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

Project Brief

my role

User Research, Ideation, 3D Model Rendering, UI/UX and Visual Design


Product Design, IOT, UI/UX Design

August - October 2019


Abhinav Sikharam

Akshay Yelmar

Ashish Durgude

tools used

Sketch, Principle, Fusion 360, TinkerCad, Blender, Adobe Premiere Pro

1. Understanding the human Problem 

- Exploring an Opportunity to design.

Type 2 Diabetes has turned into a silent epidemic spreading globally to people aged 18-60 around the world. In the 21st century, people all over the globe have moved to fast-paced living and humans have started to spend more a sedentary lifestyle, which lead to growth in health problems such as Heart diseases, Diabetes.

Infographic about the spread of diabetes by International Diabetes Federation (IDF.org)

5 Why's Technique to unearth the root cause of the problem

The Problem

Type-2 diabetes 



Type-2 diabetes is spreading in humans around the world


Sedentary lifestyle and Genetics are significant factors that lead to diabetes


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People around the world are spending a fast-paced living and opting for sedentary jobs


Over the last two decades, white-collared jobs have increased to almost 80% of the US workforce alone


Most of the white-collared jobs have a sedentary lifestyle, who spend most of their day at a desk, sitting and have less physical activity

Design Challange

How might we design a product for white-collared workers that is not only easy to use, but also ensures the person to stay active and hydrated to prevent obesity, diabetes and heart diseases on an everyday basis?

Design Solution

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

Our end-product is a minimum viable product (MVP), 3D printed desktop gadget and a smart app for tracking the activities.

Go Desk is an easy to use, friendly reminder device which nudges the user to avoid prolonged sitting habits with different colored lights, reminds them to stay hydrated, upon sensing the pressure of a water bottle placed on it.

With its companion app, Go Desk ensures that the user is moving at regular intervals by using wireless communication technology such as NFC pairing and counting the number of footsteps with a pedometer app.

My Responsibilites

User Research, Ideation, and prototyping phases were done together in a group. I was responsible for the product design and UI/UX of the app. We gathered once a week to keep track of our work and provide feedback to each other as we developed the product.

Research Phase

Stakeholder Interviews, Expert Interviews, Field Observations to understand user behaviors

Ideation Phase

Brainstorming ideas, Storyboarding, Affinity Diagramming to ideate and prioritize features for the design

Prototyping Phase

Product sketching, Low fidelity Mockups, 3D sketching and rendering to make a physical product

User Testing Phase

Usability Testing with users and experts, Heuristic Evaluations, Cognitive walkthroughs

Initial Research

We started with the expert interviews to better understand the user group, then followed by the user interviews and observations who have been affected by the issue and not affected as well. This helped our team get a better insight into the prevention of diabetes and helped us create personas for the potential users.

We also did a whiteboarding session to get a better understanding of the problem

After consolidating the findings from the interviews, secondary research and competitor analysis, we created personas to better illustrate our user group and focus on the real problem area. This ultimately helped us to unearth the area where the current market is lacking, as well to create a better solution.

User Persona 1

User Persona 2

Ideation - Product

In the next step, we started to develop concepts for our product while keeping our target audience in mind. Initially, we started exploring designs that are easy and friendly to use, after multiple iterations of sketches and foam prototypes - as well as receiving feedback from our peers, experts and professors, we collectively finalized a product design that targets all the core problems.

1. Ideation Sketches   2. Ideation Sketches   3. Early foam prototype   4. Early foam prototype assembly

Ideation - App

Once we have finalized our physical product, we started to focus on narrowing down our mobile application core features, which are to be kept as simple as possible, as our user groups were emphasizing on the requirement of non-heavy data-driven apps. To achieve this we have performed affinity diagramming and empathy mapping to collaborate the needs and requirements of the user.

1. Affinity Programming to get core areas   2. Empathy mapping to understand user needs   3. App onbaording & flow design

Prototyping - Product

Once the final sketches are completed, we focused on realizing the product's first version using a 3D print. For this, I have worked in Fusion 360 and Tinkercad to design the .OBJ file and further used slicing software CURA, to make it compatible to 3D print the model. We used the blender software to make the 3D visuals for the prototype. 

3D model (Top)

3D model (Bottom)

While the prototype is being 3D printed, I focused on assembling the required electronic hardware and coding the development board to make it work in real-time. We have used Node-MCU which has a built-in Wifi module to communicate with the mobile app. To this device, we have added passive infrared sensors to sense the presence of the person, pressure sensors to sense the weight of the water bottle and used the wizard of Oz technique while testing the product.

Node - MCU development board

Arduino Coding for the prototype

Prototyping - App

Once the low-fidelity paper prototype was finalized we proceeded to design the high-fidelity prototype using the sketch application and then made the animations using the principle. Then for final interactions, we used the invision prototyping tool and created hotspots to give the prototype real-time user interaction feel.

First-time user onboarding scenario

Regular User screenflows

Final Product

3D model, Rendered in Blender

3D Printed Model

3D model, Top and Bottom 

How GoDesk Works?

GoDesk works by emitting three colors to nudge the user to perform certain tasks, Red color indicates the user has been sitting at a desk for a prolonged period and suggests the user have a brisk walk, Blue color is used to suggest the user drink water and stay hydrated. Green color glows to acknowledge that the user has performed physical activity.

1. Nudging the user with Red color   2. Suggesting the user to drink Water with Blue color   3. Accknowledging the user with Green color

User Onboarding Scenario

Nudging the user Scenario

Introducing the GoDesk Mobile app


This being my first group project in masters program, it taught me the importance of collaboration. We all worked on every aspect of the project together, meeting up once a week to review progress, critique and give feedback to each other. The journey and the final outcome of the project was truly a rewarding experience.

Personally, this project taught me how to think of a product from not only the app aspect but also from all the different consumer touchpoints and product as a whole and thinking about what goes into building meaningful products that could impact real users. 

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