Calendara’s Creation Story

For the Interaction Design class hosted on Coursera, I chose to create a prototype that deals with the concept of time. I was specifically interested in the topic of procrastination, and time insensitive tasks. Time insensitive tasks are tasks which can be completed at any time — such as laundry, or writing a letter. Since these tasks are time insensitive, they are frequently the tasks which people skip because they procrastinate. I ultimately created a prototype for an application called Calendara which automatically schedules your time insensitive tasks into your existing calendar. The idea is that if your time insensitive tasks become time sensitive that you will be more likely to complete them. The design process I went to create that application is documented below.

Before creating any prototypes, I interviewed four people about how they keep track of their time insensitive tasks. All four people used some variation of a To Do list. Many of them used multiple To Do lists, but all of them stressed that they frequently had to re-write tasks because they didn’t complete their goals in time. They also mentioned that they often didn’t know when they would do the tasks after they made the lists. All of the people also used paper To Do lists, and when asked if they would be willing to use an electronic list for convenience, they all said yes.

Using the feedback from the interviews, I had two ideas for a an application. One was to create an application that automatically schedules your To Do list into your existing calendar. The concept is that if you write “Laundry” on your To Do list, and then it’s automatically scheduled for Thursday at 8:00PM, you are more likely to do that task since it now has a deadline (Prototype 1). The other idea was to harness the power of peer pressure to encourage you to do your tasks with an app that let your friends remind you to do chores (Prototype 2).

Prototype 1
Prototype 2

I made paper prototypes of each idea, and ran through them with a few testers. The automatic-scheduling application was considered more unique by the testers. The crucial part of the design which the users indicated made it stand out, was that it took the mental processing step off their shoulders so that they wouldn’t have to figure out by themselves when they would have time to do their chores. This is what makes Calendara unique, and is why I moved forward with the design.

My first draft of the prototype was rough, but it helped me understand the process flow, and what types of screens I was missing. My first testers mentioned that the iconography was not great — meaning that not all of the buttons looked like buttons, and some icons looked like buttons even though they were not.

Home Screen from first iteration
Calendar view from first iteration

Using the feedback from the first round of users, I cleaned up the user interface, used colors more effectively, and updated the name of the application from “Task Manager” to “Calendara”. I then submitted two versions of the application for A/B testing. The A version used check boxes as buttons, and the B version omitted the check boxes. The B version of the application was better understood by testers, and it became the basis for my final prototype.

Home Screen from second iteration
Calendar view from second iteration

The final version of my application involved cleaning up some of the spacing on my visual elements, and adding helper text when needed (for example: “This task has been deleted”). Overall I am very pleased with how Calendara evolved.

You can interact with my prototype here:

Or watch a promotional video here:

Thank you for reading!

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