Star Wars Force Band for BB-8



Project completion:



UX Design & Research Lead

  • Human factors research: design and lead research studies to better understand ergonomics and digital/physical product inter-usability
  • End-to-end experience design: Lead UX design for digital app and physical product.

About this project:

The Force Band is a complementary wearable device designed to help users drive the BB-8 robot without the active use of a mobile device. After the launch of BB-8, we received feedback that users were uneasy about loaning their expensive mobile devices to others (mostly children) which was required to actively drive the robot. The Force Band was a product that was designed to solve this problem, but also to augment the drive and play experiences by providing additional features including active and ambient play experiences.

This project was unique because I was able to influence the product experience beyond the pixel. I had the opportunity to inform the out-of-box experience, onboarding, device pairing, and audio/haptic user feedback loops in game play. I also consulted on the industrial design of the wearable, and the packaging design. This work was complex and stretched my practice of user-centric design. 

The challenge:

UX is a fairly invisible design discipline. I was at the ground-level of the product development process, helping define experience requirements while balancing the needs of the business, manufacturing, and engineering teams.

My ability to orchestrate user-facing experiences for hardware, software, firmware, packaging, and industrial design requires a significant amount of patience and trust. In addition to managing that work, I also doubled as a lead individual contributor. On a scrappy startup budget, we were able to get two part-time associate UX design roles open to help execute the vision of the product.

Startup life tests our ability to deliver through ambiguity. As a design lead, it was my responsibility to provide clarity on the experience, and to lead the design vision by any means necessary. 


In this case, work was being done incrementally around the company so that meaningful progress could be made around hardware, firmware, industrial design, and packaging design. I used this opportunity to balance my work between due diligence and execution. There were some concrete milestones that I had to work around, for example manufacturing and packaging deadlines. 

From there, I prioritized research and design work around experience dependencies. For instance, in order to arrive at the optimal driving experience (the primary use case for the Force Band), I needed to uncover data points to inform the physical product design, digital onboarding and the combined device and smartphone calibration experience. Completing that major step allowed me to turn my focus to the design of the individual gaming features (Droid Control, Combat Training, and Force Awareness features). I worked closely with the firmware and hardware teams to better understand the capabilities of the device, and used that information to design physical interaction experiences through haptic, light, and audio interactions. Once those features were mostly wrapped, I then designed and finalized the product setup and feature tutorials

In summary, my responsibilities included:

  • Applied user research for feature exploration, scoping, development, and refinement
  • Field research with children and adults, over 600+ participants in 6 months
  • Human factors research, design, and analysis across the Force Band product system. Included management of user setup experiences, multiple device user interfaces, play environments, modes of play, optimal use of products within the system, and management of errors.
  • Gesture ergonomics and industrial design optimization
  • Active and ambient play design, including the use of haptic, audio, and light feedback systems
  • End-to-end physical and digital user experience design, from unboxing, onboarding, and the returning play experience


App Store – 4.6/5 average rating – 1.2K reviews

Google Play Store – 4.3/5 average rating – 2.9K reviews

“It’s the closest you’ll ever get to being a Jedi, and it’s great. There’s an undeniable joy that you’ll feel when you’re driving a droid with little more than the power of your mind.”

“The holographic AR messaging, automatic robotic mode and the cute mannerisms of BB-8 made our first impression of this little droid an overwhelmingly good one, and now the addition of the Force Band has only made us fall more deeply in love with the little guy.”

A sample of my work:

This is the video trailer that demonstrates the orchestration of different hardware and software features as a result of my design and research work.

Low-fidelity design concepts (click to view full-sized image)

Technical journey maps (click to view full-sized image)

High fidelity concepts:
Created with the help of a Cewon Kim, Technical UI artist