We designed time.it to reward students for fulfilling their study quotas and help them avoid distractions on their phone. Over 12 weeks we researched, ideated, prototyped, validated, and iterated on our product. As our researcher, I synthesized information for the team, conducted user interviews, and summarized results in a user test report to guide next iterations.
It all started with a question: how can we help university students in their daily life? To answer that we had to start talking to users. Enter user interviews. The scope of the course was to create a mobile app, so we curated a set of questions to understand how students use technology, which apps they like, and when they use their phone. We then mapped and grouped this information to try to find themes and similarities.
Using the insights from the user interviews, we created our persona: Gracie.
Gracie strives to make better use of he time but is constantly distracted by social media. This is especially problematic for her when she's trying to study. We wanted to create a solution for Gracie that would allow her to block notifications on her phone, and hold herself accountable for how she uses her time. What about a study timer that would terminate if other applications were opened? We started out with a paper prototype to outline the general functionality of the app.
"But, why would I choose to use this app as opposed to the timer pre-installed on my phone?"
This was the first question we received when showing this prototype to our peers. We'd been designing in a bubble and hadn't considered how to communicate the notification blocking functionality. To better differentiate from traditional timer apps, we added statistics about prior use, as well as a half-baked idea about points and rewards. Due to our relatively tight schedule, we added the new features to our prototype and hoped to discover shortcomings during our first round of formal user testing.
We segmented our users into two distinct groups - those who were familiar with user experience design principles and those who were not. Our user tasks included signing in, setting the timer, and checking the number of points. We appropriated the SUPR-Q questions to use as a follow-up survey.
time.it helps students make better use of their time by restricting phone access and rewarding completed study sessions with points.
This project was apart of the User Experience Design curriculum at the University of Waterloo. We presented our product to our class in May of 2018.