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.
Sprint Week Facilitator
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.
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.
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.
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.
Athletes typically cope with avoidance and isolation
Athletes often play through injury
Some physical therapists talked about mental health, but never offered help
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
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
After conducting secondary and primary research, we gathered qualitative data (ideas, opinions, and issues) and organized them into groups based on their natural relations.
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
Home Physical Therapy Unit
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
Jamar's Journey, Journey Map
Zoe's Journey, Journey Map
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.
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!