VR Therapy • Tablet


Limbix is a virtual reality therapy platform backed by Sequoia Capital focused on aiding mental health clinicians and physicians in treating and preventing a variety of disorders. Therapists can use this technology to use exposure therapy to help their patients overcome phobias and anxieties, such as driving and navigating social situations. Limbix plans to release a VR kit for therapists to use in late 2018, which includes a VR headset and tablet.
Our team was tasked with producing the VR Kit tablet app for therapists to use as they guide a patient through VR therapy.
I worked on the design portion of this project. Using the user research collected by the research team, I worked with a 6-person team to ideate, wireframe, design, and prototype the tablet app.


The setting
The Limbix VR Kit is designed to be used in a clinical therapy setting. The two use cases are therapist-guided, where a therapist controls and facilitates the VR session via a tablet app and provides feedback and support throughout the exposure experience, and therapist-prescribed, during which the patient's VR session is set up by a clinician and the patient is guided by a virtual therapist in VR.

The design of our tablet app includes both of these use cases, but the in-session tablet experience is designed for the therapist. Here is what the therapist-guided experience is like for both therapist and patient:
User interviews
Our research team interviewed a 4 therapists to test a basic version of the VR Kit and 3 VR researchers to understand both how this technology could be used in practice as well as understand the limitations and challenges that come with using VR in this space.

The lead designer from Limbix had created a basic version of what the final VR kit app would look like. These screens were what the research team used to test therapists:
Key Takeaways
From the therapist interviews, we found that the most important issues that we needed to address with an MVP product were:
  • Making the tablet app more usable for therapists to use in a clinical setting by keeping in mind note-taking abilities and previewing programs before broadcasting them to VR
  • Creating a clear distinction in the two main types of VR therapy programs: those completed under the guidance of a therapist, and those that a patient can experience on their own
  • Creating patient profiles for therapists to be able to manage and track the growth of their patients
  • Designing an onboarding for the app so that any new user can quickly understand how to navigate and use the VR kit


Ideation & Process
Our design team worked directly with the lead designer from Limbix to ideate solutions for the issues we encountered in research. We got consistent and direct feedback, which led to a really collaborative design process.

Using the Google lean design sprint framework, our team met cumulatively for 6 hours over the course of a few days to brainstorm and ideate each individual screen of the app. Then, each team member took a different screen and came back with wireframes. After iterating and testing our wireframes, we took a crack at the final mockups. Finally, we combined our mockups and produced a prototype using Principal.
Content browse
Because users were unsure of how to navigate through the app in V1 prototype, we decided to keep things simple: the home screen would just be a list of programs the therapist could immediately begin. We decided to use segmented control to separate therapist-guided and therapist-prescribed programs, and include a bar to our explanation screen in case the user skipped or missed onboarding.

After testing our initial wireframe, we found that we could reduce the cognitive load on the user by aligning all images to the left, and all text to the right. Additionally, we encountered some confusion over therapist-guided and therapist-prescribed, so we decided to try something new.
Testing this iteration, we found that though the right column achieved a minimal feel without a dividing line between programs, it didn't create distinct associations between images and the titles of the programs. We reverted the titles simply to "guided" and "prescribed" and solved the issue of users not clicking our explanation bar by including an onboarding bubble during the first time user experience.
Therapist-guided vs. therapist-prescribed
The unique value proposition of Limbix's programs is that therapists are able to either guide a patient through immersion, or set it up and allow them to experience it without guidance. We decided to include an info bar on the content browse screen for users to be able to go back and learn the difference at any time. In our initial wireframes, we assumed that this screen would be the initial screen users see before selecting content.

We found that users generally responded well to the wireframe of this screen. In our next iteration, we added images to compliment the text to compliment the explanations.
At this point we realized that this screen would not necessarily be accessed before a user arrived at the home screen, so we added a back button and made the button text a little more intuitive to make it clear that the user would go back to the content browse screen. Lastly, we removed the images and added illustrations to simplify the explanation in text.
Due to the novelty of VR technology and its use in therapy, I created an onboarding experience that would walk the user through the app during the first time user experience. Using familiar patterns like hotspots and tooltip bubbles that a user could easily follow as they moved through the app.
For our final prototype, we reduced the rounding of the corners of the onboarding pop-ups and added a "next tip" primary button and a "skip tour" secondary button to help guide users through the important portions of the app.
Starting a session
For therapists, the tablet UI during immersion therapy was the most important. There were a lot of pieces we needed to consider. From having detailed descriptions for each program type, to allowing for multiple configurations per session, to allowing therapists to take notes and preview videos within the app, we designed an experience with the therapist in mind.

In our initial wireframes, we didn't have a section for therapists to take notes as they were working with patients, and we added this in to our next version. What this meant, though, was that each set of notes had to be tied to a specific patient– and thus, patient profiles were born.For a therapist to take notes during a session, it had to be logged to the patient's in-app profile.
In our final prototype, we streamlined the process of playing things in VR. Additionally, we rotated the entire app horizontally so that the therapist could take notes on the pop-up keyboard while seeing the current activity and what the patient was viewing.


Moving forward
Overall, the client was pleased with our designs. Since our design team worked directly with the design director of Limbix, we were able to have rapid and frequent feedback throughout the project. The Limbix team is handling further validation and re-designs ahead of their late 2018 launch date.
By being able to work so closely with the lead designer at Limbix, I learned a lot about how design decisions are made, lean design sprints, and how teams are managed. I assisted in leading this team, and seeing just how much time and effort it took to get everyone on the same page was really impressive.

I learned that I really enjoy iterative and lean design sprints. By bouncing off ideas and sharing them before finalizing my own ideas, I feel that I'm able to crowdsource the best ideas as a team. Lastly, I loved designing for such important work. Being able to contribute to a technology that helps someone overcome debilitating phobias is incredibly gratifying, and I'm thankful to have been able to contribute a piece to this experience.