Redesign for How People Experience and Manage Time
The road map of the design project
The design brief of my project is about “Time”, and slightly related to “Change”.
It’s all originated from a talk with my colleagues during lunch time, one of my colleagues somehow surprised that it’s been 3 years since he started working in this company, and he said that ”gosh man, I just can’t believe that time is going that fast. Don’t you think that time moved slower during our college? ” And he explained that he’s been busy in both day and night since he started working and then got married. When he reviewed his life from the previous years he found that every day is same old same, and then 3 years just passed like all of a sudden.
And this brought up my interest to discover how people experience “Time” nowadays, and hope to find any opportunity to redesign or “Change” the way how people manage time.
User Observation – what I learned from users
To scale things down, I decided to focus on observing how people spend/schedule/plan their time at night.
There were 3 users I observed:
1. Joe, a retired businessman.
2. Judy, a freelancer.
3. Lindy, a student in graduated school who study abroad.
For Joe and Judy I used AEIOU method to help me recorded their activities at night. For Lindy since I couldn’t observed her in person, I conducted diary research, but I designed an AEIOU format Google form to help her record her activities.
The 3 users I found above could just be classify into two types, for Joe since he’s a retired businessman, he usually got lots of leisure time at night, but what I observed was that his activities at night were quite simple: watching TV, had some snack, phubbing, and finally fell asleep on sofa.
Judy and Lindy were in the opposite condition, they usually busy at night, for Lindy she needed to finish her homework or prepare test for tomorrow, for Judy she’s got order to handle or other private things (like household stuffs) to do.
After observation and some interview conducted, I found that people feel time is going too fast because they just get busy in every moment (whether it is about business or private stuff), when they finally get some time to fully relax they find that one day is about to go by. They just never got enough time.
However people might also feel time is going too fast because they found that every day is same old same (working at day, watching TV at night), and all of a sudden one day they are surprised that another 3 years just pass by. They got plenty of time but feel that every minute is meaningless.
The Development for Point of View
From above user observation I induce the user needs and develop the point of view as following:
Night time could means differently to different individual. Some people feel they want to relax, but they just aren’t aware that what they are busying in and it just comes to bedtime. Some people did know what tasks need to be completed at night, but they find they got overwhelmed and don’t have enough time to relax at night. While some people are completely free at night, however somehow they feel kind of bored since they found that they didn’t have too much idea for activities they can do at night, for them every night is same old same and wish it could be more diverse.
Point of View
No matter how busy a person is or how free a person is at night, night time should not be intense or boring.
Night time should be a time to relax, to refresh, and to refill one’s energy for tomorrow. With good scheduling and planning, everyone should manage their night life smoothly, diversely, meaningfully, and make the most of it.
Storyboard and Prototyping
From the above point of view, I created two storyboards which show 2 scenarios for 2 types of users: the one who are extremely busy at night and the one who just have no idea what to do at night:
From the 2 storyboards above the paper prototyping of a mobile app was developed with 2 core solutions:
1. An Events count down page: Help user to stick on their planned schedule, get important things done on time, and could have more time to fully relax.
2. A Discover page: For people who usually don’t have idea for what to do at night, this page would recommend activities to users based on what they’re interested.
And here is the overall design flow of the App: Chronos
Chronos is a name of an ancient Greek god who governed linear and chronological time, just like this app — Chronos, it can help you dominate your night time, to schedule your events at night more smoothly and efficiently. No matter you are still be overwhelmed by tasks at night or just feel that your night life is same old same, Chronos can help to balance your life.
You would first add events you plan to do, or just discover activities recommended by Chronos. After you’ve done adding your to-do list, you would finally go into an “Event count down” page which show that how much time remain for the current tasks and what’s the event coming up next, to help you stick on track on your planned schedule and hence complete it smoothly.
Now it’s time to get some feedback to improve my paper prototype. I conducted Heuristic Evaluation in 2 ways, the first was that I invited one of my friend (who didn’t have knowledge about Heuristic Evaluation) to give feedback for my prototype, and I mapped his thought and opinions to different heuristic violations. The other way was to conduct heuristic evaluation with my peer who have knowledge to it, so she would give me feedback based off the 10 heuristics.
After collecting all great feedbacks from peers, I created a list of changes based off the heuristics evaluation, which are mainly related to Use Familiar Metaphors & Language Flexibility, Clean and Functional Design, Freedom, Show Status Recognition Over Recall, Prevent Errors, Error Recovery and Provide Help, and applied them to my prototype.
And then it’s time to make the paper prototype real.
For creating mobile prototype, I’ll recommended this prototyping platform: Justinmind Prototyper. Not only it provide several devices platform you can choose to simulate your prototype (like desktop website, android, ios.), but it suit for either programmer or designer who didn’t have any programing background. It just visualizes every programing stuff into “tap and drag”, which make designers much easier and faster to create a highly interactive prototype instead of spending tons of time in coding.
Here’s the link for my first version of my mobile interactive prototype using Justinmind Prototyper. Design is an iterative process, so it still needed to go through several user testing. The following are the 2 stages for testing plan(In person user testing and A/B testing):
In Person User Testing
First thing I did was to develop a testing protocol, which would allow others to conduct the same test in a consistent manner.
The protocol would include
- Preparation and setup
- The steps & roles for executing the test
- Instruction Script
- How will the observations be recorded
- Debriefing the participant
- Interview questions after user complete tasks
I invited 2 of my colleagues who I expected would use my app (representative testers) to join the user testing. During the testing I’d focus on capturing the breakdown and design opportunities from participants’ feedback, and again made a list of changes for my next design iteration.
In Person User Testing Results Compilation
After the testing I also found some interesting general patterns in people’s behavior:
- People are expecting that all buttons in the same pages should be directly related to the purpose of the page.
- People tend to take both the icon and the text that describe the icon as bounded together and clickable.
- People are expecting that “next step related” buttons should be at right sides, and the buttons at the left side of screen are implying related to “previous step”.
- People don’t like too many buttons in the same page. If it is inevitable to have these amount of buttons, then grouping is important to categorize these buttons to make users much easily to navigate around.
- The layout of the buttons and text should not be like the ads layout, or it’ll let user to less likely click that button.
And these all helped a lot for improving the interface of my prototype.
The following are the plan for my A/B testing.
Experiment: The button for “Discover” recommended activities should be appeared before or during user adding events?
From the in-person testing, I found that since the “Discover” button was originally designed for recommending activities to users when users have no idea what to do for their night, so the “Discover” button should be put just right up the “add event” icon allowing users to first get some events inspiration before adding their events.
Originally the “Discover” button will appear after users click the “add events” button, which I hypothesized it might make users less likely to click on it since user should already decide what to do. Put the “Discover” button before user adding events could let users more likely to click on it.
So for the A/B test, the A version would be the original design- the “Discover” button would appear during users are adding events, and the B version the users will find the “Discover” button before they are going to create new events.
Based on my hypothesis, the “Discover” button would be clicked more times in the B version than in the A version.
Here I tried UserTesting.com to conduct A/B test. I assigned 2 of participants for version A and the other 2 for version B.
Conclusion for the result of the A/B test
Based on the A/B test conducted, “Discover” button in screen B tends to have more user click than the button in screen A for the following reason:
In Screen A, whenever users want to click on the Discover button, they need to first click the blue “+” button then they can click on the Discover button. However in screen B user would be more easily to click on the Discover button because it just located in the first layer of the add event page. It would be good if more testing samples are involved and analyzed by Chi-square methods to strengthen this conclusion.
However I would apply screen B to redesign my prototype since it match my point of view more. Since my point of view that finally reach this prototype should be designed for both people who are busy at night and who needs inspiration to fulfill their night, separating the 2 buttons in the following manner would fit my point of view more adequately: One of them (the blue “+” button) is to allow user to add events they’ve planned and the other one (the Discover button) is to inspire users what activities they could do.
Fit and Finish
After several changes and polishing based on the previous testing, here comes the final prototype of Chronos.
Some key screenshots are shown as below:
The Overall Reflection for this Design Project
From the user needs aspects, most scheduling related apps are making user to plan their schedule in a negative way, i.e. users just need to plan their life by their own. However Chronos provide a more positive way to help users to plan their schedule. Users can not only add their planned tasks, but discover what they can do recommended by Chronos based on what they are interested in. Another positive way is that Chronos provide an “Events Count Down” feature which let users can stick on their schedule if they want to.
From the marketing aspects, the “Discover Page” in Chronos is actually inspired by a Taiwanese events ticketing website Accupass, so for the stretched scenario is that the Ads/Commercial promotion could be integrated into “Discover Page”, for example let users to directly book an event ticket in the “Discover Page” and it would be automatically added to the users’ schedule.
Finally although Chronos is an app that is designed for users to plan their night life, the scenario will not be limited to scheduling night time, it can be scaled up to planning daily life. This is what this design project could be focus on next, and pivot to the new point of view for the further development in the future.
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