WheelTrack is a mobility aid tracking app that eases the travel experience of people with reduced mobility by providing real-time information on the location and integrity of their mobility device.
Winner: IATA Air Hackathon for Reduced Mobility 2020
Special Recognition Award

See Prototype


This is a project from an international hackathon sponsored by IATA (International Air Transport Association), Microsoft, Boeing, and major airlines and travel organizations.

In this hackathon, teams were given a task to build solutions to enhance:

  1. the booking experience for passengers travelling with mobility aids, and/or
  2. the tracking of mobility aids such as wheelchairs.


User Research
Info Architecture
UX/ UI Design


Material Design


3 days*


3 Developers
2 UX Designers (inc. me)
1 Project Manager


User Research
Info Architecture
UX/ UI Design


Material Design


3 days*


3 Developers
2 UX Designers
1 Project Mgr


Prior to the 3-day onsite event, teams were allowed to strategize & do pre-work. Our team originally agreed to undertake the booking experience challenge. We brainstormed and researched. I did a bunch of research on my own and asked wheelchair users in my network to share their booking experiences.

Our team also went to SEA-TAC airport to interview the head of the official wheelchair vendor there. We also observed their operations in their control room and around the airport.

My teammates & I interviewing SEA-TAC's wheelchair vendor chief.
Our team interviewing YouTuber Lindsey Becker and husband Wesley.

Customer Side

However, on the 1st day of the onsite event, we discovered that 80% of the participating teams, including us, wanted to tackle the booking experience. Ironically, based on our interviews and discussions with actual wheelchair users present at the event, they consistently said that their most painful travel experience actually comes from not having sufficient information about the status of their device while it is in transit.

We learned:

  1. 1 out of 5 people who fly with wheelchair gets their device mishandled

  2. Most wheelchairs are highly customized depending on unique user needs.

  3. Due to their customizable nature, wheelchairs are hard to repair or replace.

  4. It’s not uncommon for wheelchairs to cost as much as a car.

  5. Reporting a damaged or lost wheelchair is a tedious process especially if there are multiple airlines & airports involved.

Business Side

From the business side, we learned:

  1. Airlines and airports don’t have a centralized system for tracking wheelchairs throughout the journey.

  2. Having the detailed information of each passenger’s wheelchair is crucial in determining how to handle them properly. (ex. type of battery, which parts are detachable, etc.)
With only 2-days left, our team decided to pivot. It was a hard decision because our prior work, which I was heavily involved in, has to be abandoned and we have to start from scratch. I was hesitant to agree with the team’s decision but knowing it was ultimately best for the users & best for our team, I agreed and only slept 2 hrs the 1st night working with my fellow designer.

Representatives from Port of Seattle, Expedia, Delta Airlines, Microsoft, & wheelchair user group talking about challenges in the travel.
Photo Credit: IATA

User Persona

We were given the option to choose from different personas the organizer had predetermined. We chose David & Martin Martinez. The wheelchair users at the event share the same fear and frustrations with David.


8 y/o, Male, Wheelchair User

  • totally immobile
  • loves watching soccer with his father David
  • gets bored easily


37 y/o, Male, Martin's Father

  • travels with Martin
  • normally avoids traveling by plane as he is emotionally impacted by a bad experience 2 years ago when his child wheelchair got lost and damaged.

Competitive Analysis

The tracking services we took inspiration from are the ones from other logistics companies, specifically with Amazon. As a team, we all agreed that having a touchpoint tracker and a photo attached to the delivery notification creates a good customer experience.

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  • Information Architecture

    My co-designer and I worked through the night to organize the user flows. We came up with a separate flow for the vendor (airline/ airport staff) and the customer (wheelchair users).

    To rapidly move on to wireframing, we kept the user flows really simple.

    My co-designer, Gabby, & I still working at 2 am of the 1st night of the event.

    Vendor User Flow

    Customer User Flow

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  • Branding

    Brand Name & Colors

    Because it wasn’t part of the judging criteria, we spent the least amount of time on branding. We decided to use Alaska Airlines' company colors for our design since half of our team works there.

    I came up with the brand name “WheelTrack” which is a portmanteau of “wheelchair” and “tracker.” The pronunciation all sounds like "We'll track." The shorter version of the project's promise - "We will track your devices for you."


    With Android as our base, we used Google’s Material Design guidelines for typography. We used Roboto for the main typeface and Lato for the headings.

    Lato was chosen due to its semi-rounded details that give a feeling of warmth, while its strong structure provides stability and seriousness.

    Visual Design

    Design Feedback

    We reused Android screens from previous projects to create wireframes & mockups. We quickly came up with a prototype and had it tested by a Delta Airline manager, an IATA representative, & a customer.

    These are the top feedback we got:

    1. Taking photos of each side of a wheelchair is good in theory. But it will probably not be put into practice because that can be tedious for handlers.

    2. For customer privacy, it is better to remove the customer name from the vendor’s view.

    Final Mockups

    My co-designer focused on the customer-facing screens and I focused on the vendor-facing screens. These are the final mockups I made.


    This is the combined prototype of the customer & vendor facing screens.

    Conclusion & Learnings

    Our last minute decision to pivot turned out for the better. We received unanimous positive feedback for our prototype and won the Special Recognition Award.

    Our team with jury Mark Ehrhardt from Boeing.
    From left to right (Diana Wang, Daidre Gothard, Ryan Huse, Chi Nguyen, Chickee Fuerman and Gabriela Oliveira)
    Photo Credit: IATA
    Our team high-fiving each other.

    What I Learned

    It was an eye-opening experience for me. As a former nurse, I was humbled to know how much I still don’t know about wheelchair users. It was heartbreaking listening to all their challenges. At the same time, it was heartwarming knowing how many people and organizations are doing their part to help.

    As a hackathon participant, I learned how to quickly change strategy when presented with more substantial data. It taught me to detach myself from my previous work and be supportive of the team’s decision.

    Once more, I was reminded to put the user's needs first while making sure the business needs are being met as well.

    What Would I Do Differently

    On the customer side, I would make the app more accessible. Possibly making it operational using other methods - voice, gesture, etc. I would also consider their transportation experience to & from their homes to the airport.

    On the vendor side, I would do more research on their personnel, workflow, & protocols. I would also look into other existing processes & technologies we can leverage that we have probably overlooked during the limited time of the hackathon.

    Kenny Salvini of Here and Now Project- a quadriplegic who uses his headrest to operate his wheelchair, sharing his story to the hackathon participants. Behind him is Toby Willis, a Senior Product Manager at Expedia, who has a visual impairment himself.
    Photo Credit: IATA

    What's Next

    After the hackathon, I remained in contact with Lindsey & Wesley Becker (wheelchair user advocates at the event). I also started consulting for a startup that serves people with limb loss & limb deformities.

    I hope to continue sharing the knowledge and skills I got from this hackathon and the unique combination of my medical and design background.

    Wanna see my other work?

    See Filo