A few years ago, when I worked as a wellness consultant for a utility company, I created a training curriculum to address the rising numbers of musculoskeletal pain complaints. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries that affect the muscles, bones, and joints and include carpal tunnel, and muscle sprains and strains. Managers were going to use the curriculum to educate technicians (techs) on how to reduce their risk of developing MSDs.

The original deliverable was in the form of a PowerPoint presentation with handouts. I wondered: What could this look like as an app? 


My goal was to conceptualize a print-based training curriculum into a digital format.


Original research: 3 months; design process: 1 month

My Role

I completed all the research and design.

Methods & Tools

Contextual inquiry, interviews, personas, information architecture, Sketch (wireframes, screens), Axure (prototype)​

Research & Discovery


The results of a previously administered survey (n=unknown) showed that techs were most concerned about pain developing in the knees, low back, and shoulders.

Techs were being shifted into office jobs because of pain sustained on the job; this led to increased hiring and training of field workers. Business leaders wanted the techs to stay healthy and productive.

Low back
Various (combined)

Contextual Inquiry

Technicians kneeling at work
Postures showing contact stress on the knee.

I accompanied 5 techs to residential and commercial sites to observe their typical work postures and movements first-hand (i.e., kneeling, climbing, lifting, pushing, pulling).

While on the job, we also talked about how their daily work affected their physical health. Some just dealt with the pain, while others had become more proactive about their health after sustaining injuries.

Ultimately, they wanted to continue to work in the field for as long as possible, as free from pain as possible.

"My advice to people doing this job? Get a good masseuse. If I didn't have a masseuse, I'd probably be in the office by now."


I developed two personas based on the research gathered. These allowed me to remain focused on the needs of the audience.

Persona of Harry, the HVAC tech.
Persona of Dan, the team lead.

User Stories

Next, I specified the user requirements to ensure the content met each user’s specific goals. (The team leads’ requirements came from the initial brief.)

As a technician: 

  • I want to learn what exercises I can do to stay strong.
  • I want to know how to find medical resources so I can get help when I need it. 

As a team lead:

  • I want techs to learn about anatomy so they are informed about the effects of the job on their body.
  • I want to quiz my team members on the material so that I know it was understood.


Initial sketches for the MSD app.
Wireframes created in Sketch of the home, shoulders and resources screens.
Information cards created in Sketch showcasing the Risks (left) and Anatomy (right) tabs.

I began by sketching out several ideas around how best to organize the content. What content should take priority? Which content could be categorized as secondary? 

I debated categorizing the information by symptom, but settled on categorizing by body part

The next step was to translate the sketches into wireframes in Sketch. 

I used a silhouette of the body on the home screen, with the areas of concern (low back, shoulder, knee) as entry points.

Once they selected a body part, the user would see two tabs: RISK and ANATOMY, addressing the needs of the techs and the business leaders, respectively. 

Inspired by Material Design, each card introduced a topic and allowed the user to save the information for future access. They were created in Sketch, then imported into Axure for the prototype. 

Solution & Lessons Learned

Watch the video below for a look at the prototype, or you can navigate through it yourself

Additional changes would include single sign-on tied to the corporate system and a profile page for the user. 

If I had access to the original stakeholders, I would have had them do usability tests to validate the information architecture and navigation.

This project gave me a chance to apply the UX process to an independent project and tackle re-purposing content (from print to digital).

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