Case Study

GoDesk - Reducing Sedentary Behavior

GoDesk is a smart desk gadget that reduces the sedentary behavior in white-collar workers by nudging the users to sit less.

View Presentation



Project Type & Deliverables

UX Design

Product Design

Formative Research

Usability Testing

Project Details

My Role — UX Designer

Project Duration — 6 Weeks

Team — Ashish Durgude, Akshay Yelmar, Abhinav Sikharam


We needed to select a topic from one of the IU grand challenges for our midterm project, and we chose precision health. In precision health, we chose type 2 diabetes as an area to do this project.

Why type 2 diabetes?

The physical inactivity in white-collar workers is observed mainly due to their sedentary job nature, making it challenging to stay active during office hours and avoid health risks such as developing type 2 diabetes.

1 in 3 U.S. adults has pre-diabetes and is at high risk of type 2 diabetes.

National Diabetes Statistics Report (2017)

People diagnosed with diabetes incur on average $16,750 annually in medical expenses

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Why did we choose white-collar workers as a user?

According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950. White-collar workers have a sedentary job that leads to a sedentary lifestyle, and because of it, they have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What was my task/work?

As a UX Designer (student), my job was to understand the project objectives and work with other teammates to solve the issue by following the user-centric design process.

Problem statement

How might we design technology to address physical inactivity in white-collar workers?


GoDesk is a solution that combines a smart desk gadget and a smartphone app. It nudges users to sit less and keep physically active by suggesting different activities and keeping track of it.

Skip to Design Process

Key Features

Showing Recommended Activities

The app recommends various activities to the user based on their sitting pattern and physical profile.

Providing Meaningful Insights

Users can track their activity data using the app. The app interface provides users with simple, meaningful insights.

Unobtrusive, Subtle Nudges

The user gets notified via device if the user has been sitting at the desk for too long.

Want to experience above key features by yourself?

No worries!! Have a look at InVision prototypes

Onboarding Experience

Regular User Experience

Design Process

Formative Research

We started with our initial research about the problem space by going through multiple research papers, articles online about the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. We also interviewed two experts from this field who provided their perspectives on such a complex issue and helped us analyze the depth of the problem. We aimed to find out existing solutions, the persistent challenges, things that worked and didn't work, and why. From these activities, we were able to familiarize ourselves with the problem, which helped us plan our user research. We did a whiteboarding session to determine the causes, symptoms, complications, and risk factors of type 2 diabetes.

User Interviews

We brainstormed and formulated the interview protocol with particular objectives for the type of data we were looking for. We then conducted semi-structured interviews with the six participants that matched our target user group - 'white-collar workers.' During our interviews, we focused on learning the following things about the target user:


Food habits


Knowledge about Type 2 Diabetes


Level and types of Physical activity


Stress factors


Motivations/frustrations associated with the use of existing technology in this space


We also conducted six observations where we observed the behavior of our target users in their natural setting. During each observation, we took down the notes and depicted the scenes in rough sketches to record our sessions. The observations helped us analyze the behavior pattern of the users in the office environment.

Analyzing the collected data

Once we finished our data collection, we performed an analysis method to make sense of all the gathered information. We collaboratively conducted an affinity diagramming session to find emergent themes and patterns among the data.

We discovered following three key problem areas from our primary research

Physical Inactivity

Due to sedentary lifestyle, white-collar workers deal with physical inactivity

Unhealthy Diet

White-collar workers often compromise diet due to their busy schedules

Lack of Awareness

White-collar workers are not aware of type 2 diabetes

Empathy towards users

We then constructed an empathy map from the data collected during our user interviews. This exercise helped the team empathize with our target users and understand their behavior, motivations, and frustrations.
We then took a closer look at the empathy map and analyzed data collected from user interviews. Based on that data, we could formulate two user personas that represented our potential target users and captured their needs and frustrations. These personas served as a reference point for all of our next design activities.

User Persona

After getting data and insights from research and empathy map, we created personas that represented our potential target users and captured their needs and frustrations.


The findings generated from our data collection informed our ideation phase. In this phase, we conducted three brainstorming sessions to generate a wide range of ideas. We formulated several 'how might we' statements to give directions to our ideation activity during our brainstorming sessions.


How might we help users to follow a healthy diet?


How might we increase awareness and knowledge about type-2 diabetes in white-collar workers?


How might we notify users to take breaks after regular intervals?


How might we help users track their eating habits without being intrusive?

Once we had a list of ideas to choose from, we discussed each idea's merits and shortlisted the following three design concepts that had great potential to be explored further:

Social App

Desk Gadget


We then explored each idea in more detail and evaluated it from a business and technological feasibility standpoint. After thoughtful discussions and weighing the trade-offs of pursuing each concept, we decided to move forward with our second design concept. We revisited our research insights and target user personas to refine our design challenge to the following opportunity statement: How might we design a technology to address physical inactivity in a white-collar worker?

Final design direction for the MVP

A smart desk gadget that nudges users to sit less and helps track activities with the help of a mobile app.

User journey

Now that we decided to have a tangible device and mobile app as a solution, we started working on the flow that the user will experience through our solution. Below I have shown the user flow that we finalized for our design solution.

Early sketches of tangible device

Application wireframes


Once we had a clear picture of how the device and app were going to work together, we materialized our explorations into a prototype. For the Device prototype, we 3D printed the model and placed the required electric circuits. For the app prototype, we converted our wireframes to high-fidelity mockups and created an interactive prototype.

Device Prototype

Visual Designs


Since we had a novel design direction, we wanted to test it with our target users to gather useful feedback and find key usability issues. The evaluation of the design was necessary to learn how real users would interact with the system. Once the prototype was ready for testing, we had some objectives for the evaluations, and we needed answers to the following questions:


How are the users feeling while using the product? Angry, frustrated, motivated? Can we measure the emotional aspect of the design?


Is the nudge enough to move them from one place?


What are their thoughts on visual feedback/light indicators?


Does it address their pain points? Did the system behave as per their expectations?


Does the user correctly understand feedback (lights/nudging)? Measure the learnability aspect.


How was their first-time experience? Were the instructions clear? Was it easy to set up?

Think-aloud exercise

We conducted a think-aloud exercise with our participants using the prototype. Participants were asked to express their thoughts while interacting with the prototype. We used the Wizard of oz technique to control the prototype's behavior as per user inputs.

Key findings

From our think-aloud sessions with the users, we recorded the following key findings:


During the onboarding process, the system should provide additional information to give context to why the height/weight information of the user is being asked.


The units of measurements for entering height and weight should offer alternatives to the user. For Example, offer both options of entering height in centimeters as well as in feet and inches.


The system did not inform the first-time user about the time duration of the snooze. The user wanted to change the snooze time duration, which is currently 15 minutes.


Users found the activities section easy to understand and were successfully able to track their activities. We received positive feedback from the user on the insights provided in the activity section.

Future Directions

From our think-aloud sessions with the users, we recorded the following key findings:


Add Animations – Emotional Interaction


Improve Insights


Suggest Healthy Habits

Learnings from This Project

I learned how to deliver a user-centered solution while envisioning the end to end product strategy. The challenging part about this project was comprehending the complexity of the issue and then narrowing it down to focus on the core underlying problem that we wanted to solve. When we had multiple design directions to choose from, it was tempting to add features to our product. However, I learned to let those things go to focus on one core functionality that defined the identity of our product.

It was the first time I had worked on a tangible product. I stepped out of my comfort zone of designing for screens and applied the classroom learnings to define physical device interactions.

Thank you for reading this project

Also, check out these awesome projects

Improving Usability of Entity Browser

UX Design Internship @ Nutanix (Summer 2020)

Balancing News Bias on Facebook

Indiana University