Momento fullscreen Virtual Assistant.

Project Overview

Developing chronic illness or pain can come with several lifestyle changes. How might we design a system that would support people who have developed chronic illness to manage their new lifestyles? In a team of six UX-UI designers, I led in establishing the backbone of our design through detailing the design language, principles, patterns, and UI components.

Tools & Skills

Design System, Pattern Library, Interaction Design, Design Presentation


Original mobile operating system (persona, design language, mockups)


Brisa J., UX Designer
Ethan K., UX Designer
Isabella H., UX Designer
Jacky C., UX Designer
Sophia J., UX Designer

My Role

As an undergraduate student at the University of Washington’s School of Information (iSchool), I enrolled in Mobile App Design (INFO 365) taught by Professor Brian Fling. In groups of the largest size throughout my iSchool experience (7 people), we set out to design completely original mobile operating systems, as well as their core applications.

My Contributions

  • Design language & principles
  • UX patterns
  • UI components
  • Style guide
  • Application Design:
    • Virtual Assistant
    • Contacts
    • Lockscreen & Notifications
    • Springboard

Ideally, technology is convenience.

Existing mobile devices might include features such as reminders for tasks or weather alerts. How can we capitalize features like these to directly address the needs of individuals with chronic conditions?

chronic condition

a health condition that lasts 1 year or more and requires ongoing medical attention or limits activities of daily living or both (CDC).

How might we design a mobile operating system that supports people with chronic conditions in managing their experiences, so they can improve their overall well-being and daily quality of life?

Finding opportunity in a saturating market

As an individual, I was hesitant to take our mobile operating system in the direction of health, particularly mental health, a topic that has been tackled far and wide in recent years. The health theme also posed the challenge of security considerations; to what degree would our OS be involved with its users as patients? To help frame goals for our OS, we performed a market analysis.






Provide young people with communities and one-to-one consulting for a variety of topics, from mental health issues to studying.

  • Focused on reducing feelings of loneliness.
  • Forum-based design is familiar and easy to use.
  • 100% anonymous.
  • Service limited to Australia only.
  • Limited audience of young people aged 14-25.
  • Daily check-in concept.
  • Service finder chat AI.

Promotes mindfulness through guided meditation lessons.

  • Backed by scientific research.
  • Diverse instructing team.
  • Uplifting UI visuals.
  • Lacks strong community.
  • Limited or repetitive content.
  • Include group meditation features.
  • Adopt simplicity of UI.

Online health journal aiming to ease communication with others regarding one's health conditions.

  • Simplifies the task of keeping relevant individuals up-to-date with one's health conditions.
  • Secure.
  • Web application provides a far better experience than mobile application.
  • Adopt mass and selective communication features.

Identifying inspiration

Deciding to focus on a theme of “maintaining a sense of balance and normalcy despite health issues” was essential in giving shape to our OS. This led us to zero in on designing for people with chronic illnesses or pain, rather than for other types of patients. Digging deeper on this theme, we identified three points to emphasize in our OS:


Embracing the Self

Discovering Inner Peace

After brainstorming words that reflect these three points, dot voting resulted in ideas such as: “embrace,” “cherish,” “moment,” and the Latin phrase, “memento mori,” an artistic saying meaning, “remember that you [have to] die.” Having once considered terminally diagnosed patients as a target audience, the Latin phrase stood out as highly relevant to the theme of our OS. Thus, taking “memento” from “memento mori” and combining it with “moment,” we decided on “Momento” as the name for our OS.

Finally, although we aimed to create experiences for those with chronic illnesses or pain, we also wanted to emphasize that users do not have to be diagnosed as such patients in order to use our OS. To highlight this idea, our main persona’s health issues are not rare nor grave conditions.

Meet Henry Wahed

Persona profile image: Henry Wahed.

“I need to balance my health and my career. I want to be there for my clients but also for myself.”

As a result of Henry’s chronic allergies, he also:

  • often has trouble falling asleep and wakes up frequently,
  • always lives a disrupted daily schedule.

Deciding on a mobile platform

With complete creative freedom with this project, many other teams in our class worked with OS concepts for new types of devices. Keeping our target audience in mind, we decided to build an OS for mobile smart phones.

Our core users already have managing personal health conditions on their plate. To avoid overwhelming them with a new hardware, we will only ask them to spend time learning a new software.

A smartphone in a hand.

Establishing Momento’s design language

Once our team had a collective idea of Momento in mind, we split into smaller groups to work on different pieces of our OS. During the first sprint of such work, I voluntarily collaborated with two teammates to begin conceptualizing UI components. While team members shuffled responsibilities during the next sprint, I continued working on Momento’s design core and naturally became a lead figure within the team.

For the purpose of this case study, I will be introducing UX patterns first, despite initially working on UI components.

Design principles


Designing with recognizable mobile patterns to reduce cognitive load.

Encourage productivity

Caring for oneself should not get in the way of tasks, but tasks should not get in the way of caring of oneself.

Grounded in reality

Emphasizing the beauty of the real world to prevent dependency on technology.

Move the user forward

Illness and pain are not hindrances to living life. Design to empower the user to participate more fully in daily activities.

Piecing together an experience

With Professor Fling’s guidance, my team changed course to work on screen layouts. Rather than scrutinizing details of individual UI components, we focused on deliberating how users would interact with Momento. What will make Momento’s experience unique as a mobile operating system?

As a 50-50% team of mobile Android and iOS users, we asked ourselves:

Providing a reason with each of our answers helped us envision Momento's ideals, as well as recognize patterns to avoid.

I worked on defining and designing each of the layout components detailed below. This section covers up to their mid-fidelity stages. Any subsequent changes to their designs were made as we designed Momento’s applications and will be discussed in a later section. Please note that a sub-set of my team was simultaneously putting together Momento’s styleguide, which will be detailed later.

Top bar

Inspired by the page titles in both Android and iOS, and keeping our design principle (#1. Conventional) in mind, we decided Momento needed a similar layout component.

The top bar is inspired by page headers in Android and iOS. Early top bar versions 1 and 2 explore the placement of menu items.
Early top bar version 3 features a main action bottom fixed in the bottom right of the screen. Early top bar versions 4 and 5 explore the placement of an open menu.

As a finalized concept (but non-finalized design), the top bar featured three states: default, search, and menu. The default top bar can feature up to two immediately available action buttons/icons. If one of these actions is “search,” the search bar will expand upon tapping on the search icon. If a page has more than two action options, the second icon will be three dots used to open a menu of additional actions.

The mid-fidelity top bar features Momento's brand gradient.

Tab controller

Considering several OS applications often have multiple pages to display, we engaged in designing a tab controller for Momento.

Early tab controller, version 1. Introduce alternative interaction to switch tabs by horizontal scrolling. Reveal tab title by tapping and holding on a tab.

Momento’s design principle (#1. Conventional) disencourages the introduction of new ways of interaction. However, considering that chronic conditions may involve different mobile abilities, we looked for alternative ways to change the active tab.

Early tab controller, version 2. Remove sharp edges by reducing the number of circular shapes to one. Enlarge icon of current tab.

As a finalized concept (but non-finalized design), the tab controller can switch tabs via tapping or horizontally scrolling. Tapping and holding a tab to view its title seemed extraneous, since switching tabs would immediately result in viewing its content, including its title in its top bar. We therefore decided to remove the tap and hold tab interaction.

The mid-fidelity tab controller expresses Momento's brand with a gradient fill.

Universal bottom bar

Android’s bottom navigation bar provides a dynamic and readily available way to navigate the OS. We saw an opportunity in adapting this component to directly address the needs of our target audience, and therefore add to Momento’s unique experience.

The idea of the universal bottom bar is inspired by Android. We decide to place the back button on the left to mirror a web browser experience, and we replace the recent apps button with a shortcut to Momento's virtual assistant.

As a finalized concept (but non-finalized design), the universal bottom bar (UBB) featured three action buttons: Back, Home, and Virtual Assistant. Taking after Samsung’s navigation bar, we created three alternative colors based on Momento’s style guide to act as background colors for the UBB. These options helped the UBB blend in with the content of the current view.

The mid-fidelity universal bottom bar featured three alternative colors.

Building a design kit

This section will highlight the iterations of components in groups up until their mid-fidelity phase, after which they evolved while designing Momento’s applications. For each group of components, my sub-team worked individually to ideate designs divergently before engaging in convergent design, resulting in a mid-fidelity design kit.

List elements

Early list elements varied in size and spacing styles. Mid-fidelity list elements featured three different layouts.

Input elements

Early input elements varied in color and shape. Mid-fidelity input elements utilize icons and color to indicate purpose or state.


Early button designs varied in color and shape.
Mid-fidelity buttons feature the establishment of the Momento color palette.

Our mid-fidelity buttons demonstrate progress within the styleguide team, as primary, secondary, and tertiary colors are decided as mauve, deep green, and sand, respectively. Drop shadows are removed from toggle sliders and radio buttons, and their colors are limited to gray and mauve to increase simplicity.


Initial modal designs tested color and action button variations.
Mid-fidelity modals featured a stroke to separate it from main content.

Filling in between the lines

While cleaning up Momento’s mid-fidelity UI components, I also stepped in to help define its styleguide.

Our overall design goal is to emit a collaborative and compassionate ambience through Momento. To help achieve this, we consciously avoid creating a clinical impression, which our target audience may be all too familiar with. Three ways we do this are:

In addition to assembling a color palette, we decided on two fonts to use throughout the OS:

Finally, we found the Feather Icons kit to fit our styleguide. A team member also stumbled upon Mikołaj Niżnik’s 3D Weather Icons pack while designing Momento’s Weather application, and this was also integrated into our styleguide.

Applying Momento as a design language

At this point, I joined other team members in designing Momento’s core applications. Continuing with our system of sub-set teams, we chose to work on the applications we were most interested in as individuals. This section will review my design work on the following applications:

Virtual Assistant


Henry is trying to manage his health as well as manage his career goals. He needs personalized care and recommendations to support his unique set of needs.


  • Personalized recommendations
  • Provide a safe space for users to vocalize their emotions
  • Create a mindful and grounded experience

The decision to include a virtual assistant in Momento was unique to our OS and team. This is due to the nature of virtual assistants, which do not require user input to successfully complete tasks or make suggestions for them.

Another deciding factor for including a virtual assistant was its branding potential. Considering existing voice assistants, such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, we recognized their identities did not extend past having a name. With Momento, we want to provide our target audience with a friendly figure that encourages trust and decreases feelings of loneliness. We figured visual personification was the right direction.

We initially conceptualized a humanoid virtual assistant.

As one of Momento’s main themes is “Embracing the Self,” we initially thought a virtual version of the user would act as the virtual assistant. However, Brisa, the team member I was working on the app with, pointed out that not all people are most comfortable with other people, or even themselves. With this in mind, we looked for other options for our visual personfication.

We came across an article about studies proving humans can feel more empathy for animals than other humans. A fitness application called Couch to 5K capitalizes on this by featuring virtual trainers of different species and personas to choose from. Popular culture has also seen merchandise trends such as Yummy World, which personifies food items, and Squishables, which turns anything from animals to well-known branded characters into a fuzzy plushie with an endearing face.

While we liked the idea of offering multiple non-human avatar options, we had limited time to design app mockups. Furthermore, we would need to create original characters and/or art to fit the aesthetics of Momento. This led us to look towards what was already available to us.

On the note of personified objects and cute animals, we were reminded of the 3D Weather Icon pack used by another sub-set of team members on the Weather app. Utilizing these icons as Momento’s virtual assistant was an opportunity to emphasize design principle #3 (“Grounded in reality”), by reflecting nature and the current weather conditions in contexts other than the Weather app.

Momo's appearance was adopted from the weather icons used in the weather app.

With the visual component of our virtual assistant decided, it needed a name: Momo, derived from “Momento.”

Full-screen Display

In this mid-fidelity demo, Henry interacts with the full-screen version of Momo, the voice assistant, which is accessible via tapping its app icon from the springboard. Henry can either voice or type his needs to communicate with Momo, who then makes suggestions to remedy his requests based on data collected from Henry’s other uses of Momento.


  • Full-screen, immersive experience
  • Emphasized ability to hold a fuller conversation with Momo
  • Large visual of Momo, who reflects the current weather conditions, emphasizes the concept of “reality”


  • Concept and interactions are well-done
Brian Fling, profile image.

“I had lots of moments of delight [while watching this].”

Brian Fling, Professor

Mid-fidelity Virtual Assistant prototype: Henry uses the full screen assistant and decides to contact a friend.

Overlay Display

Mid-fidelity Virtual Assistant prototype: Henry uses the overlay assistant and decides to listen to music.

Henry taps the sunshine icon in the universal bottom bar to open the virtual assistant, Momo, in overlay form (mid-fidelity). Similar to the full-screen display, Henry can either voice or type his needs to communicate with Momo. Using Henry’s data to support its recommendations, Momo displays these in a simplified fashion, as well as provides an option to continue the conversation in the full-screen application.


  • Accessible from the universal bottom bar
  • Quick and simplified interactions


  • Modal voice assistants can be old-fashioned
  • Consider whether users need the ability to interact with content behind the modal while using the modal itself

In designing this version, we altered the modal component, replacing its outline with a drop shadow. This creates elevation, which better separates the modal from the current view content.

Automated Assistance

Like most existing AI assistants, Momo is able to automatically complete tasks for its users. We imagine Henry being able to set Momo to complete particular actions at certain times. In this mid-fidelity demo, Henry has set Momo to ping* his wife, Kira, every time his health check-in has a negative outcome via Momento’s Health application. When Momo sucessfully pings Kira, it reports to Henry via notification.

*The ping feature is covered under the Contacts app.


  • Automate virtual assistance
  • Receive notifications for automated assistance


  • Great example of pulling together different parts of the OS
Mid-fidelity Virtual Assistant prototype: Momo sends Henry a notification about automatically pinging a contact.



Henry's support system is very important to his overall sense of well-being. Due to Henry's condition, his family wants to be easily reachable in case of an emergency.


  • Effortlessly get in touch with contacts
  • Accessible emergency contacts
  • Pre-set and customizable groups

We had three initial ideas for Momento’s Contacts application:

  • Image-focused UI,
  • “Ping” in addition to “call,” “message,” etc.,
  • Contact groups, especially Emergency, Medical, and Family.

Jumping right in to mocking up a standard Contacts List screen, we immediately felt the need to rework some UI components. We pulled Professor Fling aside for individualized advice, which resulted in an overhaul of Momento’s main layout components. The main points of concern were:

  • Overcrowded screen bottom,
  • List item spacing,
  • Top bar gradient background.

Concurrently, another sub-set of our team was designing the Tasks application. Dissatisfied with the claustrophobic combination of the tab controller stacked on top of the universal bottom bar at the bottom of the screen, they explored new designs for the tab controller.

The early versions of the contacts app adopted patterns from the tasks app.

With the new tab controller, the bottom of the screen had better spacing and appeared less busy. Because the solid alternative mauve background color for the top bar unintentionally matched the universal bottom bar, we reverted it back to the gradient. This allowed us to retain the unity between main layout components. Designing other screens relevant to the Contacts app went smoothly with these points straightened out.

Emergency Contacts

As health conditions can be unpredictable, Momento keeps Emergency Contacts separate and easy to access. Only a limited number of contacts can be specified as emergency contacts, therefore allowing each contact a larger amount of screen space. Emergency Contacts are also reachable via the Aid button* on Momento’s lockscreen.

*The Aid button is featured on the Lockscreen & Notifications.


  • Emergency contacts tab
  • Connects to medical profile in Files application (Emergency contacts information)


  • Great use of alphabar
  • Relatively cleaner appearance → how can the contrast between the pure white background and top and bottom bars be alleviated?

Ping a Contact

Unique to the Momento OS, the ping feature is another way to contact others, alongside calls, messages, etc. Pings provide a method of getting in touch with someone without requiring input, such as voice or a typed message. On the receiving end (likely an Android or iOS device), a ping may appear as an automated text message.


  • Ease the task of reaching out
  • Compatible with other OS


  • Target audience may benefit from icon labels
  • Be mindful of spacing
  • Don’t feel limited to the space between the top and bottom bars

Contact Groups

While the ability to group contacts was a feature we wanted to include from the beginning, we only got around to mocking its relevant screen up in the final sprint of the project. Momento includes three default contact groups: emergency, medical, and family. Users can create and customize additional groups.

This mockup also includes another instance of Momo, the virtual assistant, offering suggestions based on Henry’s usage of Momento.

As this feature was designed later in the project, it is evident how we responded to aforementioned feedback regarding contrast and the top and bottom bars.


  • Claimed to strive to avoid pure white and its sanitary, clinical impression, but consistently used it in the background of Momento’s views
  • Brian Fling, profile image.
    Because the top bar is positioned at the top and uses the largest font size and primary font color, the gradient background unnecessarily attracts the eye. Page titles are important, but users are aware of where they navigate to upon tapping into it. Therefore, the top bar does not need to attract so much attention.
  • Universal bottom bar still looks clunky and out of place due to its color


  • Select an off-white color derived from Momento’s mauve to use as the base screen color
  • Remove the gradient from the top bar. The gradient is now used as a background color for elements users are expected to interact with
  • Blend the universal bottom bar into the screen by matching its color to the mockup bezel color, adjust icon sizes, and remove drop shadow

Lockscreen & Notifications


Henry needs to be aware of communications, whether with family, his clients, or Momo. This should be easy to access.


  • Effortlessly provide the most necessary information
  • Encourage positivity and perseverance
  • Ground users in reality

The Lockscreen & Notifications was a part of the OS that I took over in the final sprints, but was originally worked on by other team members in the early stages of the project.

Early lockscreen and notifications - idle, morning, evening, night, and inspirational quote.

Early versions of the Lockscreen & Notifications that I used as inspiration for the final designs. From left to right: Lockscreen - Idle, Lockscreen - Morning, Lockscreen - Evening, Lockscreen - Night, Lockscreen - Inspirational Quote.

The initial Lockscreen & Notifications team had a variety of concepts. I selected the above five screens to iterate upon, as they best fit our built concept of Momento.

Inspirational Quotes

When Henry awakens his device for the first time in a day, Momo will greet him with an inspirational quote.


  • Move users forward with inspirational quotes
  • Ground users in reality first thing in the morning with a subtle weather report via Momo’s appearance

Preview Notifications

Henry’s notifications are visible as icons from the lockscreen. Notifications from his most important applications are prioritized, and these can be prioritized in Momento’s system settings. When a notification icon is tapped, its details will expand.


  • View notifications from the lockscreen
  • Prioritize important notifications


  • Achieves balance between providing detailed information and retaining simplicity necessary for lockscreen display

Idle Display

Background information is always displayed on the screen when idle. This includes the time, date, notifications, as well as the “Aid” button. “Aid” provides immediate access to Emergency Contacts and is always accessible.


  • Immediate access to background information
  • Easily connect to Emergency Contacts

Dynamic Background

Momento’s default lockscreen background reflects the time of day with color gradients. With backgrounds for the Morning, Day, Evening, and Night, the lockscreen automatically adjusts its contrast visibility throughout the day.


  • Ground users in reality by reflecting the time of day
  • Automatically adjust lockscreen contrast throughout the day (i.e. Day vs. Night modes)



Henry is familiar with how applications are laid out in other mobile operating systems, such as Android and iOS. He needs to access all of Momento’s apps in a similar way.


  • Stick to conventions established in mobile design
  • Strengthen Momento’s design patterns

The Springboard was the final piece of Momento’s puzzle. We waited to design this after many of Momento’s applications were in their final stages because we believed the Springboard would perform best as an element that tied the operating system together as a whole. As a result, the Springboard adopts features from many other parts of Momento.

To begin with, we tackled decisions such as:

  • How many applications appear on one row? One page?
  • How can we incorporate widgets?
  • What type of widgets are unique to Momento?

Keeping our target audience in mind, we decided to limit each row of applications to 3. More spacing between each application icon allows for more accurate taps.

We referred to Momento’s Lockscreen & Notifications for guidance on which general widgets to include: Clock and Date. In addition, a minimal Weather widget provides a branding opportunity through Momo’s presence on the Springboard. We decided an operating system-wide search bar was also essential for ease of navigation.

As for widgets unique to Momento, our Health application stood out as a representative for the OS. At first, we attempted more distinct designs for the Health widget (see Early Springboard Version 4). However, we quickly decided against this, as it contradicted Momento’s design principle #1 (“Conventional”).

After settling on a shortcut-based widget design for the Health widget, we moved on to consider the following:

  • Background,
  • Uniformity with Lockscreen & Notifications.
Momento Springboard - all versions.

Final versions of the Springboard. From left to right: Morning, Day, Evening, Night.

As the Springboard is often what greets users upon unlocking a device, we recognized an opportunity to strengthen Momento’s design patterns by aligning the Springboard with the Lockscreen & Notifications. The following table lists parallels between the lockscreen and springboard:


  • Clock and Date widgets
  • Notification icons
  • Dynamic gradient background


  • Keep Clock and Date widgets constant. When moving from the lockscreen to the springboard, these elements do not move.
  • Transform notification icons into search bar widget. These elements are inline with each other.
  • Maintain dynamic gradient background. Gradient saturation is toned down to improve contrast and move attention to springboard elements.

From parts to a whole

This section will detail my work as part of our final deliverable for Professor Fling’s Mobile App Design course at the University of Washington.

Virtual Assistant: Momo

Easily access Momo from the Universal Bottom Bar.

Momo utilizes user input and usage trends to understand needs and make personalized recommendations.

Momento Virtual Assistant prototype: Henry uses the overlay assistant and decides to listen to music.Momento Virtual Assistant prototype: Henry uses the full screen assistant and decides to contact a friend.

Open Momo in the full-screen Virtual Assistant application for a more immersive experience.

Momo connects users with their favorite self-care tools.


Lockscreen & Notifications


More applications

The design work covered in this case study is limited to that which I have worked on. In addition to a design language and guiding persona, Momento consists of 10 applications:

View Momento as a complete operating system below or see the live presentation deck.

Looking back on Momento

Each sprint of this project was a rollercoaster due to each team member adjusting to working in a larger group and eventually taking on more individual responsibilities due to one member dropping the course. However, our efforts and struggles paid off as we were showered with praise during every design review with our instructor. My work for this project exemplifies my ability to receive and deliver on constructive feedback.

Ideas may be proposed by individuals, but decisions cannot be made alone

Due to working with a larger team, it was often difficult to gather, especially to make small decisions. On the single occasion that I made my own decision, it was the minority opinion of the group. With discussion and listening to others’ perspectives, I easily understood why my original decision was not the best aligned to our design language.

Collaboration thrives on encouragement and shared goals

As a particularly detail-oriented person, I was encouraged when I discovered one of my team members shared my attention to detail in our screen designs. This mutual value helped build trust among our members, and lessened my burden of feeling responsible to do a final detail check on others’ work.

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