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This project began with a question that perhaps all of us have thought about 🫨: WHY is it always so hard to break free from prolonged sitting 👩‍💻 and get active 🏃? Is it truly because of a lack of time, motivation, and most people claim? 

about the project

This is a team project for the European Product Design Award. With a shared passion for healthy living, we strive to find practical solutions for the health issues that is commonly discussed but inadequately resolved. The inspiration stems from our personal experiences and observations of the prevalent issue of shoulder and back pain caused by prolonged sitting. Our goal is to dispel the long-time concerns about sedentary lifestyles and alleviate exercise fears by creating an experience that users can effortlessly engage in their favorite activities and craft personalized plans to seamlessly infuse movement into their daily routines. 

type of engagement

user researcher

ux designer

ui designer


6 weeks  (Jan-Feb. 2023)

project type

- user experience design


[why this project?]

The sedentary younger generation finds it challenging to address unavoidable sedentary behaviors through physical activities

The motivation for pursing this problem space came from conducting our sedentary research, where we surprisingly found that most people are well aware of prolonged sitting indeed leads to significant explicit and implicit health issues, and exercise is the best way to alleviate them. However, they struggle to get moving.

Working on Rooftop

The unavoidable reasons for sedentary behavior:

1. Work pressure 2. Lack of exercise 3. TV and gaming

Exercise Class

Exercise helps alleviate the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Despite being aware of it, there is still a significant issue of inadequate exercise.

By 2020, 70% of diseases were expected to be caused by prolonged sitting, making it one of the top ten killers.


after the age of 40, every 11 minutes of daily physical activity could extend life expectancy by 1.8 years.

+1.8 yr


StepUp is a mobile app that effortlessly assists the younger sedentary generation in engaging them in micro activities to stay active by leveraging a habit-building loop, and providing flexible choices.


Fully immerse in habit-building

Start from a small habit-building loop!

Establishing a long-term habit often feels challenging, but we help users start being active by completing small loops. 

  • Sedentary reminder

  • Real-time guide (video, voice, text)

  • Timely feedback

Speed start & Simple operation

Get your body moving as quickly as possible!

Set goals? Input information? No! Users simply need to choose their preferred exercise and press the start button to get moving.

  • Switchable activity cards

  • Video preview

  • Filter (duration, location, etc.)

Personalized micro-activities


micro activities into

your personal life

Users can input information about their daily routines and preferences, enabling the system to suggest personalized activities at the right time and place, seamlessly integrating them into their lives.

[design process]



  • desktop research

  • white paper research

  • user interview


  • user scenario

  • affinity map

  • emotion map

  • user journey map


  • brainstorming

  • psychology research

  • competitor analysis


  • taskflow

  • lo-fi prototype

  • mid-fi prototype

  • hi-fi prototype

  • style guide


  • cognitive walkthrough

  • usability test

[assumption 01]

Based on “01 time”, “02 motivation”, and “03 affordability”, we assumed user types and 3 potential journeys

We started by reading research on reasons behind people's "lack of physical activity, inability to meet exercise goals, failed workout plans, and unsuccessful weight loss programs". The 3 top reasons I found were lack of time, followed by lack of motivation and affordabilityWhile being skeptical, we can use them as references for the assumption.


The users might be...

a consistent exerciser,

physically conscious, or concerned but inert.



c journey 01.png
c journey 02.png


c journey 03.png

[user interview]

The impact of the "3 top reasons" has been answered, and also deeper underlying factors have been identified

To validate the assumption, 6 users were recruited, and questions were posed based on simulated journeys. We did the recording and analyzed it through repeated listening and affinity mapping. The process is understanding

  • their actual exercise habits,

  • the challenges they encountered,

  • their perspectives on exercising and sedentary behavior. 

Screenshot 2023-06-15 at 1.15.26 AM.png
Screenshot 2023-06-15 at 1.16.31 AM.png

quotes and summaries

affinity map


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"Habit" is the real problem

At first glance, time seems to be the issue, but the real challenge is the lack of an active habit. Those who are accustomed to sitting won't even consider standing, regardless of the available time.

emoji 033.png


"Enviroment" is important

Comparing to affordability, as a physical activity, the suitability of the environment and its inclusiveness towards exercise can either serve as motivation to be active or as barriers preventing movement.


"Motivation" is fleeting and replaceable

Motivation is just the key to start, and if moving body is not the only way to achieve the goal, it will be replaced easilyAs a result, people often choose more attractive and easier options over physical activities.

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"What" and "How" is key for sustainability

Understanding the true needs and aligning them with actions is crucial for long-term sustainability. What drives people to take action is the detailed steps that have a clear relationship with the goal.

It still seems hard to establish a unified user profile and journey so far 🤯. Let's update the assumption and try a new way to analyze it! 💡

[assumption 02]

Based on different "habits", we have reframed our assumptions by identifying 3 new user types and their corresponding journeys

Based on user research, we found that having a habit of staying active is the crucial factor. As a result, we need to update our assumptions considering the findings above, and created journeys corresponding to different user types.

b persona 01.png
b persona 02.png
b journey 1.png
b journey 2.png
b persona 04.png
3 journey 3.png

[new analyzing way]

3 design opportunities were identified 

Based on the user's journey, we identified shared goals and encountered challenges. By analyzing their actual behaviors and exploring their emotional experiences, we documented the underlying reasons. Finally, we summarized the opportunities at each stage for further consideration.

Screenshot 2023-06-19 at 3.59.26 PM.png

emotional map


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b emoji 02.png


Reminder and guidance

  • People, with or without symptoms, are concerned about the long-term effects of sitting and want to directly address it.

  • People would choose the most convenient, simple, and enjoyable exercise methods, based on timing, location and movement.


Diverse recommendations

  • Limited knowledge and lack of diverse experiences in exercise make people susceptible to factors that hinder action.

  • People need flexible exercise choices to reduce resistance and ensure sufficient physical activities.

b emoji 03.png
b emoji 04.png


Habits development

  • ​Habits, whether sedentary or active, influence the amount and frequency of physical activity people engage in.

  • The key to get moving sustainably is people need to cultivate a habit of being inclined to stay physically active.

one more thing!

Uneasy feelings hinder actions

  • People feel a deep concern and unknown fear about the their sedentary behaviors.

  • Some resistance comes from the guilty and disappointment people have after several failures of not meeting their plans and achieve goals.

How might we...
🔔 remind of users' sedentary situation and actionable steps 
🏃 suggest varied exercises for ample physical activity, 
🙋‍♀️ assist users in developing healthy habits over time?

[current journey]

We identified who we were designing for and the current journey

c ideation journey 01.png


quick ideas and 3 concepts

In the initial stages of ideation, to quickly grasp the design direction and open up possibilities, I engaged in rapid brainstorming sessions centered around 'how might we' questions. I represented them visually as color-coded thumbnails to share with my team. The 3 concepts are

  • Accurate detection and friendly reminders.

  • Rich exercise recommendations and flexible plans.

  • Fun and timely positive feedback.

Screenshot 2023-06-21 at 11.16.11 PM.png

thumbnail sketches

[psychology research]

design strategies have been determined

To make the concepts more concrete, we needed to identify specific design strategies. I documented the information I collected on sticky notes in FigJam for easy collaboration with my team. I conducted detailed research and organization on

  • harmful effects of prolonged sitting

  • ways to alleviate those effects

  • habit formation

Screenshot 2023-06-21 at 11.31.21 PM.png

habit-building theory research

[competitor analysis]

functions have been determined

To refine the design, I analyzed both direct and indirect competitors who share our purpose, strategy, and target user base. With the "How Might We" questions in mind, I determined the corresponding essential features and corresponding functions for the product.

Screenshot 2023-06-22 at 12.21.03 AM.png
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how might we ➡️ features ➡️ functions

[ideal senario]

Merge the habit-building loop into a single move to complete one quick micro activity at a time

ideation journey 02.png

Great, finally got the ideas! Let's bring them to life! 💡 

[design concepts]

✅ Simple

Minimize unnecessary actions and keep the user focused on the activity.

👂👁️ Immersive

Enrich the process of each exercise, guide users with information, and immerse them in every activity.

🤳 Personal

Users can independently choose to enhance their personalized experience once they are in an active state.

[key user flow]

taskflow 02.png

[lo-fidelity prototype]

lo-fi wireframe 03.png


Based on various feedbacks from 4 users and our professor, we made 3 rounds of iteration.


Alright here comes the final design 🎉

[style guide+UI kit]

The style guide and UI Kit is a compilation of existing UI elements on the website that provides references for future design and collaboration for the design team.

style guide.png
UI kit.png

[final product]

final product 02.png


have fun with the clickable prototype!

Link to my full figma work file here

Link to our team's figjam discussion work file here

[key takeaways]

1. Find the most suitable solution to address specific problems: 


During the first round of user interviews in the project, we were surprised to find that the insights differed significantly from our initial assumptions. We couldn't immediately establish a unified user profile and journey. To tackle this, we revisited the problem's background and development and decided to create three user types and journeys. Analyzing their common behaviors and emotional characteristics, this unconventional approach proved to be the right solution. It taught us the importance of adapting methods to the problem at hand, rather than relying on predefined formulas and techniques.

2. Thorough research enables the discovery of innovative solutions to recurring problems: 


In this project, we tackle a well-known and frequently discussed issue with numerous existing solutions. To provide unique insights and innovative approaches, our team extensively researched the root causes of the problem and thoroughly explored theories and competitor products during the entire journey from design opportunities to strategies. This method ensures that each idea is well-founded and referenced, aiming for original solutions to address the core problem while avoiding arbitrary design choices.

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