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AI startup brand vision

∙ mobile app prototype development for an artificial intelligence startup

∙ product research & brand vision curation

∙ february - november 2021


Aware.ai is a Pittsburgh-based artificial intelligence startup that aims to address the maternal mortality issue in the US. The virtual pregnancy assistant leverages AI to connect new and expectant mothers to vital community and health resources before, during, and after pregnancy while providing personalized and actionable maternal health education.

As a product specialist for Aware.ai, I conducted extensive user research and competitor analysis; in addition, I directed the brand vision by developing the mobile app prototype and UI, and designing the website UI.


product specialist   ∙   customer researcher   ∙   UI designer


user research   ∙   competitor analysis   ∙   prototyping   ∙   storyboarding



customer discovery

To explore our problem space and better understand how we can serve our target audience (new and expectant mothers), we conducted many interviews over a period of several months. Along with interviewing mothers, we also interviewed healthcare experts for additional insights on our problem space. The key questions we wanted to address included

  • Barriers with current healthcare: Have mothers experienced any issues when interacting with a healthcare provider during or after pregnancy?

  • Problems with existing solutions: What websites did mothers typically visit online for information during or after pregnancy? What sites were not so helpful?

  • Desirability of community: Did mothers find it helpful to speak with fellow mothers about their pregnancy experiences? Do they feel more comfortable reaching out to them as opposed to a healthcare professional?

  • Improving future experiences for mothers: For new mothers, in retrospect, what information did they lack while pregnant?

competitor analysis

The current market of pregnancy apps is fairly saturated, so it was important to first distinguish what made Aware.ai different and more importantly, what made the company worthy of customer investment. To better understand the current market, I explored sixteen existing pregnancy apps and analyzed each app's pros and cons, and compared their features and mission to those of Aware.ai. At the end, I compiled a list of emerging themes and ideas that Aware.ai could take inspiration from, as well as ways that Aware.ai could differentiate itself from existing solutions.

One important result of my competitor research was gathering insights on how Aware.ai could combat racism in the healthcare industry, as this is one of the startup's overaching goals. From my research, I came up with serveral ideas to consider implementing: firstly, providing education (for both moms and dads) on the state of racism in the healthcare industry (through articles, podcasts, etc.), providing access to support groups for POC/minorities, and lastly, connecting pregnant women to healthcare providers that support diversity.

design brainstorming

From the insights gathered from user research and competitor analysis, I began synthesizing our users' core needs and brainstorming ways we could address and solve the problems we observed through design principles.

A few core needs and corresponding design principles follow:

mobile app prototyping

We then translated design principles into functional elements (i.e. how the user would be able to achieve the desired solution). Then, I created a mobile app prototype that showcased these desired core features. In addition to creating the app features, I had to curate a brand vision and test different color schemes, create graphics that followed the brand personality, and consider various UI layout choices. I decided that it was important to me for Aware.ai to exude a friendly, approachable personality; I communicated this through a pastel color palette, soft edges, and an intuitive, uncluttered interface.

Community component

Community component

Intuitive, easy-to-navigate pregnancy education

Appointment checklist with a familiar chat layout

concluding thoughts

Working with Aware.ai was a unique opportunity, in that I could leverage both my design and entrepreneurship knowledge to contribute to the brand development. By diving into the anything-but-predictable world of startups, I developed my interpersonal skills, strengthened my knowledge of user research methods, and learned how much flexibility and persistence is needed in an entrepreneurial path. On the creative side of my work, I enjoyed having such autonomy in curating the brand personality and gained quite a bit of experience in design thinking and translating user needs into concrete design elements. I look forward to seeing Aware.ai's growth in the future!

made with ♥ by michelle zhang