In order to start my research, I did a Lean Survey Canvas to frame the survey. As my approach was hypothesis driven, it helped me to focus on the insights needed for validating my assumptions. My goal was to know more about peoples’ routine and the emotional problems when working from home.
I wanted to learn the following:
- Do they follow a daily work routine?
- How do they structure their daily work-oriented tasks?
- Do they use any specific methodology for time managing?
- Are there any downsides when working from home?
- What do they get distracted by?
With the survey results, I learned that 63% of the people that work from home get easily distractedR11; mainly by Social Media, but also with home duties. Almost 70% of them feel loneliness, because of the lack of work environment.
When I asked them about their daily routine, I found out that 42% follow their own routine, meaning that they like to organize their day the way they wanted. And 53% make a to-do list with priority.
I have quite a lot of friends that are freelancers, so I had the chance to interview them and get interesting insights. They confirmed that when working from home:
- Get distracted by Social Media and also home duties ( I high percentage of people mentioned this last one).
- Coworking spaces are like going to work and help them to work more and better. But not everybody can afford it.
- To-do lists help organise themselves.
- Miss having a tool that measures their time.
- Feel lonely when working at home.
I transfered the data collected and I build an affinity diagram to cluster my findings by patterns and relations.
I decided to tackle the following problems: time managing, distractions and loneliness.
I also developed an empathy map to synthesise rational and sentimental aspects of my users through their situation, acts, feelings and emotions. It helped me better understand my users, their perspectives, and their behaviours.
Problem statement and HMWs
Thanks to all this data I came up with the following statement:
People that work from home need a way to manage their time effectively and don’t feel lonely so they are more productive.
And I ask myself, How might I help people to organise their time when working from home? How might I help them to have human contact without wasting their working time?
Based on the findings given from the survey and interviews, I create Joanna, my user persona. She owns an online shop for a year now and works from home. She likes to organise her day the night before, but she knows that then she doesn’t follow the routine and get easily distracted by cooking and with Social Media.
She misses talking with her workmates, so she tries to go to work in a coffee shop but sometimes is too loud.
This is a typical working day in Joanna’s life. As you see on the left, her productivity goes up and down, and drops when she gets distracted.
The main pain points Joanna faces are getting distracted by home duties, when a delivery man brings her online shopping, cooking and going for a coffee.
Even though she organise her day, she feels frustrated because is not able to follow the routine.
Based on this I saw an opportunity to help people that work from home to be more productive with their time.
I came up with some brief statements that identifies users and describes their core needs.
- As a freelancer, I want to have a routine so I can take more advantage of my time.
- As a freelancer, I want to be able to socialise while working from home so I don’t feel lonely.
- As a freelancer, I want to get less distracted so I can concentrate on my work.
- As a freelancer, I want to be able to manage my time better so I can be more productive.
- As a freelancer, I want to have more free time so I can spend it with other people.
Feature Prioritization and MOSCOW
I strated ideating possible features and categorize them by its relevancy. As an MVP I should developed an app as simple as possible but with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters.
Keeping in mind Joanna’s pain points and based on my prioritisation I decided to include the following features:
- Day organizer
- Weekly routine saver
- Time Alarm
- Deadline reminder
- Build-in Pomodoro Method
- Disable Social Media Distractors
- Map with nearest coffee shops “freelance friendly”
I used the Crazy 8 method to generate a wide variety of solutions to solve the challenge.
I finally decided to create an app for iOS with a calendar to organise daily tasks based on categories. The app has a timer to help the user to track their tasks and be more effective.
It also has a map that shows the nearby ‘ freelance-friendly’ coffee shops and coworkings. This feature aims to tackle the loneliness problem when working at home. It encourages people to take a break for a coffee or to work in a place where they can interact with other people in the same situation.
I sketched screens of different features and I created a low-fi paper prototype to test them with users.
Feature 1 – Daily schedule: This feature is a calendar where you can build your daily schedule. It has some built-in generic categories on the top bar. So, users can drag and drop these categories to the schedule and add tasks to their daily agenda.
I also tested different approaches for the timer.
Feature 2 – To-do list: This feature was thought to keep a record of all tasks that haven’t been done yet and have further information of the ones done it- such as the time it took users to do it, billing information, clients, etc.
The first approach was, every time a task was added to the to-do list, this would be directly add it in the category bar on the calendar. So, users could see on the top bar tasks that hadn’t been done yet.
Testing the idea, I realised that the solution was complex, and users could end up having too many tasks on the top bar. I decided to only give users five generic categories: tasks, meeting, housework, break and personal. When they drag one of them, they can create tasks based on these categories. They can also find any task entered on the to-do list when editing one of these categories.
Feature 3 – Map: This map shows the nearby ‘ freelance-friendly’ coffee shops and coworkings.
This feature it aslo helps people that work from home to connect with other users that are in the same situation. I decided not to design an online chat because it will be distracting, as social media is for them. It only allows people to know which users are working from any of these spaces, so if you go there you can talk to them in person.
I also decided to add a switcher to enable/disable to share users’ location, as I understand they might not want to show their location when they are at home.
Feature 4 – Profile: The profile was designed to have information about the user, to allow the user to switch off social media when running the app and contains reports of tasks and billings.