Manage scoliosis health

Project context

2022 Academic Capstone

My Role

Sole UX Designer


User Interview
Usability Research

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine affecting 7 million people in the US today. 80% of the scoliosis patients are females. If left untreated, it can lead to back pain and potentially require surgery.

The standard treatment involves:
1. Wearing a rigid brace for an average of 18 hours per day → help slow the curvature progression
2. Wearing a monitor to track brace-wearing time → ensure compliance
3. Rehabilitation exercise is recommended after taking off the brace → prevent the muscle from weakening

This design project aims to support effective scoliosis treatment and management.

"Only 10% of guardian knows their child's actual brace wearing time."

I contacted 6 scoliosis patients online who had worn brace and now in 3 different stages of treatment from scoliosis support group. Then I distilled their complaints for scoliosis management service into 1 persona shown below.

I did the user experience analysis to 3 competitors, to understand their capabilities, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. This helped me to identify market gaps and potential opportunities.

The Challenges

If challenges left unresolved...

However, I found that there are 3 challenges hindering the effectiveness of scoliosis brace.

Track compliance

No better way for patients and parents to track brace time that uncovers compliance issue.

Failure to recognize compliance issues as they emerge can:
• Impact life quality due to pain
• Psychological distress

Few check-ups

Patients are disconnected from doctors until few months later to report compliance issue.

Failure to report and address compliance issues can:
• Reduce brace effectiveness
• Increase the risk of surgery

Rehab routine

Maintaining the routine to activate muscle post-bracing can be challenging.

Failure to maintain a rehabilitation routine can lead to:
• Weaken muscles
• Reduce brace effectiveness


Encourage better brace-wearing habits in users


Report and address compliance issues efficiently


Establish consistent rehabilitation routines

Onboarding prelude

User journey begins with the initial touch point - packaging.

A QR code prompts user to download the Airy app, creating the expectation of a transformative and empowering journey.


The launch screens collect user information with four optimized questions for precise personalization, while also guiding user to home screen quickly to minimize the risk of dropoff.


Tutorial screens
provide the user with an introduction to the application and increases the level of trust in it

Boost Compliance

Welcome users with an encouraging message, display their current wearing progress and achievements to boost engagement. Then conclude with a call to action to start rehab exercises today

rehab exercises

Algorithm matches exercises to user based on profile information, saving the abandon rate associated with exercise planning

When reaching a specific milestone, encouragement message pops up to enhance engagement both during and after the exercise

AI personal assistant

The AI personal assistant promptly identifies and resolves compliance issues, addressing user concerns and easing the workload for clinicians

After the research, I conceptualized the design...

I started with sketch on paper, then developed concepts based on the features hierarchy, the user flow that I wish users to follow. Then I created mid-fi prototypes based on the paper sketch.

Building information architecture helped organizing my logic, provided a framework for the information I intend to include. It notably eliminate redundant repetition in information for later stages.

I made Home, Exercise, and Message to be in the sticky bottom menu, because they are the most important features that should be easily accessible and consistently visible across various screens. While Profile stays on the right top corner due to less frequent interaction and logical separation.

I conducted a usability test with 3 designer friends on the first version of design, and they pointed out the following problems. Taking their feedback into consideration, I created the second version.

I employed a rose pink hue as the primary color to create a calming visual experience, helping users distance themselves from the struggles of scoliosis. Gradient pop colors highlight important information or titles.

I identified the different styles from the mid-fi prototype and created a visual guide for the app interface design. While applying the visual design, I optimized the layout, utilized margin spaces, adjusted font and component sizes and color to highlight the information hierarchy.

I conducted a usability test of the high fidelity prototype in with a group of 8 users. I found that:
1. Users miss 'notification' when it is under irrelevant UX script, 'privacy setting'.
2. Onboarding pages are crucial at helping user understand the app's purpose. Without it, almost no user can determine the app's purpose at first glance.



more patients say Airy app helps their doctors to analyze if any treatment plan adjustment is needed due to better engagement in the worn time and exercise tracking.

‍of testers can correctly find out how to check their wear time, access exercise tutorials, and update the scoliosis progression in the first 3 attempts.

Experience starts earlier than I thought

I once believed the user experience started with the launch screen of an app, but it truly begins much earlier. It can be the first advertisement seen, initial website search, or unboxing a product. Even packaging that entices users with a seamless onboarding process shapes expectations. Considering the entire user journey, from awareness to advocacy, allows for a cohesive experience that helps a product stand out. Designing holistically across all touchpoints creates a more impactful overall experience than just thinking about the screens.

Experience design follows Design intent

I realize that interface serves as a vehicle for communicating information efficiently, and guide user actions in a clear, intuitive manner given hardware constraints. The goal is to direct users down a desired path by prioritizing calls-to-action, like clicking "likes" or subscribing to a service. Designers must thoughtfully utilize limited screen space to optimize this experience.

Typographic consistency across all interfaces

Typography hierarchies are constrained by space and accessibility. Designers must analyze a system's type usage holistically to ensure the proper communication of informational importance at first view. Merely using the largest type on a page does not guarantee consistent hierarchy across interfaces. Establishing typographic guidelines promotes uniformity by strategically employing type sizes for optimal user orientation.