A group design project where we combine and demosntrate the user research, design, prototyping and evaluation skills by designing the solution to a personal informatics app. In this project we summarized and demonstrated all stages of the UI/UX development process, from user research to defining a project’s strategy, scope to developing sitemaps and wireframes.
There are a number of situations in which someone wants to collects personal relevant information
(e.g., data about eating, sleeping, and exercising activities) for the purpose of self-reflection and self-monitoring.
Examples of such circumstances include:
We narrowed the general topic down to small number of specific purposes.
The goal is not to create a “generic” personal informatics tool, but rather a tool that is for a specific circumstances.
Our user research will require that you’ve identified a specific contexts and set of users that have a reason to use such a tool.
The design itself is open-ended. It involved a variety of personal information recording functions. It may have social features if multiple people would reasonably be involved in the process. However, for your project to be complete, it should prototype at least the following parts of the process:
User Research And Ideation
We see you’re interested in favors. Fantastic! We are students completing a capstone project for Coursera’s User Research and Design course.
We’re interested in learning about your interests of collecting information about personal habits for the purpose of self-reflection and self-monitoring.
Your answers will provide us with ideas to develop a tool for requesting and responding to favors.
We cannot compensate you for this study, but we greatly appreciate you doing us this favor! The process will simply be asking questions about experiences around favors with friends, family, and acquaintances. We will first have you fill out a short demographics form, and then we will have an interview for the questions about favors. We expect this interview should only take about 30-50 minutes, but that can fluctuate depending on if you have more or less to say about your stories. We’ll try to stay on track to protect your schedule, but we’ll give you a chance to circle back and talk more about anything afterward. This should be no more risky of an experience than if you were telling these stories to a friend at a coffee shop. We will be recording these interviews, but only so we don’t have to take notes during the interview. The recordings will be deleted after we are able to take notes on them later this week. If you feel uncomfortable at any point please remember that we can stop the recording, you do not have to answer a question that you don’t want to, and you do not have to continue the interview longer than you want to. We expect that this will feel like a normal conversation, but we want you to be informed of your rights.
You will be given a copy of this consent form for your records, and if you have any questions you can contact Ezio Thapaliya at email@example.com and +35266781233.
Since we are going to record and temporarily store these recordings we would like your signature of consent to perform and record this interview.
Hi, my name is Ezio Thapaliya, and I’m here to understand what you think about the app that helps you to keep personal habit information
and helps you for self reflection. This interview will take about 30-50 minutes, during which time we’ll go through some questions.
Throughout, I’d like you to treat me as if you’re describing the situation to someone who isn’t familiar with windows' automatic updates.
I’m here to learn from you.
A couple of things before we start. To the extent possible, I will take your comments to be confidential. The answers you give in this interview will be used for research purposes. All the data will be securely stored and used only for the present research, in accordance with the ethical guidelines defined by the US law. All information will be handled anonymously and in a confidential manner by the researchers, the results can only be published anonymously. If we quote you in our final report, we will do so without identifying your name or specific role. Also, this interview is entirely voluntary on your part – if for any reason you want to stop, please let me know. You can withdraw at any time or refuse to answer any question without any consequences of any kind. No answer is wrong and all will contribute to the project.
Do you have any questions for me? All right, then, let’s proceed.
First, we just want to know you in general, so here is the demographics questionnaire:
User Research Plan & Analysis
Each of us will be responsible for selecting at least one interview participant. We'll ask classmates, and reach out to our community / social circles. Since we don't have support for participant payments, we will consider participants more than publicly advertised studies / flyers based on our social networks. We hope the brevity of the research will also aid in getting participants quickly. We'll record the interviews and have notes and then the interviewer will listen to the recording and add feedback.
4 adult participants were recruited for my study through Facebook. We incentivized the participants to partake by offering
dinner after the pandemic, at their own place, in their own country.
Our study was conducted in April 2020 in everyone's own room. The session was conducted remotely with the participants and us being a moderator, and note-taker. Working in a private space mitigates participant disruptions while reducing the amount of background noise in our session videos . I offered some chocolates to ensure relaxation for our participants.
User Research Analysis
Many people use personal informatics systems to gather personal behavioral data, make better decisions, and make changes to their behavior. While the proliferation of new products on the market makes collecting personal data easier, how to help people engage with these systems over a long period of time remains an open question. To uncover which features of personal informatics systems lead to engaging experience and long-term use, two user studies were conducted with people who use personal informatics systems to support or track behavior change. Baseline interviews were conducted and participants were asked to interact with personal informatics systems. Participants rated their experience both qualitatively and quantitatively, participants rated their experience with the system daily. At the beginning and at the end of each study, participants were asked to reflect on their physical activity levels and on their perceived behavior change at the end of each study. The results were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively and similarities and differences between the studies were exhibited. This research reveals that easy and instant access to data is critical, and feeling good and positive social outcomes of interaction will also support sustained product use. In addition, personalization of data has emerged to be an important expectation of the users. At the end, design implications for future personal informatics systems are also offered.
People want to be healthy and fit, but as they get inactive and have poor eating habits, they encounter serious health problems. This situation creates a discrepancy between the actual and desired lifestyles. It is challenging because unhealthy habits of people threat their life, and technology can shift this threat into a win.
From the answers, we were able to create the following conclusions:
Each of us had a whole day to brainstorm. We were able to come up with 100 ideas after the brainstorming.
5 Feasible Ideas
The app will be able to track the steps of the user. They will be able to set a goal, complete the goal, get achievements when they finish the goal. This can be either running or walking steps.
Entering food calorie
Users will be able to enter the everyday food calorie they eat. If they don’t know how much calorie, they will also simply search about the food and get the details about it. The app will suggest the user how much calorie they should burn to remain healthy.
App will provide the user with a weekly summary with graphs the user can understand. This summary will be about calories burnt and steps taken in the whole week. Daily statistics will also be available.
Healthy Lifestyle tips
App will also provide tips to stay healthy. This tip will include about healthy food, amount of food intake and about different exercises users can do at home.
Sleep Cycle control
Users will be able to write about their sleep habits and times. With the data given, the app will be able to tell the best time to sleep and no hours. App will also be able to make the phone completely silent if users allow it.
After our discussion, we decided to have above features and design it on lowfi wireframe. To begin the process of creating digital wireframes, we looked at our original paper wireframes and our research. We studied these materials to remind ourselves where we had decided to place my elements, and why. Next, we opened Balsamiq and started a new project file. Then, it was time to design. We began to create each of the elements in our paper wireframes. We started with buttons and icons. We pulled basic icons from free asset libraries, and used shapes, lines, and fills to create the remaining elements. After all of our elements were created, we began to place them into the design. We followed our paper wireframes as a model to make sure that we are aligning our digital wireframe with my previous design iterations and the insights we uncovered in my research. Our design uses a hierarchy of information, bringing the most important information to the forefront. The importance of the information was based on the research we had completed earlier in the design cycle.
The overall goal of this report is to present a detailed analysis of our app regarding 4 major usability tasks that will be
pertinent in the use of the app for allowing users to collect fitness related data. The cognitive walkthrough will allow the
evaluators to get into the minds of the user in order to understand any success stories, failure stories, design suggestions,
or other pertinent information necessary for the user to accomplish specific tasks.
Question we want answers for:
Well, there was in no need of identifying personas for now, so I chose tasks to be completed and followed by the steps
needed to accomplish each task. I then progressed through the entire cognitive walkthrough process marking down successful steps,
failure steps, and any suggestions for improving any steps that failed.
Our major tasks were:
Task 1 - Sign up from splash screen
Imagine you want to get started using our app. So you are required to do a complete sign up from the splash screen and get started with the app. The goal of the user here is to register himself in the app and pass the get started screen so that he can see the main page.
Firstly, when the user opened the app, there was the splash screen with the prompt to enter username and password. User tried to enter the username and password, hitting the login button but nothing happened. He also searched for google/facebook signup. He got confused for a while, so then he saw the small Sign up text below the login and then hit the sign up button. Then he continued with the process and entered his details. He entered his name, age, gender, weight and height. He was confused about the units, while putting the height and weight, he ended up putting them in pounds and centimeters. Then he successfully got started with the app.
Problem and Feedback
Task 2 - Set a goal to run 10,000 steps
Imagine you want to know how many steps you take while running and want to use our app to track your steps. For this task, you are required to set a goal for running 10,000 steps. The goal of the user would be to use the app to set a goal of ten thousand steps.
The user has logged in the app. Now the user is in the main page where he can see different options like track your steps, manage your diet, health statistics, sleep cycle and lifestyle tips. The user was lost for a while, babbling about the icon of tracking your steps. Then he clicked the track on your steps, nothing happened. He then clicked the picture of the track your steps, which opened the new page of track your steps. He increased the number of steps, he had to click the arrow a lot of times. He clicked the button “set the goal”. He was not able to figure out whether he completed the task or not, as he asked us to check if it was over or not. Well, he successfully set the goal of steps from the app.
Problem and Feedback
Task 3 - Find the calories of the food that you have taken today.
Imagine that you want to improve your diet plan. So you have decided to keep track of calories intake that you take from your food everyday. Thus you decided to use our app. Your task is to go to “manage your diet” page and enter the food and amount of food you took today and check the intake of calorie today.
The user has logged in to the system. Now the user is in the main page where he can see different options like track your steps, manage your diet, health statistics, sleep cycle and lifestyle tips. The user clicked on the image of the spoons that is “manage your diet” and now the user is in manage your diet page. User selects the drop down menu where it was written “food list and calories”, there was a long list, the user scrolled for a while and simply closed the drop down menu. Then he entered the food he took and the amount he took today, on the text box where it was written “what did you eat today” and clicked on the check calorie button. He just saw the feedback, about how much calorie he should burn on that particular day.
Problem and Feedback
The concept of our app is incredibly beneficial to helping people keep track of their personal habits. However, as we worked through the cognitive walkthrough report, we learned that the app has some serious issues in terms of it’s learnability. For this cognitive walkthrough report, we worked on the onboarding phase of the application and discovered different major errors that are in need of repair immediately.
User Test Plan & Working on Feedback
For this research, everyone has all the roles, which means all of us acted as interviewer, note taker and observer.
We were able to record the whole procedure, which made it possible for us to act in different roles.
The code of the users is: U01, U02, U03, U04.
We are not allowed to give the identity of the users, as it was not in the consent and we don’t have the permission for that.
Time & Place
Our study was conducted on April 26th, 2020 in our room, located in different parts of the world, this depends on where the researcher is, as we all are in different countries. The session was conducted in person, with the participants and researcher taking all the roles. Working in a private space mitigates participant disruptions while reducing the amount of background noise in our session videos (everyone was required to record their screen while navigating through the wireframes). I offered some chocolates to ensure relaxation for our participants.
The participants had to use Think Aloud protocol to complete four tasks that evaluated the use of wireframe. In addition, all participants were asked to fill out a pre-and post-test questionnaire(standard SUS questions). Every session was monitored also in Canon Camera, allowing us to examine the sessions later, to read the body language of the participants, review the steps taken to complete every task, and extract interesting clips and quotes.
It was made available remotely, using a shareable link on the web. Also, the prototype could be displayed to users as an emulated
android app or ios app using an ionic framework in a browser. The users are able to operate the emulated app in the same way they
operate a real mobile app. All kinds of gestures including swipes, clicks, map movements, etc. and effects including animations,
fade in/out etc. are perfectly supported.
Besides, the ionic has extremely flexible resolution settings, which allows us to emulate the app with different screen sizes of mobile devices.
Three tasks will be tested for this prototype. The tasks are:
User Testing Goals (beyond usability problems)
We will check about the other sign up and authentication. When a user signs up using google signup or facebook signup,
we will check whether it will be successful or not and also, we will check the authentication.
We will check the user profile. After creating the user profile, will the user be able to edit the profile or not. On the edit profile, will the constraints work properly or not and how would the user react to the feedback of the system.
We will also check the ease of use of the app, how users will react to given links, how users move based on the images and icons. Also, we will see the time it takes for the user to complete the goals, on this user interface.
User Testing Script
Hi, my name is (researcher name), and I’m here to understand what do you think about the prototype of our app that helps
you to keep track of your daily activities and help you in self- reflection. This interview will take about 30-50 minutes,
during which time we’ll go through some questions. Throughout, I’d like you to treat me as if you’re describing the situation
to someone who isn’t familiar with the app. I’m here to learn from you.
This testing is intended to let users interact with the app, and try to find out as many design flaws as possible. So if there is anything that bugs you when you use the app, we want to know about it! As you navigate yourself through the app doing the tasks we gave you, please “THINK OUT LOUD”. Please don't hesitate to point out the inconvenience or disadvantages in the app in front of us: as the designer of it, you are doing the greatest favor for us by spitting it out, and we greatly appreciate that!
I just want you to remind me about the consent. To the extent possible, I will take your comments to be confidential. The answers you give in this interview will be used for research purposes. All the data will be securely stored and used only for the present research, in accordance with the ethical guidelines defined by the US law. All information will be handled anonymously and in a confidential manner by the researchers, the results can only be published anonymously. If we quote you in our final report, we will do so without identifying your name or specific role. Also, this interview is entirely voluntary on your part – if for any reason you want to stop, please let me know. You can withdraw at any time or refuse to use the prototype without any consequences of any kind.
Do you have any questions for me? All right, then, let’s proceed.
Oh, and by the way, do you mind if I take a video recording? This is just so that I don’t miss anything – no one other than the research team will have access to the recording. Thanks.
If you want to use the app on the phone, here's the emulator of the current version of our app or if you want to use it on a computer, here is the link for the web browser. This emulator is designed to show the same UI, animations, and gestures recognitions as operates on an Android mobile platform. So when the testing starts, please go ahead and interact with the emulated app the same way you use a real mobile app. It is the same in the case of computers.
There are 3 tasks we want you to complete. After completing the tasks, we also want you to freely play with the app.
I will repeat the tasks after you finish the first task, but let me just take you through the whole task.
Post Interview Questions
During this capstone project, as we all are living in different countries, we decided to take on every role for this study. For instance, a researcher from their country acted as interviewer, observer and also the notetaker. As we had the permission to take the video recording, we could easily take on these three roles. So, we were of 4 group members. Everyone acted as interviewer, note taker and observer in their respective user study.
As for the raw notes, we had a discussion and we decided to give raw notes from the role that we feel like we did the best. So, it doesn’t only include the notes from the interviews, but also when we observed the user.
Process Of Conducting User Test Sessions
A combination of techniques for evaluating UX has proven effective for our research, with experiments providing insight into the
different experience between products with more or fewer interactive features and changes in experience over short time scales.
However, even during the experiments we found differences in participants’ assessment of the same products in quantitative and
qualitative data. Furthermore, general measures of experience masked individual differences and how groups of users reacted to
products. Analysis of data at the individual level suggested that users may have styles that shape their experience, such as
enthusiasts who rate products highly and make no criticisms, compared to adopters who rate products less well and do make criticism
such as noting usability problems. Finally there are non-adopters who have little positive comments to say about a product.
Individual styles may therefore colour evaluation of user experience. Some users could form ‘gestalt’ - style opinions of products
which then influence their reported experience both quantitatively and qualitatively, while other users may be more reflective and
come closer to an evidence- based evaluation of experience.
In the longer term, evaluating data analysis is still in progress so we have focused on our experience of the data capture evaluation techniques. None are ideal:interviews are time consuming and difficult to schedule consistently over a 6-month period; periodic questionnaires are reasonably effective at capturing affect and UX, but only supply a limited number of data points over time; finally, diary studies have been effective in capturing activity but are less effective in providing evaluation of positive user experience. For practical evaluationa combination of the four techniques we used may be too expensive so we would recommend interview with periodiclightweightquestionnaires as the best means of assessing UX in the long run.
Overall, as per our strategy our user research went well. Our user testing was expecting some feedback to help us develop our app, such as how the users like each feature or hate it. Users have sent us useful feedback from the testing as well as some suggestions about the software. Many of the interface testing practices have been equally beneficial. Giving various tasks to the user helps them to grasp the App's main functions. This lets them tell us their views on those roles. Responding to an open query helps users to think broadly and indicate that we may not have considered it.
We also discovered that people with similar backgrounds will most likely have similar views or emphasis while using our app, by completing the usability assessment. If we develop our app more, then we can have users with different backgrounds to check our app. Then we'd be able to get more feedback so we can develop our product even more. A further resource reflection concerns the cost effectiveness of techniques and the evaluation goals. While most of our studies were driven by academic goals to understand UX at a theoretical level, most evaluation is driven by formative concerns of design improvement. This will focus on the aesthetics and interaction design, which may be better investigated by interviews and observation, since questionnaires rarely capture data at the feature level.
User Test Results
Feature that worked well
Feature that didn't work well
Additional Feature & Design Improvements
Conlcusion & What's Next
I had a great time working in this project, also since it was team project. I was able to manage the team well and we had very fruiful discussions during our conflict and eventually take a decision. Our next step would be to work on the feedback and make a hi-fi prototype. After making the prototype, we again want to repeat the user research with larger sample and work on the paint points and try to solve it.