Khuyen Lam Design Portfolio
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Sleeping Manatees


Families of children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) often suffer from sleep deficiency that can exacerbate their arthritis. A possible solution to this issue is tracking and communicating sleep patterns with their parents and healthcare provider.

For my graduate thesis, I collaborated with University of Washington’s School of Nursing. I worked with a team over ten weeks to create designs for a tablet app to help children track their symptoms of juvenile arthritis and foster productive conversations with their caretakers.


Interation Design, Visual Design, Persona Development, Branding


High fidelity wireframes, prototype, visual design



Our sponsors provided us with ten user interviews and secondary resources to gain a stronger understanding of JIA and what the pain point in managing the condition are. After our team combined through the data, we created an affinity diagram to organize themes of needs and wants. I took this information to developed four personas to help guide our design decisions.


After an ideation session, I created four paper prototypes for early usability testing based on what our team had come up with. We were still early in the design phase, and I did not want our participants to have expectations of a complete product. Using paper prototypes, which required us swapping individual components to simulate the experience, helped us have more control over the flow of the test.

Our first usability testing reminded me of the massive discrepancy between the cognition level of an adult, adolescent and child. Children had a different perception of time, and many couldn’t read analog clocks. The younger participants also couldn’t recall the data points our sponsors wanted (media consumption, socialization, caffine and sugar intake). In many instances, the parent had to correct the child’s data input. Also, there were privacy issues and that caused conflict between the parent and child.

One young participant confided she had woken up at 2AM and consumed chocolate, which deeply offended her mother. This would be a deterrent for honest reporting from children.


We convinced our clients to narrow their data points to sleep and pain, and sleep data would be gathered by wearable devices, such as fitbit, which many of our participants had. My team ideated two high fidelity prototypes; I was responsible for Version B.

I created playful illustrations to delight our users and added a gamification function to the design. I designed a system that would award children currency if they used the app on consecutive days. I remember during our first round of usability testing, one participant complained she wanted to change the backgrounds, so I designed a in-app store where children could spend their “sand dollars” to customize the app’s appearance.

During the second round of usability testing, when the children saw Version B, their faces lit up because they thought the fishes looked so silly. They were immediately engaged. We combined positive features from Version A, such as the “parent component” and used Version B’s visual design and game mechanics.


Designing for an audience with a different cognition level was challenging. I had to take a different outlook on many things we took for granted, such as the lexicon for our content or how information was displayed. What was comprehensible to myself, as an adult, wasn’t to a six-year-old child. This project was a major exercise of empathy.