Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app.

Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden
Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden

About the client

  • Sidekick, a distinguished Canadian company, leads the market in athletic recovery innovations. Their specialized massage devices not only aim to enhance athletic performance and accelerate recovery but also prevent injuries. Sidekick’s extensive digital presence, highlighted by a popular YouTube channel that offers training guides and product showcases, has secured them accolades from industry experts, influencers, and a devoted global community of professional athletes.

Project overview

  • Imagine finishing a grueling workout, muscles aching, craving relief. Now, visualize easy and affordable access to professional-grade massage technology. This is what Sidekick envisioned when they realized their internal design capabilities were not keeping pace with their ambitious functional and aesthetic goals. Engaging Cieden was a strategic move to develop a mobile application that integrates seamlessly with their innovative devices. This app allows athletes to personalize their massage settings, like adjusting vibration intensity and heat, and choosing specific training programs. Despite the pressing deadline, Cieden delivered a user-friendly and visually appealing design that not only improved the practical use of Sidekick’s products but also solidified their reputation as pioneers in athlete recovery technology.


  • Usability during active training. It was crucial to design an interface that athletes could use intuitively in the midst of training. Our approach minimized cognitive load, enabling athletes to easily navigate the app to watch training guides and adjust settings like intensity and heat without detracting from their workout. This thoughtful design ensures that the app’s simplicity does not come at the expense of functionality.
  • Vision vs. technical feasibility. Balancing the client's ambitious vision against the technical and resource constraints was a pivotal aspect of our design process. By adopting a lean UX methodology, we focused on high-value features that were both impactful and feasible, ensuring that our design was not only visionary but also executable within a tight timeframe.
  • Scalability within strict deadlines. Addressing future scalability was a challenge, especially under the strict 142-hour deadline imposed on us. We implemented a modular design framework that accommodates easy updates and enhancements. This approach ensures the application can grow and adapt as Sidekick’s needs evolve, without necessitating a complete overhaul.


  • Recognizing our clients as athletes with expert domain knowledge, we adopted a rapid, responsive approach. Starting with low-fidelity wireframes, we quickly moved to high-fidelity versions and then to the final design, maintaining a tight schedule without compromising on thoroughness. Each phase, from design through to testing, was meticulously planned and executed. We placed a strong emphasis on rigorous usability testing to ensure our solutions were not only effective but also deeply resonant with the users, enhancing their overall training and recovery experience.
Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden
Our approach .

Given that our clients were athletes with expert domain knowledge and a deep understanding of their own needs and pain points, our approach was rapid and responsive. We began by creating low-fidelity wireframes, which the clients quickly approved due to their alignment with user expectations. This smooth validation process allowed us to advance to high-fidelity wireframes and the final design seamlessly. Throughout this iterative process, we maintained a tight schedule, ensuring that every step, from design to testing, was thoroughly vetted. Special attention was given to rigorous usability testing, to ensure the solutions were not only effective but also resonated well with the end-users, enhancing their training and recovery experience.

Getting started with the massage

Upon signing in, athletes are presented with a straightforward selection of Sidekick devices. To aid in familiarization with new devices, we integrated a 'quick info' feature directly within the app, ensuring users can start their recovery without hurdles.

Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden

Setting up a session

After pairing their chosen device, users can tailor their session based on their goals: relaxation, warm-up, or post-workout recovery. They can specify targeted muscle groups and select the appropriate device settings. The app then directs them to personalized guided massage training videos, designed for minimal user effort and a smooth, quick start.

Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden

Remote control

We provided users with maximum control over their sessions through a comprehensive remote control feature. Users can adjust the massage intensity, toggle heat settings, and even craft their personalized programs, setting specific vibration intensities and session durations.

Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden

In-app devices market

In anticipation of future product enhancements, we established a foundation for an in-app marketplace. This will allow athletes to explore and purchase new devices directly within the app, supported by video overviews that help them make informed choices.

Sidekick: fast-track design for massage app Cieden

Dark and light modes

Understanding the diverse contexts in which the app would be used, we created both dark and light modes. Dark mode is designed for low-light environments or evening sessions, providing a soothing user experience, while light mode is ideal for daytime use or brightly lit settings.