Fine: The Application

Description & Structure

Awareness & Empowerment

Through recording and interacting with their own data, a user becomes aware of the data‘s very existence in mass. In the case of emotion, a process which occurs largely invisibly, they can then see the connections between their behaviors, personality traits and their emotion experiences. When the application is used consistently and honestly, a user is creating an emotion continuum, from which they can find links between events separated by time and space. By exploring these links, the user is empowered by making their own interpretations of emotions. Together with the visual representations, they have a language with which to express their emotionality.

Fig. 21 An overview of User Roles, User Stories, Values of the application, as well as the desired User Outcome after continued use of the app.

The structure of Fine. was built with using agile methodology. This approach focuses the development of the application on its potential users and their needs. User Roles (Figure 21) define what a user is able to do an application. With Fine., users learn about, track, share and analyze their emotion data. These roles cover use cases for those who are just curious in emotion data, users who are ready to adopt this type of self-tracking and users who are using the tool as a compliment to their therapy sessions. When one of these roles are fulfilled, a User Story is the result. Fine. gives users the possibility to journal efficiently with the dimension of comparable emotions. Through consistent use, the application also provides a platform for users to make associations in the different parts of their emotion experiences. How these stories translate into their real life consequences are the User Values. Fine.‘s values ideally give the users the ability to increase their emotion awareness and give them support in identifying social or behavioral changes in their life. The Outcomes for users of Fine. reflect the hypothesis of this thesis. Recording and visualizing emotion experiences allows users to intentionally reflect on their emotion. This reflection process increases their emotion awareness and empowers users to make changes or adapt to their experiences.

The user experience of an emotion tracking application should help users process their emotions while recording. The flow (Figure 22) is designed to take them through their feedback loops and to help them examine in detail the cause-and-effect of emotion. It is meant to be at first an educational experience and then a logical one. There is not an established system widely used for the recording of emotion data. Therefore, a conventional structure is a safe structure for all of the flexible and sometimes ugly data that will be generated. As we further iterate and learn what types of emotion data should be recorded in order to gain emotion awareness, we will be able to alter the experience accordingly. Because a user can be adopting the application with a variety of intentions, they should be met with a tried-and-true design solution that works for all situations. Emotion can be a complex topic and a simple, familiar structure helps users not to be intimidated.

Fig. 22 Full user flow of Fine.

At the time of writing this thesis, there are multiple massive technology companies hammering out algorithms for conversational bots with the intent to humanize our experiences with technology. A conversational interface could be one design solution to the aim of this research. However, as I state later in the manifesto for designing for emotion, our volition to reveal information about our experiences and our engagement in the discovery of what they mean about who we are is very important to gaining emotion awareness. We must explore our emotions, not have technology present them to us.

The application consists of three main features:

  1. Visualization
  2. Recording
  3. Analysis

The three features build upon one another through every use of the application. Each of them is enriched by the previous. The recording and the visualization features occur simultaneously and analysis requires to user to practice their knowledge through exploration. As it is visual and therefore most apparent, I will begin the description of the application with the aspect of visualization.

An overview of this project and a link to the log book of my process can be found online here.