Fold messages Smart enough to forgte

A Mobile App prototype built as a Capstone Project for Interaction Design Specialization by UCSD on Coursera.

It is father’s fault when children do not learn. It is teacher’s idleness if they are not strict

In the early morning, my daughter is happily reciting the three-character classic while washing her face. She is 7 years old, first grade in primary school. Her class adviser is a very hard-working teacher. She is a strict teacher without any idleness. The first day of the term, she created a QQ chatting group to assign homework and related items through the group. Since then, my work and live has became a mess. With few minutes left from the group, large numbers of chatting messages within parents would bury teacher’s messages. I have to search teacher’s messages in many useless messages that has influenced my work since I have to focus on it all the time; meanwhile, I felt myself more and more anxious in keep browsing and finding messages.

Not only me feel like that. In China, nowadays, many parents feel anxious about that. Base on the Chinese ancient aphorism, children’s education has to be cooperated by both teachers and parents. So we need an application that can increase the communicating efficiency between teachers and parents, also can make everyone speaking freely.

People are paradox

I have called some of my colleagues and neighbors together and interviewed them. It is mainly because they are close in age with me and their children are also in primary school. They feel disturbing and complain that is affecting the work since focusing teachers’ message all the time; also they complain about other parents chatting a lot that has brought the inconvenience for checking teachers’ messages. However, when it comes to the interviewee themselves when they are speaking in the group, they act the same as other parents. People like to chat, but they do not like reading those conversations. Especially when they need to check some certain messages, those chatting conversations are disturbing.

I also interviewed some teachers. Some teachers would use the assignment function from QQ and assign homework according to the fixed format. Some teachers do not like to be bounded with the format, they prefer to publish information through chatting window. They feel it is a waste of time with more steps of interactions or more requirement of format.

Fold message, smart enough to forget

When I was little, I hoped that I can remember everything like a robot and never forget things. As I grew older, I am now thinking that able to forget things is not bad. It supposed to be very miserable for not able to forget. So I designed a app which is able to forget, called fold message. By using it, teachers can send messages freely; parents can fold teachers’ speaks into one post by folding messages, which is convenient to browse. By using it, parents could choose to send messages which will be forgotten by the system. Greetings within parents, appreciations to teachers or instant responds at the moment, these unnecessary messages will be forgotten; important information will be filtered for browsing.

Interaction design ins not guesswork

Many years ago when I read the sentence, I don’t really understand it. When I was designing this fold message application, I spent few time in making two paper prototypes. Then I spent lot of time in iterating. I kept abandoning or modifying them without hesitation. I enjoyed it a lot.

Prototype A: People could burn those unnecessary information by finger sliding so that the left messages are memorable.

Prototype A

Prototype B: To fold teachers’ messages so that people can chat without considering important messages are disappeared. When they need to read, messages are folded.

Prototype B

In the beginning, I prefer prototype A. I thought it is interesting to burn messages by finger, it’s like playing removing game. People would like this APP since they can arrange messages while chatting. Important messages are left for checking later and clear at a glance.

After testing by users, I have to face the truth that prototype A make users feel tiring. Finally, I gave up prototype A and improved prototype B.

I invited some colleagues to conduct the heuristic evaluation. They reacted very well. After a little modification, I invited my classmates to conduct the heuristic evaluation online. One classmate responded as: I’m worried that I send the wrong message. According to that, what am I suppose to correct this mistake.

In the beginning, I thought her feedback could be explained by language. However, it is not easy to make other to fully accept your explanation. This situation has finally made me to justify my prototype again.

I added a preview of sending messages so that users are able to check the message clearly in advance. One more interaction may avoid mistakes and decrease users’ learning costs. It is a big progress for me.

In the end, the user test at there were four foreigners who participated in my prototype test. Because of the language barrier, the result is not uplifting. However, I still had some new gain, which made me to further improve the process. I have added the result feedback for password reset.

Prototype is just a beginning

I don’t know the distance of how far we are from the AI. Anyway, I have launched my practice. I hope that one day I am lucky and capable to participate in designing and developing a real intelligent application, which is able to forget like human, which can free human from the embarrassing situation of communication overload and remain happiness in the memory.

Final Prototype

Lastly I would like to thank my translator, Yue Kang. I would not able to finish the assignments and you would not able to read this post without hers translation. Please follow the subscription through WeChat: DesperateWoman.