Our team commenced with user research (interviews, survey) and ended with a usability evaluation. Our usability tests uncovered insights, which led to the understanding of the users’ interaction with our app and its companion device prototype(s).
Diversity was imperative for us to incorporate an inclusive approach to a user-centered design (UCD) process. This product (Neuron) is designed to be used by a broad range of users who face similar symptoms of distraction, procrastination, boredom, and fatigue, which prevents them from achieving their daily tasks.
We recruited 5 participants (three remote, two in-person) for an interview which lasted on average 30 mins. Followed by an interview we conducted an online survey with 19 participants to conceive a solid understanding of the problem.
Most people identified their phone as their primary distractor and did not want to use reminders or notifications on their phone during times of productivity.
“Things that pop up on my phone distracts me the most.”
We wanted to go beyond a screen-based product. Something which would help users divert their attention from their smartphones to their task.
We synthesized the research data to come up with common themes. We used the drawing board for affinity diagramming to synthesize the information, which we later ported it over Excel spreadsheet for in vivo coding.
We came up with our own design principles for our solution in conjunction with the themes. For example,
Design Principle: A successful product would help users inculcate focus improvement through daily use.
We commenced our vision for the product through storyboarding and product sketching.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, we chose to utilize the technique which has been invented back in the ’80s. Therefore, we utilized the underlying principles of Pomodoro Technique — A time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
Having envisioned a design solution, which would possess a tangible medium, we wanted to come close to the utilization of 5 senses of a human being in order to deliver a memorable and a meaningful experience. Therefore, we incorporated a communication technique in our device through multiple modalities (visual, audio, and touch/haptic).
Time to put our ideas into action.
We came up with a click-through wire-frame for the App using Adobe XD, followed by its code-based prototype using Angular framework hosted on Microsoft Azure server.
Code-based prototype link: http://hci594-neuron.azurewebsites.net/
The device shell drafting for our device:
A physical prototype based on Arduino platform:
We conducted a remote usability test of our click-through wireframes with 19 participants for the Neuron App using Optimal Workshop’s Chalkmark — A first-click analysis tool. This led us to develop a code-based prototype.
Later, we conducted an in-person usability evaluation with only 3 (the time constraints allowed us to recruit only 3) participants to evaluate overall experience of Neuron (emphasis was given to the device).
This led us to uncover insights based on our observations. We aim to improve our device by incorporating further iterations.