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Founded: 2010
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A quest for building better hand-sanitising habits

by Reka Kosik

How can a user interface be so powerful that it is able to save human lives? In HandInScan’s case, boosting its product’s user experience with emotional design was the key to increase the efficiency of their product by lightyears. And its efficiency metrics are nothing short of critical: it is measured by the drop in the number of fatal hospital infections.

HandInScan, an award-winning healthcare pioneer

HandInScan introduced its innovative health-tech solution in order to improve and measure the hand hygiene of hospital staff, thus reducing the number of deaths caused by hospital infections all over the world. To reach this goal HandInScan created its ground-breaking device, a scanner, which uses UV light detection enhanced by AI.

Theoretically, the HandInScan machine should do its job just by being installed in hospitals. But the goal of the product is to build new hand-sanitising habits. A consistent change in daily routines can only be reached through regular usage of the device for multiple weeks. In simple words: replacing old habits with better practices takes time. The team behind Hand In Scan knew that to make a real impact in a hospital they need to successfully motivate nurses to keep using the machine until the right behaviour is deeply ingrained.

But how do you motivate the hospital staff to keep using the machine until the right routine of hand sanitising becomes a habit?

Our mission was simple: redesign the experience to facilitate continuous usage. In order to reach this, we got hands-on to reimagine the customer journey and the user interface. We rolled up our sleeves to turn the repetitive, obligatory and dull hand sanitising motions into an entertaining and educative journey. We wanted to create solid habits by providing an experience which is fun enough to come back to it every day.

Building on emotional design

In order to motivate hospital staff to build the habit, we needed to come up with an experience that is able to:

  • entice the hospital staff to start using the device
  • keep up their constant motivation until the habit is established
  • make the whole product experience lovable and fun
  • give customised feedback in order to maximise learning

The Ermine enters into the picture

According to psychology, a new habit needs regular practice and continuous feedback to form. To support users along this psychological journey of learning, we created a charming mascot, the Ermine (symbolising cleanliness, gracefulness and liveliness with her white fur), who playfully guides users through the interaction process and makes sure that every paw that gets out from the machine is crystal clean. His role is providing clear steps and personalised feedback to the hospital staff until they develop the right routine.

Gamification to keep up motivation

To keep up the motivation level of users and to engage them in the regular use of the machine, we gamified the user flow too. We gave them the opportunity to set up goals and collect individual hygienic points that are in synch with achieving the appropriate routine of hand-washing.

Playfulness for a serious purpose

Although this new look of the product might seem like a just playful redesign, it serves an important purpose. It seamlessly connects the digital and physical worlds while being able to transform human behaviour for the better. And when it comes to hospital infections, the right hygiene routine means saving lives.

We were incredibly happy to see the product succeed not only in hospital environments but in design communities too. Our service design work got recognised by the international jury of iF Design, receiving the prestigious iF gold award.


service design
emotional design
User Experience Design
UI Design