User Research Results
Our online survey garnered many responses, gave us a great picture of the daytime tiredness problems our potential users face, and guided us to good ideas for a wearable technology solution.
75 people responded to the survey over the five days it was available. We distributed the survey over our own private Facebook profiles, public Facebook groups, and group for academic surveys within Reddit. Starting with the demographics of our participants, there was good variety between the different occupations, mainly from students and the fields of technology and STEM, medicine, the service industry. Almost twice as many women than men took the survey. Only 11% of our respondents were over the age of 30, the rest were between the ages of 18 and 29.
From our questions about sleep, we discovered a few key pieces of background information and attitudes that will drive the design of our wearable. The majority of our participants (70%) get either 6 hours or 7 hours of sleep per night, which is relatively low. This means that an area our product may focus on could be encouraging healthy sleeping habits to eliminate tiredness at its origin. We asked “Which is more important to you: ‘Getting healthy and restful sleep’ OR ‘Your ability to stay awake during the day?’” and found that a narrow majority (52%) of respondents said “Your ability to stay awake during the day.” Only 44% of respondents said “Getting healthy and restful sleep.” This told us that people approach their sleep with different attitudes and that not everybody sleeps just because it’s healthy and rejuvenating. We believe that since so many people feel that sleep is a means to achieving alertness during the day that many people may be motivated to try a product like ours to help them stay awake better.
Then, we asked questions about tiredness and how it impacts people’s lives and behaviors to get a better idea of the current problem of daytime tiredness. When asked about the number of days in the week that they feel tired in the daytime, the majority of our participants (40%) said “Everyday,” followed by 19% of participants who said 4 days and 17% who said 3 days. From this, we understood that the problem is more persistent in some people than others and that we could reasonably expect some people to wear our product every day. If it were worn every day, we would need to consider durability, comfort over extended usage, and the product’s ability to be cleaned and maintained. We then asked our participants about what kinds of issues they face as a result of their daytime tiredness and found that the four most common were difficulty concentrating (81%), irritability (59%), moodiness (57%), and making errors (44%). Asking this question helped us understand what people perceive the biggest problems are related to tiredness and what they notice in their own everyday lives. Based on this knowledge, we will especially consider ways of improving user focus through our product. Finally, we asked about what people do to stay awake when they feel tired in the daytime and found that people usually drink caffeine (69%), take short naps (51%), eat a snack (44%), or go for a walk (33%). Some of the written-in responses under “Other” also contained references to physical activity. We expected these common energy methods to be popular, however we did not expect that 25% of participants said that they “Use technology to keep you awake.” Our wearable product may be in high demand because many people already use technology to help keep them awake during the day.
Our next series of questions was about how daytime tiredness affects the respondent’s professional life. First, we asked a general question asking if they have ever started to fall asleep during one of five common situations. The results were that most people (75%) did during a lecture or class, at work (47%), or while trying to get something done (45%). We were also surprised to find that 17% had started to fall asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle. This data helped us understand the pervasiveness of having falling asleep in the daytime and the potential danger involved. Then, we asked “Could being extremely tired at work cause yourself or others bodily harm?” We found that though the majority (65%) said no, 32% said yes. Though falling asleep in any work environment is generally considered bad, it was incredible to discover that a sizable amount of people responded that it could be physically dangerous to themselves or others if they fell asleep at their particular job. Our last professional life question was open-ended and asked “How has daytime tiredness affected your professional life?” Many of our respondents experienced diminished productivity, loss of focus, missing out on other things, forgetfulness or confusion, and bad mood. Also, many participants reported a minimal or nonexistent impact of tiredness on their professional lives. A few people referenced more extreme consequences of tiredness such as feeling depressed or getting injured on the job. From the open-ended responses, we saw first-hand that personal experiences with tiredness can be very different, those experiences highly depend upon the kind of job a person has, and that this isn’t an issue for all people.
Our last questions were about our respondents’ current wearable technology usage and their level of comfort with different aspects of possible wearable designs. First, we asked about how people preferred to be woken up, with the top two choices being sound (55%) and vibration or motion (49%). We did not expect more people to prefer vibration or motion over light (40%) yet were glad that the technology currently exists to easily implement sound or vibration as a wakeup technique inside a wearable. We found that wearables were rarely worn among our participants (83% said they did not) and that the only ones worn were for the wrist. This let us know that our target user group does not already use a particular platform of wearable technology currently, giving us some space to be creative with our product instead of needing to fit it into an existing framework. Finally, we found that the most preferred places on the body for a wearable to be located all pertained to existing accessories, like being worn on the wrist (85%), in a clothing pocket (55%), necklace (41%), or belt (33%). Relatively few people were open to wearing a headband, which warned us against attempting a product placed prominently on the forehead. We also plan on avoiding bulky headbands like our competitors Zeo and U-Wake because they are longer manufacturing those products.
From the data we gathered during our user research, we will design our product with respect to…
- Encouraging healthy sleep behaviors
- Sleep as a tool for staying awake
- Everyday use of the product
- Increasing daytime concentration
- Potential danger
- Improving mood
- Making the wearable comfortable
- Creative freedom within the market