Welly Village - Product Design

Welly Village is a platform designed with the aim to improve personal quality of life through wearable and tracking technologies. The whole platform user experience has been designed through a user centred-design approach and by leveraging on behavioural change and persuasive design theories.

The Challenge

In recent decades, life style as emerged as important factor influencing health of people. The majority of people would like to address a healthier lifestyle, but they are blocked by several factors: lack of willpower, existing health conditions and mainly past failures.

That’s why Thread Solutions, the company I work for, decided to create WellyVillage, a platform that aims at encouraging a healthier lifestyle through the use of wearable devices.

Welly Village is the business result of a research project, started in 2015 by Thread Solutions, called Wehmix (WEarable Human Machine Interaction user eXperience for Healthcare) to which I had the opportunity to partecipate defining a set of guidelines for designing digital experiences within the world of eHealth and wearable devices based on a previous user research and an analysis of the existing literature about designing for behaviour change.

My Role

Within Thread Solutions as a User Experience designer, I am currently leading the user experience design activities of Welly Village, from the discovery phase until the prototyping and testing phase.

User Research

Through these models of investigation we have tried to investigate the relationship between people and healthy lifestyle. More in detail, investigating present and past experiences, we tried to:

  • find out if there is a real willingness to achieve a healthier lifestyle
  • investigate the main problems encountered in trying to achieve their health-related goals
  • understand more in detail the motivations behind the desire to change lifestyle
  • understand the relationship between people and wearable devices

  • Desktop research (netnographic research)

    Being completely new to the fitness and healthy lifestyle world, and unaware of almost anything about wearable device I had to start from the basics. I did a lot of research online and I joined several facebook groups and followed some instagram hashtags and fitness gurus. From here I mainly understood two things:

  • There are a lot of communities that are emerging around the world of wearable devices. Those communities are mainly revolving around the challenge, celebrating the results and sharing experiences.
  • There are a lot of support groups and hashtags revolving around the idea of the “fitnessfamily”. Here people mainly share their experiences and results.

  • Survey

    To analyze the problem based on real data we conducted a quantitative/qualitative research through a survey that was sent out over social media, in order to reach as much people as possible. This are our key findings based on 131 responses:

  • Most people would like to address a healthier lifestyle and most of them already tried to do it in the past.
  • Just 5 people out of 131, said they did not need to improve their lifestyle.
  • There are several and different reasons why people would like to improve their lifestyle: for a matter of physical appearance, staying healthy to avoid problems in the future, managing stress and keeping an existing pathology under control.
  • Most people stopped using monitoring systems because they did not stimulate them to do more and in general in the long run they were forgotten.

  • Interviews

    After the survey we had a clearer picture of the problem. We therefore decided to deepen it through interviews. We asked some questions to 15 people who were selected in the most heterogeneous way possible to remain consistent with the target.

  • The recurrent elements emerged from this interview are the following:
  • people are unaware of the risks related to an unhealthy lifestyle
  • people are unawareness of the benefits that a healthy lifestyle can bring to body and to the mind
  • difficulty in keeping motivation high and staying constant
  • the general desire to improve their lifestyle
  • People are demotivated due to failures in past experiences
  • Most people failed in the past because they set high goals in very short timescales
  • The motivations that drives people are different: for a matter of physical appearance, staying healthy to avoid problems in the future
  • Most people said that they cant stick to a healthy lifestyle because of the time. Investigating further it turned out to be just an excuse and a matter of routine and habits.

  • Segmentation

    After defining the target audience: sedentary, elders and sporty people, we decided to segment this heterogeneous target in order to collect other datas. 
We clustered our audience in 3 distinct ways though:

  • life-cycle (junior worker, senior worker and retired)
  • mental models (the lazy, the demotivated and the sporty)
  • Digital literacy index
  • Within the user modelling phase we then crossed and merged the data and information collected to base the development of the various assumptions. Segmenting by merging and overlapping the digital literacy index and the generational cohort variable has allowed me to experiment a new method that, within the modelling phase, has proved to be very useful in profiling a very heterogeneous target and to understand the main general characteristics that would have had the experience.

    User modelling

    In order to merge and contextualise all the data and the information gathered, we developed some personas models and empathy maps that we verified through guerrilla tests.

    Problem Definition

    People would like to improve their lifestyle but after a short time or even before starting, they give up and abandon their wearable devices because they feel they will never reach their goals. Many of the obstacles in addressing a healthier lifestyle that we find out through the user research, are mainly related to routine and habits. Two factors very difficult to break up. However, persuasive design theories, have proved to be very useful. I explored this topic in some articles that you find right here.

    Goals and Experience strategy

    Thanks to the upfront user research, the user modelling and the user story mapping we could clearly identify the audience needs. We could then define the project goals and the strategy to reach them.

    Motivating people who have already tried to improve their lifestyle in the past and failed


    By turning the major goal into short-term goals milestones

    Keep users committed in the long run


    By integrating some gamification mechanism and by implementing computer-human dialogue support in a manner that helps users keep moving towards their goal

    Keep users involved regardless their level of physical activity


    Setting up adaptive goals that allows the user to increase or decrease the level of difficulty

    Make sure that the product can be used by users with different digital literacy indexes and ability


    By applying the rules of accessibility and universal design

    Merging technology into users’ everyday life


    By leveraging on the data collected by the use of the product itself

    Ideation and Prototyping

    After defining the main functions and characteristics in the ideation phase we could then define the information architecture and model the interaction flow.

    We then turned those materials into paper prototypes that we tested through the rapid prototyping technique in two ways:

  • within the team through heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough
  • with 3 potential users per 4 iterations through moderated usability testing