OnStEPs™: An app that lets you become your own coach, whatever your physical condition

Merck is helping the general public improve their quality of life with a connected sports and well-being programme

Merck, a science and technology company committed to serving patients and professionals in France and around the world, joined forces with SQLI to design the mobile app OnStEPs™. Inspired by patients and caregivers affected by multiple sclerosis, the OnStEPs™ sports and well-being programme aims to encourage physical activity that is suitable for all and can be personalised to suit the individual's physical condition.

An initiative to end popular misconceptions

On the 31st of May 2017, on World MS Day, Merck launched a website presenting the OnStEPs™ programme. The aim of this initiative is to improve the quality of life of patients and all, by putting an end to popular misconceptions: multiple sclerosis and physical activity are compatible and there is more to exercise than just sport (whether at competition level or for leisure).  Because everybody has their own desires or objectives, the OnStEPs™ programme, designed with eight experts (including patients, healthcare professionals and sports professionals), can be adapted and personalised by all users.

A comprehensive programme that fits in your pocket

"Merck has been working alongside MS sufferers for more than 20 years. In addition to treatments for multiple sclerosis, we wanted to offer non-medication-based assistance by promoting physical activity, which has very real beneficial effects on this disease," explained Maxence Garel, Product Manager at Merck.

With the aim of meeting day-to-day needs, Merck tasked SQLI with adapting the website into a mobile app, the release of which was planned for World MS Day, on the 30th of May 2018. The SQLI Group was selected on the basis of its proposal and its competency throughout the value chain (expertise in mobility, web solutions, UX/UI, and analytics).

With the programme in their pocket, users can follow their personalised coaching sessions anytime and anywhere, with total autonomy. The app is available on Google Play and App Store, and is accessible for people with disabilities. It provides even more comprehensive support than the website, in order to enable all users to become their own coach:

  • Notifications set by users to help them follow their programme
  • A step-by-step procedure for the programme, as well as a clock for rest breaks
  • A session log
  • Ability to measure time spent on sessions per month and define personal targets

A new common outlook for the future of OnStEPs™

SQLI's teams put forward the React Native framework in order to carry out joint, and therefore optimised, development of the Android and iOS versions. They also deployed web services enabling the app to draw data from the website server. The effectiveness of the methodology employed, as well as the operational and management teams, was demonstrated during production of the app.

SQLI has been entrusted with TPAM (Third Party Application Maintenance) for the website and WAX Interactive, its digital marketing agency, with the creation of Motion 3D content, which will illustrate new physical exercises.

"SQLI's proposal perfectly met our needs: an approach that is not focussed on the disease (hence the fact that the OnStEPs™ programme is open to all) and a clear and efficient project management structure. Thanks to a methodology with smooth approval workflows, the expertise and flexibility of the teams, and the quality of communication, we were able to follow all of the stages and overcome certain obstacles in an efficient way. The climate of cooperation between SQLI and another service provider was optimal and we look forward to defining the main functionalities of the next version of the app with the consultants and experts," stated Maxence Garel.

"Merck is fully satisfied with our collaboration. SQLI and WAX Interactive were naturally chosen for future upgrades of the app as well as TPAM for the OnStEPs™ website. Over the course of July, we ran a workshop to identify upgrades to be envisaged, in particular in terms of the user experience. In September, a board formed of experts and patients will meet in order to obtain feedback on the application. Supporting patients affected by multiple sclerosis is a major aim for Merck and we are proud to be involved in this project," stated Sébastien Jouve, Project Manager at SQLI.