An exploratory design to promote solo travelers’ mindfulness

ColorAway is a tool that helps solo travelers practice mindfulness through interaction with modified photos. It is part of a larger study on solo traveler’s technology use. The process and findings of this project have put into a research paper. It has accepted into 2018 CHI Conference Proceedings and the 2018 Convey UX. (Edited April 2018).

In this project, I produced prototypes and gave research insights from literature review, interview coding, and affinity analysis. Later, I also worked on the visuals and art direction for the presentation given at the conferences.

Mindfulness != Meditation

The meaning of “mindfulness” has more than “meditation.” Mindfulness, drawn from Western psychology and Buddhism literatures, has two key aspects:

  1. Recollection: remember or recollect past internal learnings
  2. Evaluation: contemplate one’s thoughts and feelings to distinguish beneficial from harmful qualities

Designing Mindfulness Tool

Using the insights from the literature interview, my team ideated, designed, and prototyped a tool that promotes the key aspects of mindfulness as the following:

1. Recollection by revisiting memorable photos

The prototype asked travelers to go through and pick the three most meaningful photos taken during their trips.

2. Evaluation by imagining and making meanings

Selected photos went through various photo processing techniques and were given back to their owners. By providing new photos to interact, the prototype aims to trigger user’s imagination and meaning making.

To arrive at these concepts, we first analyzed the interview data from the larger study and gathered solo traveler’s needs.

Testing Our Prototype with Solo Travelers

To test our concept, we recruited and provided a personalized prototype for each of 6 solo travelers. The below image is the cover of our prototype followed by sets of the original and modified photos placed side by side.

When the travelers finished with the prototype, we interviewed them to study their behaviors and thoughts interacting with the prototype. We then transcribed and coded the interview to gather insights.

candid photo of our team during interview analysis

We put our process and findings into a research paper and submitted it to conferences.

The Presentation (added in April 2018)

Our team was excited to learn that our paper got accepted to 2018 CHI and 2018 Convey UX conferences. We gathered again to create a presentation this time. We all had the same mind: simplify this complex philosophical concept as much as possible. My primary role during this time was to work on the visuals and art direction.

selected presentation slide design 1
selected presentation slide design 2
selected presentation slide design 3
selected presentation slide design 4
One of the main design guidelines. Read more at:

Moving Forward

ColorAway allowed me to study mindfulness for the first time. The concepts of mindfulness help me even after the project go through stressful moment. This project is currently at the paper prototype phase. But, I hope to push it forward to digitalize it as we found out that travelers prefer using digital tools.

Thank you my team for the work and achievements we’ve made!

Link to Research Paper:

Project Duration: June 2017 — September 2017

Roles: UX Design, Research, and Art Direction

Credits: Jason Chen (co/lead-researcher), Mania Orand (advisor and co-researcher. Larger study also comes from her), Leena Choi (designer)

shinyounglucia Sandbox

Welcome to my creative space.

Shin Young (Lucia) Choi

Written by

Design @GEHealthcare. @HCDEUW alumni.

shinyounglucia Sandbox

Welcome to my creative space.

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