needs and wishes. With a business idea and preliminary insights gathered, Remula carried out a workshop with Vointy to gain an understanding of the product vision on a more detailed level.

The workshop crystalized that the desired drivers for the solution are personalization, friendly and guiding tone of voice, learning algorithm, and social user engagement. These were the guiding principles of planning and wireframing the main features of the first application version.

Also, gamification was a valuable tool for the user experience design to find hooks and patterns for users to build an emotional connection with the application. As is typical for design pre-study projects, the outcome was shaped iteratively during the design process.

Due to the broad demographic variety of the user group the look and feel of the application also needed to meet certain targets. Despite being an application that tracks users’ performance the visual design could not be too techy not to feel uncomfortable for people that are not tech-savvy.

“Friendliness, warmth and inclusivity were the main design drivers”, explains Janne Suontaus, a Senior Visual Designer at Etteplan. “The application stands out from most well-being applications with its playful and low threshold visuals”, he continues.

Vointy was so satisfied with the results of the pre-study that they agreed to deepen the partnership with Etteplan and go to the market with the new platform.
 

Agile project model for agile development

The development project started by using the pre-study results as a definition for the minimum viable product.

“The project model was tailored to meet the requirements of modeling a new business, and to listen to Vointy’s needs for the development model”, explains Anni Janger, the Project Management Lead at Etteplan. The product owner Riina Manner from Vointy agrees. “Project management has been precise, and everything from prioritization to schedules has been crystal clear the entire time”, she says.

The application is built using Flutter, an open-source framework by Google. Flutter-based apps are known for their smooth performance, which makes for great UX. Developing in Flutter is also very fast and efficient.

“But the biggest advantage of using Flutter is that it’s multi-platform and uses a single code base”, says Jussi Huhtala, Software Designer from Etteplan. “And testing and quality assurance are way faster due to the single code base”, he continues.

The application is now launched and market feedback is being carefully listened to. “It’s important to listen to users and validate which kind of development is needed so that the product will truly fulfill the needs of users," Janger explains. The feedback from users has been very encouraging and users have given lots of positive comments on both the application's features and the look and feel.

 

Target in the international market

“Our goal, in the long run, is to get a hold of the international market”, says Manner. “The platform is scalable and not limited by any borders”.

Scalability has been a main driver for the design and development process from the very beginning and the target was set to global markets, to begin with. The application is now available in stores and Manner looks to the future with wishful excitement.

“Of course, the application is still in constant development, but it really fulfills the original vision and we are really happy with the outcome”, says Manner. After a successful project, it’s easy for all team members to agree. “Remarkable about this project team has been that the team spirit has been exceptionally high, and communication has been really successful”, concludes Janger.

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Hanna Remula
Hanna Remula
Head of Design, Cloud and Applications