UX & Web Development

Getting User Data from Orthoses

For this project by a PhD student at TU Berlin I designed and developed a website for patients that have to use orthoses, a structure that stabilizes and protects injured body parts. The website is used to upload usage data from an orthosis and gives feedback to the patient. It is an integral part of answering the main research question of the doctoral thesis.

Very often the strict guidelines of wearing orthoses are not followed by the patient and so lead to a decelerated healing process. Laura Doria researches on explaining and further neglecting this problem. Therefore a sensor laden device is being placed on the orthosis to collect data of usage. When I joined the project I became fully responsible for creating a web-interface and database as the main intersection point between patient and researcher. The patient connects the orthosis-device to a computer once a week. The patient then logs into a website that automatically transfers the user data to a database, evaluates the results and displays the usage of the last seven days back to the patient. While uploading, a form is presented that has to be filled out in order to see the summary of the usage. The original concept follows the question if a positive or negative response does have any impact on the time the orthosis is worn.

Back-end development

The project introduced me to Arduino and Python programming. I quickly got an insight into the possibilities these tools offer: First I used an Arduino to simulate the intended orthosis-device, which was still in development and therefore could not be used in its original form. Python was used to control the communication between website and the Arduino and to have a central hub between the web-interface and the Django database.

Front-end development

For the website I used JavaScript with jQuery for UI animations. Doing back-end and front-end development simultaneously, and working closely together with Laura, helped me identify possible problems very fast, allowing for a very agile development process.

User interface

When designing the website it was very important to create a very simple structure and interface. No distractions should keep the user from filling out the questionnaire. And no element should raise any questions about how to use it. As a result, there is no menu and only one button on each page. Constant feedback makes sure the user knows about what is happening while filling out the form. Intentionally, there is no active interaction with the status bar and the results are shown as soon as the questions had been answered by the user.
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Header photo by Tomek Tuz