WatchOS Fall Detection App
Supporting Boulder Crest's mission to heal veterans and first responders managing Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS)

Boulder Crest. Visit their website.

8 Months (Jan 2019 - Aug 2019).

My Role:
Team Branding, User Interviews, Prototypes (Lo-, Mid-, & Hi-Fi, Storyboards, Logos and Illustrations.

Figma, Adobe Illustrator, & Adobe InDesign.


How do you restructure struggle into strength?

This is the challenge central to the mission of Boulder Crest, an organization that serves first responders, combat veterans, active duty military members, and their families.

Boulder Crest offers programs such as Warrior PATHH at their 7-Day retreats that teach ideas related to Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). These concepts help those struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) develop healthy habits.

How might we respond to the challenges of PTS and support these students' journeys towards positive well-being?

Solution Overview

myPATHH Redesign

Our team identified a number of opportunities to redesign sections of myPATHH and implement our design principles while addressing user needs uncovered in our research.

myPATHH is a responsive web app for the 18-month aftercare portion of their Warrior PATHH program. Students use the web app to continue learning and integrating the lessons of Warrior PATHH into their daily lives.


The Dashboard sets the tone for the rest of the student's session on the app. We implemented quick-links and other features that ease the entrance into the application.


The myPATHH assignments section is where students complete reading, writing, and video activities. We redesigned the section to allow students to track their progress more easily.

Service Design Roadmap

The Warrior PATHH experience is about so much more than technology. We decided to create a roadmap of additional recommendations for myPATHH redesigns and organizational service design changes.

Design Principles

My team developed a set of design principles after our initial myPATHH dashboard co-design session. These would guide us from creating the final prototypes of the myPATHH dashboard and assignments section to developing the larger Warrior PATHH roadmap.

I created the logos for these principles.

Consider People’s Mindsets

Choose features that cater to when students are struggling or doing okay.

Promote Behavior Change

Use reminders instead of forcing completion.

Support The Journey

Minimize friction during navigation. Utilize shortcuts to resume content.

Inspire Team Support

Remind people of their support system. Celebrate victories rather than shame shortcomings.


Respect what level of detail should be shared with loved ones.


Finding the Problem Space
Boulder Crest offers retreats for veterans, active duty service members, first responders, and their families. Many of these individuals have been through combat, and many have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) or depression. Boulder Crest’s cornerstone program is Warrior PATHH. Over 18 months, a team of six students, called a Fire Team, participate in a regimented seven-day retreat led by PATHH guides, who are often alumni of the program. Once students return home from the retreat, they participate in an aftercare program where they integrate the lessons they learned from the retreat via a responsive web app, called myPATHH, and regular video calls with their Fire Team.

We as a capstone team were tasked with “studying the use of myPATHH to identify, prototype and validate opportunities to improve existing functionality as well as add new capabilities,” according to our project brief.
Team Branding

As we jumped into research and design, our team wanted to establish an identify for ourselves. I set the brand guidelines, chose a color palette, and created a logo that would streamline creating official documents, presentations, and prototypes.

Generative Research
Round One

Our goals for the first round of generative research were as follows:

  1. To develop an understanding of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), and the science and philosophy underlying Boulder Crest's curriculum.
  2.  To immerse ourselves in the materials and language used by our client, as well as explore similar programs and analogous domains.
  3. To communicate directly with Boulder Crest staff, alumni, and other veterans to learn about their unique perspectives and stories

Secondary Research

Reviewed organization materials, analogous domains, and more.

Survey Responses

Implemented qualitative analysis on survey responses from past students.

Semi-Structured Interviews

Interviewed veterans and Boulder Crest Coaches then affinitized notes.

Insights - Round One

Our team distilled hours of interview data, survey responses, and other research into 4 main insights regarding student's experiences at Boulder Crest. In turn, these insights informed an overarching focus to continue pursuing for our project: improving engagement during the 18-month aftercare portion of Warrior PATHH.


Students come from a variety of experiences.

Continuity + Structure

Students need the structure and support of the retreat to carry over to aftercare.


Students need lessons to transfer into their daily lives.


Students value community as a support system.


We saw an opportunity to improve engagement for students during the 18-month aftercare portion of the Warrior PATHH program.

Taking A Breath: Visiting Boulder Crest

Instead of pushing ahead to test our prototypes with Boulder Crest students, we needed to first consider if myPATHH needed to serve other purposes beyond its current state.

Were we designing the thing right when we should be designing the right thing?

Like Boulder Crest students are often instructed to do during times of uncertainty, we paused, visited our client's retreat in Virginia, and took deep breaths of clean, country air.

Our goals for our trip to Boulder Crest Virginia were:

  • To more deeply understand the context in which were were designing and learn from the staff.
  • To build rapport with and get feedback on our prototypes from our client.
  • To bond as a team.
Speed Dating

Upon returning to Pittsburgh, we speed dated storyboards to test perceived needs and potential areas of focus for a solution. We aimed to validate the needs based on user feedback.

Below are the four needs we tested:

Blended Model of Tech & Real World

Reminders for Regular Practice

Progress Tracking

Support in a Moment of Need

We created multiple storyboards and narrowed them down to the four needs that best captured what we wanted to test. We created three variations of each scenario: minimal change, realistic improvement, and extreme.

Minimal Change
Realistic Improvement


Rather than simply refuting or confirming these assumptions, our speed dating results were a bit more complicated. The reactions we heard offered a a more nuanced understanding of these topics, which guided our design process:

Blended model of tech & real world
In-person opportunities to connect are valuable.

Reminders for regular practice
Students need a way to stick to their routine.

Progress Tracking
Recalling memories is valuable, especially if they are visual, personal, and specific.

Support in a moment of need
Not needed IF team has a strong relationship with open communication

Insights - Round Two

Team Dynamics

An open and supportive Fire Team unit helps set up trainees for success, so Boulder Crest should focus on fostering and maintaining this dynamic.


Boulder Crest’s program takes a long time and goes through several stages, so it is important to both minimize abrupt changes in the level of support and keep a perspective of the larger journey.


In order to set themselves up for success while struggling well, participants need to pace themselves through the curriculum and find a few key methods that resonate with them.


To minimize stress and increase utility, clear navigation, organization, and searchability is more important than the amount or diversity of information available through myPATHH.


Trainees need to be able to set expectations and share their journey and new perspectives with their everyday support networks, especially their family.

Journey Map // Service Blueprint

The concept of journey is integral to Boulder Crest’s philosophy: as Boulder Crest students chart a path through life, they grow through the ups and downs. ‍

Based on what we learned through research this semester, we created a student journey map overlaying a service blueprint of touchpoints between students and the organization throughout the duration of Warrior PATHH.

Our team used these deliverables to pinpoint opportunities for improvement via a myPATHH redesign and organizational service design recommendations.

Design Phase

We worked across two sub-phases during our higher level Design Phase:

Phase One
we redesigned the myPATHH dashboard and assignments sections.
Phase Two focused larger service design changes as Boulder Crest scales Warrior PATHH.

Phase One: myPATHH Redesign

Previous Dashboard Design

The original version of the dashboard displays two things:

  • how many goals a student has accomplished out of the number of goals they had set, and
  • the number of assignments they had completed out of the 58 assignments throughout the duration of the 18-month program.


Augment connection amongst teams and to lessons throughout Warrior PATHH.


After recruiting three Warrior PATHH alumni for 30-minute research sessions, we walked each participant through an artboard that we had set up in Figma containing various high-level feature categories for the myPATHH dashboard:

  • Welcome
  • Team Members
  • Assignment Progress
  • Goals
  • Reminders
  • Recommended Content
Dashboard - Final Design

Our final designs for the dashboard incorporate many of our design principles.

We created shortcuts to critical components of the aftercare program, such as students’ current assignments and links to their Fire Team’s video call.

We also wanted students to feel supported on their journey from the moment they opened the application. Daily quotes and visual reminders of their Fire Team accomplish this.

I designed the prototypes that led to the final design, as well as the final design.

Previous Assignments Design

The original version of the assignments section displays a view of all assignments corresponding with which phase the student is currently in. However, the assignments page does not provide a clear indication of where students are relative to their overall journey with Warrior PATHH. Students also are not able to save assignments to return back to them.

Assignments - Final Design

Our final designs for the assignments section focused on visualizing information. Large modules and a prominent timeline allow for easy navigation without losing track of students’ current position. Furthermore, we reformatted assignment pages to encourage readability. A checklist at the top of each assignment page punctuates our redesign by concisely stating what students need to accomplish.


Weekly Assignment

Phase Two: Service Design Roadmap

Beyond the myPATHH redesign, we additionally wanted to create service design recommendations because Boulder Crest students and staff showed us the value of connection across the larger Warrior PATH program.

Speed Dating

To test the feasibility and overall reactions to our ideas, we conducted a series of speed-dating interviews. Simple storyboards depicting scenarios for additions or changes to Boulder Crest’s service offerings were shown to both students and staff. The general areas we explored were:

  • In-person community organization
  • Sharing Boulder Crest experiences with family
  • Sharing personal stories with a wider Warrior PATHH community
  • Incorporating the VA
  • Logistics of scaling

Since Boulder Crest plans to expand Warrior PATHH to eight new partner locations within the coming years, these storyboards were tested with staff at Boulder Crest Arizona -- Boulder Crest's second location.


The culmination of our service design exploration is the roadmap of future projects. Although we have chosen to depict these recommendations as steps along a journey, this should not be interpreted as a literal step-by step process. These projects should be pursued in the order that makes the most sense for Boulder Crest.

Our whole team worked through these concepts and I developed the illustrations in the roadmap.

Retreat Modules for Loved Ones

What if sharing lessons from the retreat and disclosing their authentic self with their loved ones didn’t have to be a low point?

Boulder Crest can create and share modules for loved ones that are automatically sent during and after their loved one attends a Warrior PATHH retreat via their Learning Management System. Each day’s video content can provide loved ones with an overview of what the student is experiencing during the day. When the student returns home from the retreat, they can go through an additional module together that provides opportunities for conversation and connection. Boulder Crest should also give students the choice to opt out.

Leverage Veteran Nonprofits

What if we could help students stay engaged with the program by increasing connection touchpoints to the Warrior PATHH community?

Boulder Crest already has formed partnerships with various veteran organizations. We see an opportunity for Boulder Crest to use those partnerships to more actively foster community within a regional model. Boulder Crest could host events at these veteran organization locations and invite Warrior PATHH alumni in the area. For nonprofits running Warrior PATHH, Boulder Crest could compile a toolkit for regional partnerships and events.

Find Warrior PATHH Students Near Me

What if we could help students stay connected to those who have gone through Warrior PATHH?

Boulder Crest could implement a new myPATHH feature to help connect students and alumni who go through Warrior PATHH and live near each other, whether they have gone through the program at Boulder Crest or at another nonprofit.

Improve myPATHH Onboarding

What if we could streamline the myPATHH onboarding process across Warrior PATHH locations?

What if we could set up students for success in using myPATHH after the retreat, especially if they are not used to modern web application technology?

Boulder Crest should optimize in-person and digital touchpoints to improve the myPATHH onboarding experience for students. We recommend extending the onboarding experience at the retreat to multiple days throughout the retreat to check in on students’ comfort level and confidence navigating the app. Furthermore, we recommend designing an onboarding flow to the myPATHH app.

Application Pathways to Care and Growth

What if we could direct people toward and through the Warrior PATHH program so they are most likely to thrive?

When someone applies to Boulder Crest, a staff member should assess their needs and determine the best next step based on those needs. If the applicant is dealing with substance use disorder, for example, the staff member can refer them to a local treatment facility before they are ready to go through Warrior PATHH. If another nonprofit delivering Warrior PATHH has a unique mission that best serves the applicant’s needs, the staff member can refer the applicant to that nonprofit.


During our interviews and calls with Boulder Crest students and staff, we’ve been struck time and time again by the powerful journeys of these inspirational individuals. Telling one’s story is a core tenet of Boulder Crest’s path toward Post-Traumatic Growth, and our users' skill in this area has led to truly insightful conversations.

Our eight-month-long capstone became so much more than a project. It became an opportunity to learn from Boulder Crest staff and students. We are honored to have witnessed the stories of veterans, active duty service members, and first responders. Furthermore, we are grateful for the opportunity to design something that matters and will make a difference within Boulder Crest long after we graduate.