Xianzhi Zhang

    user research
    interaction design
    product development
    inclusive design


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and severe fatigue, that has no cure and no explainable onset. Being a parent with fibromyalgia is extremely difficult especially when it comes to communicating their condition to their children.

This is why we created BrightSide, the first communication tool for parents with fibromyalgia that focuses on the social aspect of pain management, and introduces a novel approach for how families talk about chronic illnesses.

Our aim is to help fibro-parents positively convey the complexity of their condition and encourage them and their children to have a productive dialogue through a playful interaction of voice message exchange, touch and light visualization. The parents can record messages for their children when they are able to share their good moments. On the backend we analyze their state through unique markers in their speech and present it through different colours of the bulb.

User Journey

Mum wakes up very fatigued in the morning, and her kid goes off to school concerned. Over the course of their day, the mum might feel better, but is unable to communicate it to her child while he’s at school.

This is when she can use BrightSide to record a short message, highlighting the bright side of her day. When the child is back home he sees today’s colour glowing that represents mum’s physical and emotional state, and a blinking message notification. He then listens to the message, which will spark a conversation and give him a better understanding of how she’s feeling, closing the communication gap.

Technical Details

By using the BrightSide device a parent can establish a communication ritual that will help them overcome the barrier of speaking about their disease with their children. The interaction will establish a family conversation routine about parents’ symptoms and efforts of getting better. This will reduce stress levels associated with fibromyalgia along with uncertainties for both parent and child, helping normalise the condition by shining a light on their daily life.


Watch a video to discover more about fibromyalgia and BrightSide.