Smart Soles is a sensor-imbedded wearable insole and app designed to help seniors track and improve their balance over time. I joined as part of UBC's New Venture Design program (capstone) to develop a product from scratch to MVP with a team of 6.
Working closely with teammates from engineering and business backgrounds, my role included user research, UX/UI design, technical research and product discovery.
Product discovery started off with user interviews with seniors aged between 60-70+ years old. We wanted to learn more about how seniors are currently taking care of their balance.
To get the team aligned, I encouraged my engineering and business teammates to partake in user interviews as well.
Seniors are adverse towards using technology or adopting new products. The current solutions are working well and seniors are satisfied with their healthcare habits.
I conducted an empathy mapping session and created artboards to understand how an individual might integrate smart soles in their everyday lives.
Early on, our goal was focused on validating the user flow and technical feasibility. This dictated the early designs and functions of data collection and outcome.
Based on our notes and brainstorming, we wanted to remove all other nice-to-haves to deliver on the feasibility of hardware and software working.
This defined the main user flow of data collection, data interpretation and receiving a personalized exercise recommendation.
All UI elements are in fonts over 16px and visually spaced out to account for senior eyesight and mobile coordination. Colours are in black or dark blue to ensure visual contrast.
I focused on implementing cards for exercises, as this contains more information in one related container and the larger size would be easier for individuals to select.
Secondary research indicates that seniors need more prompts to create a mental information architecture in their mind, which is why I've added sticky nav bars through out the screens.
We got featured on TV for like 2 seconds, made a working but definitely not comfortable insole and had a great trip to Seattle!
Following our interview notes, seniors mentioned they often have trouble finding relevant information on their balance health or forget details from their clinician visits.
In addition, older individuals are less inclined to divide their attention between multiple tasks, which is why I've designed in multiple cards of long-form texts.
As individuals age, their level of cognition decline and impact different areas of memory. They may inaccurately remember the state of their balance at each doctor's visit or forget to follow through with recommended routines.
In order to help improve their prospective memory (remembering to do something in the future), having Smart Soles automatically track and cue seniors to improve balance will largely reduce the user effort to remember changes and progress.
Often times, their children, family and friends are also worried for them. However, some seniors admitted that they don't want to burden or worry their family by sharing about their health.
By sending triggered notifications based on previous data and trends over time, loved ones can be informed of any unusual activity and take proactive measures before things get worse.
Due to the pandemic, we were unable to test our MVP and final designs with end users.
However, if it was possible, I would have conducted moderated sessions with seniors to go through an interactive prototype.
In retrospect, some of the colour choices and visual design elements I chose may not be the best. For example, shades of blue/grey are not accessible to individuals with eyesight issues. Card box shadows may also be too faint to be visually visible.
For next time, I would test out colours and visual design much earlier through more user testing and research.
With so many options and directions to go, it can be easily be overwhelming. Although that's fine, I would tell myself to take bias towards action and to pick the strongest starting point.
As a team, we had so many ideas and aspirations towards this project. I think it was good to have created our definition of a successful project from the get go so that we could achieve it in measurable steps!