Creating a Cohesive Onboarding for a Multi-Surface Product

December 2023

Forward launched the CarePod, its autonomous clinic, in the last half of 2023. CarePods are the answer to the following—what if, like apps built for your phone, healthcare could be a series of experiences built by doctors, using hardware capabilities that place you in control, available on-demand? I led design for the new Forward onboarding experience, which spans both the Forward app and CarePods to create a cohesive, cross-platform experience. The team worked to balance building someone’s health profile with demonstrating the power and functionality of the CarePod. I worked with two of Forward’s co-founders, Rob Sebastian and Adrian Aoun, along with our founding designer Casey Edgeton as a consultant to create and ship the first experience members have with Forward.

How we thought about our problem

CarePods are a category-defining product, and flip what people expect from healthcare on its head. Demonstrating an on-demand, self-serve clinical experience means hinting at the freedom that platform offers, while offering guidance and support to help users address what matters to them and their health.

Our onboarding experience uses health information and biometrics it gathers from members to create personalized recommendations. It modifies the experience based on what it’s seeing about a member and what it’s hearing a member express.

Project Impact

Onboarding worked in service of members retaining at Forward. The cohorts after this experience shipped retain as members longer than Forward’s flagship members. Later on I’ll discuss how the Onboarding experience also impacted Forward’s member growth, leading to 40% more conversions over incumbent following its launch. The Forward platform benefitted from this project—the first need-finding and guidance-based experience for CarePods created components and flows being used by the team today to expand Forward’s offerings.

Challenges and Limitations

Cross-Platform nature

By far the largest challenge to this project is the cross-platform experience. Forward’s onboarding takes place over the course of hours or days, rather than minutes. The needs of a user going through this journey are different than most products or services. This is all predicated on the notion that a member’s best first experience with Forward includes a visit to their CarePod, where biometrics can be gathered and capabilities like body scans, heart sound analysis, and self-serve blood draws can be introduced. That’s a large decision that warrants its own post.

Experience Cohesion

CarePods are built to be incredibly immersive, meaning the Forward app needed to raise the level of its interaction to create a cohesive thread between the two.

CarePod Latency

Some CarePod experience implementations required design to cover latency between calls to our clinical platform and transitions between experiential segments.

Interface Expectations

Users often expect the CarePod to have a voice interface, given its futuristic nature. By leading with touch interactions, the CarePod tries to expectation-set that it doesn't have a voice interface as of now.

Notes on Process

Early Designs are Sacrificial

I owned the design process 0-1 for this project, meaning early iterations were incredibly low-level, focused, and sacrificial to the conversations they set up with stakeholders. This allowed me to move quickly through larger product questions and engage a large audience internally for input.

Interaction Explorations are Key

I go very wide on my explorations for product and design forks, but especially at the fidelity where interaction design comes into play. On surfaces like CarePods, interaction and immersive feel can lead to deeper understanding and joy from users across their time with Forward.

More than just Screen Design

Designing for CarePods is an amalgamation of product, visual, service, and interaction design. The user is interacting with many different elements inside the CarePod, from the main touchscreen to the passthrough drawer to the turntable and chair within the space.

Building Toward an Ideal

Engineering plays a massive role in informing my outputs for different ships—but I always start from my designed ideal and step my way to it. I find this helps me understand long-term experiential and company goals, and allows me to work towards them over time.

Experience and Outputs

Forward’s onboarding experience spans three distinct steps, with the first and third being mobile experiences built as accompanying parts to the core CarePod visit. The experience is large enough that it makes sense to highlight specific parts that work to create cohesion, guidance, and empower the user to explore their new product.

Forward App: Introduction

The first app experience introduces the core process of getting started with Forward, using a recurring motif to guide members through each step.

The first app flow introduces the steps of getting started with Forward, using a recurring motif to guide members through each step.

Information about the member gathered during this flow is surfaced in the CarePod visit, showing that Forward’s platform has already started learning about you and your health.

CarePod Visit

CarePods guide you through evaluating and interpreting your metabolic health, heart health, and cancer risk using established clinical calculations and protocols. The risk interpretations are built on top of capabilities like a 3D LiDAR body scan, a blood draw you can complete yourself easily and painlessly, and more standard tools like pulse oximetry.

The risk interpretations are built on top of capabilities like a 3D LiDAR body scan, a blood draw you can complete yourself easily and painlessly, and more standard tools like pulse oximetry. Each of these tools is used to give larger interpretations of your general health, pointing members towards what areas they should focus on.

Following the core flow of the experience, the member is introduced to Health Apps, which are protocol-based experiences built around a specific condition like Diabetes or goal like Sleep Improvement. I used an immersive honeycomb grid to show the breadth of the apps available to the member through their membership.The risk interpretations are built on top of capabilities like a 3D LiDAR body scan, a blood draw you can complete yourself easily and painlessly, and more standard tools like pulse oximetry.

Forward App: Deeper Profile

Once someone completes their core visit, the member is asked to complete their health history, the last piece necessary before prescriptions or doctor-created care plans can be established.

We decided the Forward app was better suited to repetitive nature of history entry.

Members have the option of completing the profile later and instead entering their new app homepage, where they have results and plans ready for their review from their first CarePod visit.


Positive Retention Signal

CarePod members now retain longer than Forward’s traditional flagship members. The onboarding experience does a better job of introducing the product and guiding members towards goals and areas to improve upon.

Immersive Experiences are Enjoyable

Research with members immediately showed higher levels of understanding, excitement, and enjoyment of Forward as a product.

Onboarding as a Foundation

Extending the onboarding experience to serve as the foundation of the CarePod demo experience converted 40% more people over the incumbent demo. Some medical elements like the blood draw experience are left out, but the core principles of the experience remain.

Large Platform Growth

The platform gained a large amount of interaction and experiential components that can be used by designers and teams building downstream experiences for CarePods and the Forward app.


Cross-Platform Experiences Warrant More Guidance

Designing for a multi-surface experience that likely spans days places a large premium on way-finding and guidance for users

The platform must Accommodate Growth

Need-finding and guidance continue to need to grow as the CarePod offers more and more Health Apps for different conditions and health goals.

Balancing Retention and Growth

Experiences tailored to showing the power of the CarePod as a product while feeling personalized impacted Forward’s retention and growth.