TIME+

Overview

An AI assistant to help you organize to-dos, block distracting apps, and have better time management. 

With AI assistance, users can add to-do at an easy tap, have distracting apps blocked in the working session, and have comprehensive statistics how time is spent in various dimensions. 

Role

Product Designer

Timeframe

10 Weeks

Project Type​

Individual & Academic

Key Feature

Add To-Do easily with the AI assistance

Just tell the assistant about your task, and it can recognize and keep important information such as time;

Also, it keeps you reminded with tasks and organized with repetitive events with a quick tap.

Block distracting apps and keep productive

You can easily customize to block distracting apps and be concentrated on the current work session.

Check your productivity from different dimensions

This assistant innovates a quantitive way to measure 

productivity, and empowers you to compare productivity at a glance.

The Problem

My friend, Yuantao, is preparing for further study. However, every day after work, he keeps chatting with friends, playing games and watching videos till it is sleep time. 

 

Many young generations are struggling with procrastination and distractions. 90% college students procrastinate and 75% consider consider themselves procrastinators. 

How can we enhance productivity and time management using a design solution? 

User Interview

I conducted five user interviews with two audience-sub segments i.e. 'millennials' and 'gen-z' who procrastinate and are normally procrastinate and easily distracted by their phones. 

Key Findings

1) Users procrastinate because they are afraid they cannot meet their expectation so they are often reluctant to start until the deadline is close. 

2) Users all agreed that their distractions are mainly entertaining apps or social media.

3) Users have tried different ways to cut off distraction but they still sometimes need their phones to work. 

4) Users wish to see quantitive statistics of how time is spent on different tasks.

User Persona

Based on the research and ideation, I define the target users whom I am designing for, figure out their UX expectations, goals and frustrations. 

Competitor Analysis

I compared the functionality and usability of three apps that are widely used to promote productivity and concentration. They are Forest, Pomodoro Timer, and Focus Booster.​

Forest

Pomodoro Timer

Focus Booster

I compared the three apps in terms of availability of important features, organized them in one place, and found out opportunities for our app.

Key Insights

1) How to define distractions?

Compared to some focus apps that cut off the use of phone during the session completely, Forest is doing a great job allowing users to use phone calls and messages. This takes into consideration that sometimes receiving phone calls are objective and there can also be urgent situations that users have to contact someone.

More complicated for young people is, we need some apps to when we work, such as Slack, dictionary, or checking album for a photo memo. Therefore, we need more flexibility to define what is distraction.

2) How to deal with past time if users manually stop an interval?

Focus Booster is giving users choice whether to take the past time into record if users stop an interval before it ends. On one side, it is giving users options to record all the working time. However, in this situation, it is making the focus booster nothing different than just a timer, and it is not distinguishing efficient time and inefficient one. From psychologic research, I learnt that lack of reward-punishment mechanism one of the reasons people procrastinate or be easily distracted.

 

Therefore, considering the past time as inefficient without giving a choice is actually more possible to promote productivity.

First Version 

Ideation

Based on the research, I started to brainstorm ways to solve the productivity problems of the target users, and came up with a solution to allow users customize and block distracting apps, as well as checking productivity summary in one place. 

Timer

Break down into small achievable work intervals

Blocklist

Customize what apps to block by session

Statistics

Users love to know how they spent time

First Version 

Wireframe

Based on the first ideation, I created a quick wireframe of the very first version of the concept. 

First Version 

User Testing

1) Users can quickly understand the blocklist concept and all respond that it will be useful to boost focus.

2) Users think the multitasking functionality is not constructive because the initiative to use this app is to focus on only one thing. 

3) The way to present statistics is confusing and users prefer quantitive measurements that is easy to draw comparisons. 

4) Users pointed out  they might add a new timer than looking for it from the list, and this will cause the list become repetitive and messy. 

Second Version 

Ideation

Based on the research and first round user testing results, I started to think of ways to keep timers more organized. 

Integrate with To-do

Allowing users to work on the same task for multiple intervals

Add To-do with AI

typing seamlessly and automatically add important information such as time

Reminders & Repetitions

Categorizing tasks for different levels of reminders and repetitions

Measuring productivity

An overall productivity measurement to take all metrics inside

Second Version 

Journey Map

At this point, I have decided the main features of this product: to-do list, blocklist timer, and productivity summary. Then I put myself in the perspective of user persona, mapped out his experience, empathize with his thoughts and feelings, predicting problems he might confront, and how it brings opportunity to improve the experience. 

Second Version 

Paper Prototype & Testing

I sketched out some key screens quickly and visualized the concept. 

Feedback

1) Compared to setting the duration from scrolling, they prefer the idea of sliding. 

2) A continuous curve of productivity score doesn't make sense to users. 

3) Users are interested in efficient working time each day. 

Final Version 

Wireframes

I made some revisions based on insights collected from first wireframe and paper prototype and created a more complete low-fidelity wireframes to examine different layouts and flows.

UI Design

I researched on different color scheme, typography, and styles and try out different combinations. Finally I came up with this clean and minimal style and created a high fidelity design.  

User Flow

Future Development 

1) I would work with the researchers to conduct more usability testing to observe how users use the product and better customize to their needs. Also, I wish to work with data scientists and find out the most relevant and meaningful metrics of productivity. 

2) I would like to explore how it works in the ecosystem, such as when user exit the app during a working session, the possibility to integrate with calendar, and the possibility to use it across the devices. 

3) Procrastination involves psychological reasons. I will learn from the successful examples such as Forest to establish an entertaining way to get users sticked to this product and increase productivity. 

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​© 2017 by Nicole Zhaoqi Zhong