Product Design & UX Design | Collaborator: Leda Espinoza







This is a project for the class Design Thinking. We aimed to work on the "front-end" conceptual process of need-finding and envisioning s digital innovation to enable new and better experiences for its users. Targeting on the morning busy bees, HiRise is a morning time management application based on smartphone and digital watch, whose goal is to make morning tasks go smoothly. When you type in your morning plans at night, it will automatically compute the getting-up time the next morning. Moreover, it will collect the time you spend on each task and use these data to refresh your plan, finally reaching a personalized morning time management plan for you. 





Things happen every day might be more complicated than we think and there are still a lot of room for improvement. Hence, we started with a wide range of basic human experiences: learning, making art, having dinner, etc. By creating a mind map to explore these activities in detail, we tried to decode current experiences and search for latent needs, as well as opportunities to improve. Then we narrowed them down to 5 topics and placed into the questions "How might we ___?". With a larger mind map for the latent needs, we could also get to the challenges. 




I think this happens to you and me - you never have a chance for a sweet and well-prepared breakfast, even though you already get up two hours before leaving. We always have the question: why are the mornings so stressful? One of the answers might be: mornings are always busy because you have so many tasks to do but you can't really imagine how long they will take. We saw the strong needs in this area, so we selected the morning time management as the most promising idea. 



An app that can be used in the morning time management is an ambitious topic, because everyone is eligible to be a potential user. However, there must be someone that can do a good job in the mornings. So we tried to narrow down the targets by interviewing people having trouble with the morning stuff. Here's a video clip about this: 


Based on the interviews, we can get the idea that people with busy morning have something similar: they can only make things go as fast as possible. This is actually indication of lacking time-management ability, so we can narrow down the users to individuals with busy mornings and poor time managements. From the results of the user researches, we also figured out the point of view for our potential users as: 

  • What time to wake up? 
  • How much time do I need? 
  • I'm easily distracted because mornings are full of "accidents". 
  • Waking up late is stressful. 



Based on the analysis of the problem space and the mind map, we identified the question: 


How Might We better enable busy individuals to plan their mornings so as to maximize sleeping time? 



Additionally, we also transferred the user needs into goals that the system should achieve: 

  • Preparing enough time for the morning tasks before setting the getting-up time
  • Being able to deal with situations of being late of tasks
  • As less intervention as possible in the morning, since people are busy enough
  • Using the collected data to refresh the morning plans, so everyone has their personal morning schedules
  • Flexible management, so you don't have to constrain on the tasks you set previously




The first things we touch everyday are probably our phones, so we settled on the idea of smartphone APP. Moreover, phones are easy to interact and people don't have to learn new knowledges to play with phones, so we thought smartphone application could be a good option. 

Our original idea was a pre-planed scheduling APP. Users can choose what they want to do in the next morning and set the leaving time. If it is the first using, the application will get average duration of each task from the database as a default setting to compute the waking time for the user. On the next day, the user just have to follow the tasks one by one and hit a "next" button when he finish the current task. The system will automatically remember how long the user takes for each task, and data will be used to refresh the user's personal task duration for next time. 




To test our idea, we produced the a storyboard on paper and showed it to the instructor and classmates for feedbacks and suggestions. In general, people love the idea of morning time management tool. However, they thought locating the application on smartphone is a little bit annoying. "I don't want to tap my phone screen again and again when I only brush my teeth or get dress up. I always want to check my email each time I light up my phone, so I think that might take longer to leave. " One of the classmates said in the class, which was really a good point. 



In reaction to the feedback, we decided to make the application more light-weight by including the wearable devices. Wearable devices are always by your side, so you don't have to come and back to interact with the APP. To some extent, the interactions of wearable devices would be straightforward, like lifting up hands or shaking heads. After more brainstorming, we decided to initialize the idea on Apple Watch. Here's the wireframes for it: 




To test our concepts, we mocked up our ideas with wireframes and videos. Rather than setting the waking time then predicting the leaving time, we made the process backwards, meaning that you choose the leaving time and morning tasks, then it can compute the waking time as a result. This is because potential users are confused about when to wake up and how long each task will take. Making things going backwards will make it more logical. When setting morning plans at night, the low fidelity is like: 


When the alarm is ready, it will pass the data to the Apple Watch which is paired to the phone: 


Here's the video which explains how it works when setting plans: 


When getting up on the next morning, you just need to interact with your watch. We used circles to present the tasks on the watch, because it would be more recognizable by users. Bubbles are easier to interact within small displaying devices, like the watch scree. We made some wireframes to illustrate this and a video to better convey the idea: 




Throughout the design process, we kept on asking ourselves if the application can solve the questions we set for the potential users. At the end of the project, we tried to use these solutions to justify our design: 




We introduced a round of user test with our prototype and the result came out pretty well: most of the designs had a 95% positive rate in the testing. Yet we were able to identify some usability issues and negative feedbacks on the time estimation of tasks. For example, the users mentioned that they just don't want to spend time to play with the systems, since time is quite limited. This opinion is contradictory to our original ideas, because we intended to introduce this give a sense to the users that "time is still enough if you can manage your tasks appropriately."

Hence, we would be working on to improve them. Please stay tuned! (All right you know I can't talk about things that we haven't done yet)



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