Techies in Residence – An App for Young People with Arthritis

The Project:  Arthritis Care is the leading arthritis charity offering information and support to everyone affected by arthritis. They provide a number of online and face to face services to ensure that no one faces arthritis alone.

Arthritis affects young people, not only via physical symptoms such as sore joints and fatigue, but it also affects their mental wellbeing by making them feel isolated and “different”. This can also be complicated by the fact that young people often struggle to communicate with the doctor about their symptoms and their experience with medication, which can impact the effectiveness of their treatment and the time it takes to find the correct treatment plan.

Arthritis Care would like to create a digital solution that addresses both the ability to communicate information about their symptoms to the doctor and links them with a community of young people who are like them. They also want to make the experience positive and enjoyable, boosting morale by encouraging positive things that can be done, as well as the experience being interactive and “game” like.

The Challenge:  Arthritis Care will work with Blackstaff Games to find the best way to communicate digitally with young people who have arthritis, help them communicate with their doctor and to link them with others on a platform that is appropriate to their age.

The Solution: Together this team plans to develop a prototype app that intuitively tracks and displays information about a young person’s arthritis allowing them to positively take control of their disease, better communicate with others and improve their wellbeing

To be attractive to the young people, the design will be intuitive and will have an avatar based interface. The avatar will be personable and will provide tools for the young person to positively manager their condition and improve mental and physical well-being.

In the protype, the app will identify one symptom and one positive activity to track with the view to adding more features in the next stage once they have tested and refined the functionality and user experience.

The app can help the young person communicate with their doctor by organising information into a visual, graphical format for showing to the doctor, or using as a talking point during their appointment.  The app will also encourage young people to join online community and come to (real-life) events.

Click here to find out more about the Techies in Residence programme.

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