Funded by a grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport the app has been designed to help people with Down’s syndrome improve their digital skills as well as to make more informed choices about healthy eating and exercise. The Health Swap app has been developed by the DSActive team with app development company The Distance.
Research shows that more than 70% of people who have Down’s syndrome are overweight or obese, and that less than 20% hit the Government’s physical activity recommendations.
Everyone with Down’s syndrome will have some form of learning disability and will have challenges with their vision. As more and more of our world revolves around technology, it’s important to ensure that the technology is adaptable for everyone.
We had great input from people with Down’s syndrome, as well as parents and carers, before we began the app and worked with a wonderful focus group who were consulted at every stage of the project, testing early versions and driving the way Health Swap is developed and delivered.
Downloading and starting to use the app is super simple. We’ve tried to remove as many barriers as possible. All the user needs to do is type their name in, answer a few quick questions, and then they are ready to get started.
Getting to know each other
There is an option for users to tell us more about themselves, in their own time, in the ‘Me’ section of the app.
The app then uses that information to reward users with badges and points for planning, shopping, cooking and eating healthy meals, and also tracks, records and rewards increased physical activity.
All about the visuals
The app uses lots of visual icons. In fact, Health Swap contains 300 food icons, many of which we’ve custom designed. We’ve also created 70 different activity icons which cover everything from swimming to sweeping.
Creating the best experience for our users
Getting the Health Swap app user experience right is of paramount importance to its success. We’ve worked really hard to make it as easy to use as possible, with large, easy to press buttons and carefully thought-out, simple sequences.
There are step by step cooking instructions using clear photos and large font sizes. We’ve tried to keep written instructions to a minimum.
Using the app while shopping and cooking is as easy as it can possibly be.
The app is now available from the Apple and Android stores.