We designed a postural reminder system to provide real-time notifications about a user’s unhealthy posture, and encourage user to establish and maintain healthy posture.
Our team won third place in the 2014 ACM CHI Student Design Competition in Toronto.
At the beginning of this project, our team were brainstorming ideas and we found out almost all team members have experienced back/neck pain at some point in our daily lives. We later found out from research that neck pain is correlated with prolonged forward head posture, and that healthy posture may be part of the solution.
So we decided our objective to be helping people to establish and maintain healthy posture. But who are our typical users?
Persona. We informally talked with people with different demographic information (like occupations) and defined our typical users through creating personas. Some main characteristics of our target users are below:
Observation & Task analysis. Our problem space is a bit different. Because a lot of times users are not intentionally changing their postures, those changes cannot be counted as a task. We tried to observe target users do certain common tasks and created special task analysis including users’ postural information. From this, we realized how important observation is for our problem space. Thus we narrowed our scale down from back and neck pain to only neck pain and related postures for easier observation/measurement.
Options. Then we started to brainstorm ideas and came up with three design alternatives. For each of them, we also analyzed its relative strengths and weaknesses.
Storyboard. We also used other ways to help us understand and present a walk-through of each design option. Below is the storyboard we created for body sensor system.
Mockup. Since our 3 options all have some kind of applications paired with them, we designed a mobile application interface to mockup the idea. See below the mockup and its walk-through.
Poster session. Then we brought our designs to a poster session to collect feedback. We tried to keep objective when describing each option. And it amazed us how people started to raise points that we didn’t thought of. Finally the session and some follow-up communications helped us add more ideas and eventually narrowed down to focusing on the body sensor option.
Prototype. Now it’s time for prototype. We used some of our poster session feedback to detail and improve our design (e.g. Adding gamification), and created a mobile application prototype using Axure.
Evaluation and Redesign for CHI. After prototyping, we designed our evaluation together, including questionnaires, benchmark tasks with think-aloud protocol, interviews and heuristic evaluation. Later on, our team updated the prototype based on iOS standards and submitted it to the 2014 CHI Student Design Competition. Finally we went to Toronto to present our work and won the 3rd place in that competition. Yay!
In this project, I conducted some early stage research (including competitive analysis and part of task analysis), collaborated on designing alternatives and mockups, mainly created the initial prototype based on feedback, and helped design the usability evaluation.
1. Cagnie, B., Danneels, L., Tiggelen, D. V., Loose, V. D., & Cambier, D. (2007). Individual and work related risk factors for neck pain among office workers: a cross sectional study. European Spine Journal, 16(5), 679-686.