A neck postural awareness system

Project Overview

Team members: 4

Personal Role: UX Design Lead

Personal Skills Used: Conceptualizing, Task Analysis, Storyboarding, Wireframing, Mobile Prototyping, Usability testing

Awards & Publication: ACM CHI Student Design Competition Finalists, Toronto 2014

Project Duration: August - December 2013


Design a postural reminder system to provide real-time notifications and feedback about a user’s unhealthy posture, and encourage user to establish and maintain healthy posture.

Targeted Problem

Every inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of the head on the spine by 10 pounds. Habitually unhealthy posture can be very difficult to monitor and correct on one’s own.

Context of the System

1. Neck pain is correlated with prolonged Forward Head Posture.
2. Real-time personalized interventions about postural awareness are correlated with sustained postural gains and reported reduced pain.

Our Target Users

- Suffer from frequent neck pain.
- Often sit in a sedentary position (6+ hours/day).
- Generally have an unhealthy posture.
- Want to maintain a healthy posture.

Their Typical Tasks

- Prolonged mobile phone or laptop use
- Sitting in lectures, meetings
- Driving a bus
- Working on a desk


We conducted task analysis and interviews with our target user type, that helped us derive our target personas.


Our research can be divided in two phases:
1. Reading papers and collecting data on the repercussions of forward neck posture, with supporting studies showing benefits of real-time postural interventions
2. Conducting interviews and task analysis of target demographic population
3. Conducting a market research on existing solutions to help tackle better posture maintainence

Market Research


In our brainstorming sessions, our team came up with three main design alternatives to tackle the problem space.

1. Google Glass

A Google Glass application that gives posture feedback to the user on the Glass interface.

2. Body Device

Body sensor that gathers posture information and sends it to a paired mobile phone application

3. Chair Brace

A static chair brace sensor that collects posture information and sends it to a paired mobile phone or web application.


We used storyboards to depict our users using our three design alternatives .

1. User using the google Glass Interface

2. User using the neck sensor with the mobile application


Based on the review we got from our peers on presenting our three alternatives at a demo session, we were suggested a fourth design alternative. The idea was to incorporate the body device sensor onto normal earphones to callibrate posture information.

4. Earphone Posture Sensor

After laying down all four design alternatives, we went back to our users and peers to rate the alternatives and give a reason for the same. Based on the user feedback and peer evaluation, the body sensor came out to be the most appreciated choice. We finalized our design to the body device and went ahead to make our application wireframes.



Usability Testing

Wizard of Oz Technique
Manual posture monitoring for 3 tasks:
- Reading
- Watching video
- Writing

Affinity Diagram

Chunked Qualitative Data by Responses

Final Thoughts

Going through the whole design process with final usability testing and deriving a
1. SUS score of 74.1 translating to a good - excellet usability
2. Overall positive open ended feedback from all of the 9 participants, on wanting to use such a system in their day to day,
We dervived that the production of such a product could deem to be succesful. One of the primary feedbacks collected from the interviews was to ensure to construct the body device as small and unobtrusive as possible, and with good aesthetics.

We captured the whole case study in the form of a short paper that was accepted and presented at the ACM CHI Conference 2014 in Toronto, Canada . The project also secured a second place in the Student Design Competion at the same conference.

Shortly after our project culmination (post a year), we saw a new product released by Lumo Labs targeting neck posture, with a system similar to our design. The similarity is unrelated as these were both independent workings.