From chance to choice: Preventative healthcare for senior individuals


Smart Soles is a smart wearable insole and companion app that improves balance and dynamic monitoring for senior individuals.



Product designer in a team of 6


September 2019 - April 2020 (8 months)


︎Shipped the MVP with working insoles, app and ML
︎Won the Wolfram Alpha Award at nwHacks 2020

︎Semi-finalists at UW HHIC 2020 in Seattle

As we age, our cognitive, physical and sensory coordination decreases. This makes it difficult for people to accurately know how their balance is changing over time.

The loss and deterioration of balance in seniors are a leading cause of senior injuries and deaths. We believe seniors should have a proactive choice in their health status and care.

The challenge ︎︎︎

How can we help aging individuals monitor and improve their balance in an accessible and proactive way?

Goal 01

Educate older individuals about consequences of falls
Goal 02

Help users improve their balance through personalized exercises
Goal 03

Lead to lasting habits and follow-through on their balance care


    “I don’t know what’s the best way to take care of my balance.”

    In almost all of our interviews, they wanted to maintain or improve their health because they understand a fall can dramatically decrease their quality of life. 

    Fall-conscious seniors

    Individuals that actively cared about their health, and took the consequences of falls seriously.


    Seniors often over-estimate their current balance, thinking that they’re a lot more balanced than they actually are.

    Post-fall seniors

    Seniors that have already experienced a fall, or a near-fall. 

    MDs & PhDs

    It can be difficult to track if seniors use public resources regarding balance.
    Lifestyle optimizers

    Younger individuals (~50 years old) that care about optimizing their lifestyles and performance.

    Market research and competitive analysis

    Most current smart insoles are meant for high-performance athletes or clinical recovery programs.


    Since our primary goal was to ensure that both the hardware and software worked, the app design reflected these 3 functions:

    1. Show that the insoles are connected to the app
    2. A button to collect the data ︎︎︎ show results of data
    3. Give a recommended exercise based on one’s outcome


    Based on our notes and brainstorming, we wanted to remove all other nice-to-haves to deliver on the feasibility of the MVP.

    In addition, the UI elements are all in fonts over 14px and visually distinct for elderly individuals. 

    I focused on implementing cards for the exercises, as this contains more information in one related container and the larger size could accommodate for shaky senior hands.

    Secondary research indicates that seniors need more prompts to create a mental information architecture in their mind, which is why I added the sticky nav bars through out.


    From the user segments, my team and I deduced a user persona of Smart Soles might be someone like Annie.

    Knowing Annie’s story and motivations, I decided to storyboard her experience to see where and when they would use Smart Soles and its app.



    How might we make it easier for seniors to track and understand their health data, specifically balance?

    How might seniors improve their balance now that they better understand their current state of balance?

    How might we make it easier for seniors to detail their balance health and notify family members and clinicians?


    Smart Soles works as a seamingless tool of any senior’s lives. We envision the insoles as being powered by low-energy, long-lasting batteries with automatic power on/off so that individuals could literally just set it and forget it. 


    Overall, this was probably the most fun and relevant capstone project I’ve ever taken so far. We got featured on TV for like 2 seconds, made a working but definitely not comfortable insole and had a great trip to Seattle!


      Usability testing

      Not being able to test this with seniors leaves gaps in the assumptions made.

      Going in niche

      Although seniors said they want to use technology more, I’m uncertain if their behaviours will show the same.
      Design/visual direction

      I think there could be better ways to tie in the visual design and art direction of the product to make it more cohesive and professional.


        Do not fall in the trap of analysis paralysis

          With so many options and areas to focus on, it’s can easily be overwhelming. 
          Get out of your comfort zone

          It can be really awkward to approach seniors and healthcare professionals, but it works!
          Define your success

          In retrospect - there’s already things I want to change or improve. But to have met our working MVP definition of success, I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved ︎

          Hey! Thanks for visiting and checking out my portfolio ☻

          If you’re looking for a designer to jump on a project, or if you just want to chat & connect, do drop me a msg at pajellyo@gmail.com 
          Vancouver, BC