Breaking Social Media Addiction with Positive Reinforcement - UX Case Study
Ironhack Week 1 Project
During my journey deep-diving into UX, I will be documenting my progress throughout the Ironhack UX/UI Design Bootcamp.
Wicked Problem: Conscious Information Consumption
To kick-off the boot camp, we were divided into teams to design a solution for a Wicked Problem, focusing on isolating, researching and understanding the problem. Starting on Monday, Dustin, Jiao, Ipek and I would have four days to come up with our solution before presenting it on Friday morning. Out of five possible options we chose the wicked problem:
Modern lifestyle and technology usage has led to more and more people feeling overwhelmed (consciously or not) by the amount of data they consume daily. This global phenomenon too often results in anxiety or even addiction to digital products and services.
How Might We direct people to become more conscious about reducing/curating the vast amount of information available online?
We chose this topic as, for most of the group, it was an issue close to home. Not using social media at all wasn’t an option for us as it was important for both work and social reasons, however, the time online was not always spent in a constructive manner
As a result of conducting a 60 user survey and 5 in-person interviews, some pertinent research insights were:
While all interview participants desired to reduce their social media use, they didn’t know how, leaving them feeling helpless and frustrated.
Collating our findings from the interviews we created an Affinity Diagram. It quickly started to become clear that there were numerous frustrations related to work productivity vs social media activity.
To give a face to the problem we created a user persona, using an empathy map to brainstorm user traits, resulting in:
“Seeking Life Balance” Annie
To shape the problem Annie was facing, we defined our Problem and Hypothesis Statements:
To help understand Annie’s behaviour and pain points, we created a user journey map and storyboard with the scenario:
Also based on the interview insights we brainstormed a few How Might We statements. Using Dot Voting, the winning statement (which happened to be mine) was chosen:
How Might We make it taboo/uncool to spend too much time viewing content online?
There was some group discussion on whether making something “uncool” would be achievable with an app, however in the end, we decided to continue in this direction.
Armed with a more clearly defined problem, we started working on the solution. After some research into the nature of addiction, we decided to try reversing the How Might We statement and instead use positive reinforcement, a motivating factor that encourages repeating a behaviour.
In a previous job I had worked on a partnership with the fitness tracker app Sweatcoin, where users earn points to redeem for an attractive reward, and thought that this could be a good basis for our solution.
To make it as least intrusive as possible, it was decided that notifications would be kept to a minimum and that the product would focus on well-being and self-improvement.
And here is our the lo-fi wireframe for our app Bellence (a play on the word “Balance”), where users “Collect happiness” i.e. collect reward points.
The app requests permission to access your social media news feeds (in this case Instagram and/or Facebook), then you input your daily goal (e.g. 2 hours online per day) for browsing the feed. If you meet your daily goal, after 24 hours has passed you receive reward points to be redeemed for things such as:
- a gift voucher for an online store
- a donation to the charity of your choice
- a free yoga lesson
Should you not meet your goal, you will still be offered the chance to earn a smaller number of points by reading a well-being article. Points are rewarded once the user answers some test questions about the article.
For speed purposes, we constructed a paper prototype for user testing. As the points for rewards concept of our app had the potential to be confusing, we anticipated a few iterations.
We conducted user testing with 4 fellow students, which proved very insightful, resulting in the following changes:
- Adding a detailed onboarding page to better explain the concept
- Keeping the usage tracking simple i.e. a daily goal
- Easier navigation: the main features (Goals, Offers) shown on the home screen
- Adding a data privacy statement, that user’s news feed data would not be shared/stored
Based on the user feedback we had more ideas for further iterations, however unfortunately ran out of time before we could prototype them:
- Including other social media platforms such as Twitter/YouTube
- Defining what would be the more attractive goal for the user: collecting a large number of points, or redeeming then straight away
- The focus of this week’s project was defining the Wicked Problem itself, which I think we completed well. Although not the aim of the project, I would have liked to create a mid-fi prototype had there been enough time.
- Although we decided on a How Might We statement by Dot Voting, there was still some internal resistance on whether this was the right choice or not. Which perhaps negates the purpose of the voting (i.e. making a quick decision) as we wasted some time on second-guessing the decision.