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Nudge design to increase physical activities of hospitalized children

Footprints nudge children to walk, and various shapes of footprints nudge children to stretch their legs. The wallpaper with stories makes walking more engaging. Children can stretch their necks or arms following the movements of the animals on the wallpaper.  


Nudge Design Gamification

UX research

Hospitalized children



My contribution

Team Leader, UX research, Prototyping, Illustration



4.2017 - 11.2017

2017 KSDS Poster Honor Awards
Samsung Tomorrow Solution Finalist

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What inspired this project

I became more interested in problems in the children's hospital while making a family communication service for long-term hospitalized children. Our team found that a lack of physical activity and play in the children's hospital is a problem during the interview. This project was funded by the Samsung Tomorrow Solution.

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Service Summary


Lack of physical activity can cause stress and slow recovery for hospitalized children. However, even though children want to walk, there are no proper trails that children can enjoy daily. 


Currently, children can use outdoor trails or an indoor hallway to walk. The outdoor trails are easily affected by the weather. Also, fine-dust hinders children from using them as often as needed. The indoor hallway is dull and boring; therefore, the children did not enjoy walking in the hallway. As the lack of physical activities can cause slow recovery and stress for children, it is important to ensure they can take a walk daily.


By providing a safe and fun trail design, children can relieve their stress from the daily treatment process. Considering the hospital's budget issue, and we created a nudge design in the hallway to make walking more engaging. Characters and stories on the wall can motivate hospitalized children to take walks daily.

"Why there are no children playing at a children's hospital?"


This solution can provide a positive hospital experience for children, and it can help them recover more quickly. 

Research Process

Desk Research

Online Research

We observed posts on social networks such as Instagram, blogs, and internet cafes to understand physical activity and entertainment in the children's hospital.

Daily life spent on a bed all-day

The hospital is a shared space, so people avoid letting their children play noisy games. The guardian will give the child a smartphone because they like watching videos with headsets, and it is relatively quiet. Due to the worry of spreading the infections, it isn't easy to meet a friend at a hospital.

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Service Summary
Research Process

Field Research

A quantitative survey of hospital movements

We surveyed thirty-two children for four days, and the survey showed that they were moving almost no more than 20 minutes in the hospital. According to the paper, the number of steps children have to walk for physical health appears to be 12,000-15,000, but the number of steps taken by the hospitalized children did not exceed 2000.

* About 110 steps per minute for a walk, 140 steps for a fast walk, and 180 steps for jogging.


We visited children's hospitals, including Asan Medical Center, Severance Hospital, and Seoul National University Hospital, where we observed and interviewed nurses, hospitalized children.

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Outdoor trails

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Indoor installation


Hey-Jin Kim

10 years old

Interview of the child from
Seoul National University Children's hospital

When we found that she was not bringing all of her things from the refrigerator to her bed at once, we asked her why.
" I intentionally do not bring all food that I need at once because it forces me to walk more. My doctor always says I have to work out when I'm in the hospital. "

Field Research

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Asan Design Innovation Center

The nurse working at the Children's hospital

We interviewed about children's physical activities from the Asan Medical Design Innovation Center. Asan Hospital Children's Hospital had no play space for children, and there was a lack of awareness about their physical activities. Regarding the physical activity of children, the nurse mentioned 'Walking' is enough. The nurse at Asan Hospital's Children's Hospital said, "Since children can not exercise aggressively in a hospital, walking can be enough." 


"Walking is a great exercise for hospitalized children."

Affinity Diagram

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Based on the Affinity Diagram, we came up with three insights from each stakeholder's viewpoint.

Hospitalized children

They can not move easily because of IV poles.
It doesn't feel like a play space because of adult control.


When children play in the hallway, it's easy to observe children's activities and seek medical attention in case of a problem. However, parents were concerned about obstructing the hallway for other patients and clinicians.


The hallway is suitable for walking because it does not require extra space. However, nurses are concerned that if children move around without order, there will be problems with medical care and treatment.

Design Insights

Design Insights

"Let's make the hallway as a place for the children to play safely"

Nudge Design


Nudge Design

Nudge is a concept in behavioral science, political theory, and economics that proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals.

Nudge Design in Amsterdam

It used red lines to suggest the audiences to use stairs rather than lifts.

Prototype & Testing

Prototype & Testing

Prototype 1

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Making a maze prototype with footprints

We used maze, symbols, and footprints to induce children to walk and stretch their legs.

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Prototype Testing from Kyeongdong Elementary school

We introduced the prototype to the children and they walked on the prototype following the lines, symbols, and footprints. After the test, we got feedback from the children. They wanted to have more complex missions and wanted to play with friends.

Children walking on the prototype

Prototype 1 Testing

Children gave feedbacks about the prototype

Prototype 2

We added wallpapers to induce various stretches. Also, by adding a story to the wallpaper, children can enjoy the story while they walk. The story is about a bird that got sick and becomes healthy again with helps of their friends.


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Neck stretch

Follow the birds trying to fly again! The child can naturally stretch their neck while following the bird in order.

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Different types of steps

Children can follow the movements of animals and try different types of steps

Prototype 2 Testing

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Hyeon-Min Lee 11yeears old

Usability test

We tested the prototype on Hyeon-Min and she enjoyed following the footprints. We asked her to carry a suitcase because we wanted to mimic the walk experience with the IV pole. She was able to walk the whole trail without difficulties. When she got a chance to modify the game she actively participated and suggested different interesting footsteps. 

Outcome & Effects

Outcome & Effects

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Hospitalized children

The aesthetically pleasing and playful wall prints can reduce negative images of hospitals. Through physical activities, children can increase their mental health and recover faster.


They are relieved because the prints act as a guideline. The child can be safely played with the design. It may reduce the risk of secondary infections and accidents.


The children walk the corridor in an orderly fashion, so there is no disruption to their work.

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