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Red Dot-winning design teaches the world how to properly wash hands

HandInScan’s Semmelweis Scanner has won a new design award

The groundbreaking Semmelweis Scanner, fighting hospital-acquired infections, has won its second Red Dot Award in 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic is lending a whole new importance to hand disinfection.

HandInScan’s Semmelweis Scanner already earned the Red Dot Award: Design Concept in 2015, a prize considered one of the world’s most prestigious design awards. Five years later a new motivational framework and a reinvented visual design, aiming to encourage proper hand hygiene habits has scooped up the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design prize.

The user interface has been completely reimagined by international digital innovation agency Supercharge. The concept triumphing in Red Dot’s ‘Interface & User Experience’ category has been chosen from among 7,000 entries – right after also winning the Gold Award at the illustrious IF Design Awards.

Today the medical scanner is used in more than 20 countries worldwide. It successfully battles hospital-acquired infections, which in many cases are caused by the lacking hand hygiene of hospital employees. These infections would be largely avoidable, but even before the coronavirus pandemic they affected 4.1 million people each year, claiming over 135,000 lives in just Europe and the US alone. In 2020 the stakes skyrocketed.

The importance of thorough hand sanitizing – along with any anti-virus protection and equipment – has reached an unprecedented high. As hospitals are desperately seeking a way to stop Covid-19 contagion and maximise patient safety, HandInScan‘s device can prove to be exactly what medical facilities and educational institutions need to teach their personnel how to wash hands.

The core function of the UV light detection Semmelweis Scanner is the quantitative measurement of hospital employees’ hand hygiene. The machine provides continuous and instant feedback through an elaborate technique of digital image creation.

However, the scanner’s most important purpose is not constant monitoring, but the establishment of a reliable and correct hand disinfection routine. It is likely that the coronavirus is here to stay (at least for a while), so what designers ultimately had in mind was that after the right amount of training, medical workers should not need to be monitored at all.

Supercharge’s team sought to turn hand sanitising from a boring, compulsory protocol into a fun experience through the scanner’s digital display. In order to achieve this goal, emotional design and gamification were both given prominent roles in the winning design solution.

The entire user experience has been reimagined and transformed into an entertaining and educative journey, complete with a unique tour guide to accompany users on their way. Supercharge’s designers introduced Dr Ernest Ermine, HandInScan’s new mascot character, to the world. As the protagonist of the design’s narrative, he constantly provides personalised suggestions for each employee on how to improve their hand washing technique.

Ermine’s neat, simple visualisation and light colours are a natural fit for the medical theme, yet the character’s friendly, cheerful tone easily dissolves the severity of the hospital environment.

Dr Ermine’s personality saturates each element of the user interface: colours, shapes and even the chosen font channel a serene, easy-going, but entirely trustworthy attitude when educating users about the importance of hand hygiene. This is especially important because motivating employees is the cornerstone of the new design. Instead of being saddled with the burden of a quick hand wash, they would go on disinfecting their hands thoroughly while being encouraged to master the right process and make it part of their routine.

Channeling the power of gamification, users with proper hand hygiene are rewarded with so-called Semmelweis points. The point system is designed to further enhance the experience of hand scanning by allowing for friendly competition between various departments.

The adjoining analytics interface enables designated hospital personnel to follow the improvement of disinfection practices on an individual or institutional level through a reporting scheme.

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