Evidence-based longevity tool supported healthy aging gains

The Wall Street Journal named the Blue Zones Vitality Compass Best Online Tool for Retirement and Longevity.


Behavior Design


Conversion Optimization

App Development

The challenge

Creating an engaging assessment experience that would engage audiences

Dan Buettner’s National Geographic expedition led him to the world’s longevity hotspots, or “Blue Zones,” in search of the secrets to healthy aging.

Supported by University of Minnesota aging expert, Dr. Robert Kane, and the National Institute on Aging, he distilled the evidence-based lifestyle behaviors that could help people improve their healthy life expectancy.

The challenge: Easily engaging the masses, delivering tailored recommendations to increase healthy longevity, and creating a sticky tool that would draw people back to chart their progress.

The solution

A sticky tool developed through a behavior design lens

Leveraging data from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, Firebrand designed and built the Blue Zones Vitality Compass, a user-friendly assessment tool that:

  • Presented questions singly and leveraged progress indicators to reduce cognitive overload and boost assessment completions
  • Harnessed micro-feedback to keep users engaged in the assessment process, reporting days added or lost in response to each question
  • Visually reported overall life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and potential life expectancy to motivate users to adopt healthy habits
  • Delivered tailored, evidence-based recommendations that would support user’s longevity gains—from outlook and movement to diet and social connection
  • Boosted experiential learning and return visits by giving users the ability to interact with the responses and see potential ways to improve and track their progress

The work

A behavior-designed longevity assessment tool.

Blue Zones Vitality Compass
Blue Zones Vitality Compass results
BlueZones Vitality Compass questions
Blue Zones Vitality Compass results
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The results

Named best online tool by the Wall Street Journal

Rooted in peer-reviewed research, the easy-to-use Blue Zones Vitality Compass was named Best Online Tool for Retirement and Longevity by the Wall Street Journal.

The City of Albert Lea, MN piloted Blue Zones’ Vitality Project, which leveraged the Vitality Compass to establish longevity benchmarks and document gains. When the project came to a close, a total of 786 residents used the compass and boosted their average healthy longevity by 2.9 years through individual and community-wide action.


“It’s the best online predictor available… and I’ll stand by that.”

— Dan Buettner, Explorer & Founder


Why Firebrand?

Unique approach brings together social neuroscience and technology

Serving as Team Technologist on the Blue Zones expedition to Okinawa, behavior designer and digital strategist, Meshach Weber, had already proven his ability to creatively solve technical challenges.

When Dan Buettner decided to build an interactive tool and online community platform that would empower and inspire audiences with healthy aging insights, he turned to Firebrand. Harnessing social neurscience and applied anthropology, the agency launched a sticky tool that delivered real user value and won wide acclaim.