Testing artificial intelligence health app AlvinOne in Germany

Finnish startup AlvinOne is heading to international markets with the first mobile app in the world that can predict the risk of future illness. With Germany at the top of their agenda, they wanted to learn how their service launched in 2017 works outside of Finland and which changes are necessary for internationalization. I was contracted as a testing partner to pilot the service in Germany, to analyze the usability and user experience of the app and to suggest potential improvements.


Targeted at organizations, AlvinOne digitizes health evaluations. As a digital health coach for employees it provides personal feedback, motivating individuals to make choices that help them stay healthy. Anonymous group-level reports allow management and human resources to learn about the wellbeing of their work community. With these insights they are able to target health management resources efficiently and to avoid risks. AlvinOne creates an ecosystem of wellbeing that connects the work community with information and services they need to manage and improve their health.

Offering a solution for healthcare professionals since 1988, Odum Ltd. has built a database of over 9 million data points. Together with the renowned Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), they have developed a machine learning algorithm that analyzes ten different health factors and predicts future illnesses using artificial intelligence (AI).

Reviewing the usability as experts

To start with, we put ourselves in the shoes of a typical user. For an expert usability review, I invited my colleague Benjamin Blankenburg to add depth with a second expert opinion. We conducted a cognitive walkthrough following the most common scenarios. Using our knowledge and experiences, we identified strengths and weaknesses and recommended changes to improve the usability of the app.

The AlvinOne App comes with an appealing visual design. However, when we dug deeper and systematically inspected the user interface and flow, we uncovered a long list of potential issues. For example, we found many inconsistencies, such as four different ways to cancel an action. Even though this may seem an irrelevant detail, it is often details that matter. Users may not be able to point out what bothers them but will feel that their experience is somehow affected. Once aware of these issues, it requires little effort to adjust them for a better user experience.

Testing the app with potential users

For broader feedback beyond the two experts, we recruited seven potential users. With remote user tests we were able to check with users from different parts of Germany. Participants were asked to think aloud while using the app. For privacy reasons, I did not see which options they chose but followed which screens they were on and challenged them with some additional questions.

Once again it has been shown that a small number of participants is sufficient to uncover the most common issues. Testing with users validated many of the findings that the experts uncovered in their review. While much of their feedback overlapped, each user added some new insight because of their different perspectives.

Piloting the service in Germany

As a German-speaking contact person on site, I supported Odum in recruiting a pilot company. For the translation of 12000 words from English to German I contracted a native German-speaking translator and carried out a quality check. Being familiar with the app, I was able to check for consistency and iron out some misunderstandings that could have led to confusion among users.


Thanks to my extensive network and the support of Board Advisors, I have been able to pitch the project to C-level management and heads of HR of some of the largest organizations in the region. Even though the timeframe of the project turned out to be too tight to test the app in one of the companies on a larger scale, we collected valuable feedback on common concerns. I helped Odum understand some particularities of the German market, such as the role of works councils. Based on the lessons learned, we developed some strategies on how to address the German market.

Katrin was able to find bottlenecks that we ourselves could not have anticipated in a new market. Although plans had to be changed from time to time, cooperation went smoothly and was solution-oriented. We received valuable information about the product's user experience and target group in Germany. Now we have an opportunity to find solutions to these challenges before actually entering the market.

Johanna Varje, Marketing Director AlvinOne

AlvinOne addresses a prevalent problem: Three quarters of all healthcare expenses are caused by preventable conditions. Shifting the focus from treating illnesses to managing wellbeing is a sustainable approach. Still, breakthrough technology and an appealing visual design are not always enough for a successful service. Through our test of AlvinOne in the German market we generated many insights that are relevant even beyond the German market. Our recommendations for further improvement could contribute in part to the project’s success in Germany and other international markets.

Client // Laurea University of Applied Sciences and Odum Ltd.

Team // Board Advisors, explico

Year // 2018

Role // Expert usability review, user tests