Project Overview

A wearable smart sleeve that provides muscle activation data, paired with a mobile application that connects athletes with their physical trainer, sports psychologist, and coach to create a seamless at-home physical therapy experience.

Project Duration


9.13.2020 - 11.19.2020

10 weeks


Human Factors

Professor Sung Park

Team Members

My Role

Interaction Design

Interface Design

Visual Design

Final Deliverables

Sprint Week Facilitator

The Problem
Athletes need a personalized and comprehensive recovery plan that focuses on both the physical and mental components of an injury with an easier way to track their progress.
Our Solution
A wearable smart sleeve that provides muscle activation data, paired with a mobile application that connects athletes with their physical trainer, sports psychologist, and coach to create a seamless, at-home physical therapy experience.
In our human factors class we were given 10 weeks to apply what we learned about the of psychological principles of humans, to the design of products, processes, and systems. Each group had to select a UX theme driven by 1-3 of the 10 psychological needs. 
Our Factors
After choosing the problem space of athletes recovery from injury, the two factors we chose from the 10 psychological needs was physical thriving and competence. We choose this pair of needs with the goal of creating an experience that address both the physical and mental challenges that comes with an injury.

Our Design Process

01. Secondary Research

Firstly, our group conducted secondary research to find what and where the biggest problems lye in an athletes journey back to recovery. 

Athletes may be afraid to reveal their symptoms.
Source: Heavey, Susan. “U.S. athletes still reluctant to admit head injuries” Reuters. Oct 30, 2013. Web.
Physicians make the mistake of focusing purely on physical outcomes.
Source: Goldberg, Alan. “The Mental Side of Athletic Injuries” Competitive Advantage. Jan 18, 2019. Web.
Athletes response to injury can reveal unhealthy mental coping mechanisms.
Source: Putukian, Margot. “Mind, Body and Sport: How being injured affects mental health ” NCAA. March 12, 2012. Web.

02. Online Survey

After finding some of the biggest problems in an athletes recovery and choosing our target demographic, we deployed a survey to gain more insights from athletes.

We asked questions like...

  • Have you ever been scared to reveal your injury?

  • Has your physical trainer ever acknowledged your mental health when treating your physical injury?

  • During your recovery period what took a greater toll on you, your physical or mental pain?

  • When returning to your sport after healed have you felt a lack of confidence and fear?

Physical pain took a greater toll than mental pain during an athletes recovery.
Some athletes were told to play through an injury and a majority weren't afraid to reveal their injury.
Frustration, sadness, and irritation were the most common emotions felt after injury.
Athletes who were scared to reveal an injury said it was because they saw it as weak.

03. Interviews

Our group conducted 7 interviews with athletes inside our target demographic. We also organized one group interview (four participants) and two expert interviews with an athletic trainer and physical therapist. 

7 Athletes
  • Athletes typically cope with avoidance and isolation

  • Athletes often play through injury

  • Some physical therapists talked about mental health, but never offered help

Expert Interviews
1 Athletic Trainer & 1 Physical Therapist
  • A great relationship between the athlete and PT is critical for recovery

  • Every athlete is different, they need to feel motivated throughout the recovery process

  • Timelines are important for motivating athletes

Group Interview
4 Athletes
  • PT is extremely draining and taxing on the mind

  • Working out is a natural coping mechanism that is taken away with injury

  • Mental health resources would make a significant difference

04. Affinitization

After conducting secondary and primary research, we gathered qualitative data (ideas, opinions, and issues) and organized them into groups based on their natural relations.


Affinitizing Insights

05. Sprint Week

After organizing all of our qualitative data we conducted a 5 day sprint to get a head start on possible on solutions that could address both the physical and mental challenges of an injury.

I organized and facilitated a 5 day design sprint using the same plan from Jake Knapp's book"Sprint". Our team followed the same process to try and solve problems and test new ideas in just five days. 

Sprint Week Idea Pool

During our sprint week we had a wide verity of ideas ranging from AR glasses, an at home physical therapy product, and smart sleeve. We sketched out all of these ideas on day two and voted on which 2-3 ideas we wanted to prototype and make conceptual visuals for to present for feedback on day 5. 

Our Selected Ideas

We loved the idea of the at home unit because it something that is very feasible, and could be make it easy for athletes to complete PT at home.

We combined both the Smart Sleeve and AR Glasses idea, because we thought paired together they could be the most impactful idea of the group.

Both the Home Physical Therapy Unit and Sleeve/Glasses idea would be paired with an application component.

AR Glasses + Muscle Patch


Product Storyboard

Home Physical Therapy Unit


Product Storyboard

Concept Feedback

During the final day of our sprint we sought feedback from our professor to see what product component of our solution we should pursue going forward. Using his and our peers feedback, we reflected and choose what concept we should pair with the application component of our project.

Over the next week we came to the conclusion to drop the AR component of the smart sleeve concept. We felt the smart sleeve and the data it can provide, was a strong concept by itself. We shifted our primary focus to the physical side of recovery, and using the sleeve's data to make the goal gradient effect a focal point.

06. User Personas

We created a user persona to help get a clearer picture of what our target user would look like and a journey map to understand where our users pain points were in their journey.

Meet Jamar, 19 - Primary
Meet Zoe, 20 - Primary
zoe persona.png
Jamar's Journey, Journey Map
Zoe's Journey, Journey Map

07. Prototyping

We conducted two rounds of user testing with our interactive mid-fidelity prototype. We sought feedback from athletes within our target demographic as well as experts before reaching our final high-fi's.

Lo-Fi Wireframing


08. High-Fi

After gaining feedback from our mid-fidelity and initial high-fi prototypes, we made the necessary changes and are proud to present our final result. Introducing Cora!

Group 905.png
What did you learn from Cora? 
Cora was an incredible experience of growth for me as a UX designer. I learned to fail quickly and to constantly be looking for constructive criticism. It took our group a long time to get both the product component and application nailed down, but it taught me to trust the process. I learned a significant amount about information hierarchy through the feedback of multiple rounds of user testing. I also now understand the basics of info and data visualization, which I look forward to building off of in future projects and interfaces.
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