Aesthetics of Prosthetics: Guiding Selection of Cosmetic Covers for Amputees



Prosthetics users undergo massive change in their lives following the amputation. The surgical procedures, concerns about cost and insurance coverage, the social isolation during recovery, the physical pain of the rehabilitation process, and the fear over the loss of function and independence can be overwhelming for many people. The prosthetics selection process is currently very pragmatic, with a relatively narrow focus on providing the most function for the least amount of personal cost to the user. While this benefits the user greatly, it also narrows their experience of the prosthetic, and fails to address larger issues of their identity and psychological state.


  1. A single coherent catalog that provides all of the available options to the users, and helps them to narrow down these options to find a set of potential models that will meet their needs. 
  2. A visualization tool that allows users to mentally picture the covers in use prior to purchase, and gives them confidence and hope for post-amputation recovery.


Research           Synthesize          Design         Prototype        Evaluate


User Profile

Our users are prosthetics owners, who have had an amputation of one or both legs, above or below the knee.Almost all users will be primarily focused on the return of ambulatory function after the surgery. However, we have learned through our secondary research and interview that amputees are interest in cosmetics. This interest extends to the aesthetic, customization, psychological ownership and self-expression aspects of the prosthetics, all of which can start to play a more prominent role once they regain a decent level of functionality during the initial adjustment phase.


Task Analysis


User Interviews

Stakeholder interviews




Theme Mapping



Sketch and Pinup


Style Quiz

Maker Movement

Social Photos

Augmented Reality

Interactive Experiments

3D Model

Sticker Selfie

Magic Mirror


Paper Prototype

Product Catalog

Visualizaiton tool

  • Lookbook
  • 3D Model
  • Stickers
  • 2.5 D
  • Augmented


Product Catalog

  • Persona
  • Scenario
  • Speak Aloud Protocol
  • A/B Testing

Visualizaiton Tools

  • Usability testing


Product Catalog

Visualizaiton Tool




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