How we designed Altizen (Formerly Aspirus Smart Standing Desk)

The back story of how we designed Altizen (formerly Aspirus smart standing desk) will be a familiar one for people working long hours in the office.

Our founder, Yuying suffered from lower back pain early in her career. As a corporate lawyer working 16 hours’ days, she was spending far too much time seated in front of her screen.

Like most office workers, she immediately sought out physiotherapy sessions and massages. These provided temporary relief (and burnt a hole in her pocket!). But once she stepped back into the office and faced project deadlines and never-ending emails, the pain returned.

On one particularly painful evening, she searched for a solutions to back pain online and found out about adjustable standing desks. A light bulb went off in her head. She immediately ordered one in and has never looked back.

Her co-founder Andrew suffered a similar experience in his finance job, and joined Yuying in the quest to develop a solution for office workers around the world.

The founders reasoned: considering how much time people spend at work, it was unreasonable to cram “healthy living” (eg. gym sessions) into after-work hours.

What people really needed was to keep themselves active throughout the workday. And it’ll be best if this was done without disrupting their work.

They spent months interviewing users with similar back problems, including those who already had standing desks but were not fully using them. They also tried several standing desks from leading brands.

They found that the problem was that most standing desks missed the mark when it came to creating long term habit change.

Useful as standing desks were, they were just a tool, and useless if not used at regular intervals throughout the day. Much like a dusty treadmill stuck in a living room corner,!

Research soon confirmed their intuition.

The founders then set off to create a desk that helped its users maintain regular activity throughout the day. But, during a typical user’s busy day, with many other pressing priorities, how would they achieve this?

The answer soon became obvious – through intelligent design and motivation.

They gathered an experienced team around them to develop a desk that fulfilled the following criteria:

– Is extremely easy to use – literally one-touch!
– Reminds users when it’s time to move
– Gives feedback on usage to motivate users

After 2 years of iteration, the team transformed a back-of-envelope hand sketch into the current sleek standing desk that they called the Aspirus Smart Standing Desk. They successfully launched it in Indiegogo and later renamed the desk Altizen (that’s another story).

Learn more about being healthy at work

Learn more about being healthy at work

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