Looking Glass

Challenge

Our semester consisted of a rollercoaster of testing and failing. We experimented vigilantly to explore the emotional triggers of our users. In our process, we 

Scope: 8 weeks

Role: 1 of 4 team members

Team: Karen Ng, Anupma Rajani, 

Considerations

Even though we all use technology to connect with friends and family, it often gets in the way. We tweet, chat, text, and email content to people we care about, but these conversations end when we close those apps.

We may tag friends in content or email them, but that often dilutes the value of the content because notifications come at inconvenient times, or we have no context for why someone shared something with us.

We all share content, mostly through social media. But sharing content online often doesn’t lead to thoughtful conversations. How can we share content in a way that is more personal?

 

How it works

Everyday we consume content, share it with others, but with Share In Person, you'd be able to tag contact to certain content.  As we go through content on our phones, our concept would offer an opportunity to continue your thoughts and conversations with others. 

When you are with those friends, since the app is at an OS level, it would be able to remind you when you are in the proximity of your contacts. 

 

[Concept Video, 02:05]


Iteration Process

We began our process by looking at our existing problems with notifications.  We thought about the obvious examples of annoyance, and where there was room for improvement.  We began to explore Google Now, Mailbox, and other ambient technological advances that have been made recently.  

Concept 1

We considered what our phone knows, and how could we make our devices work for us instead of against us! Our first concepts circled around this notion. We asked ourselves: 

  • What if your phone could deliver notifications based on where you are? 

Using a geo-fencing property, perhaps a user could choose what notifications come to their phone based on where they are.  For example, while at work, is it really necessary to receive your Instagram notifications?  

This user likely uses their one device for work and their personal life, but seeks to create a stronger distinction between the two.  Some use cases might include choosing which people you want to receive notifications from in that particular location. For those that never want to miss a call from Mom! 


Concept 2

...Or could our phone be intelligent enough to notify us of real life events.  This concept uses data from calendars and the user’s location to notify the user that they should prepare for an upcoming event

  • What if your phone could deliver reminder notifications based on moments in your life? 

This may be for individuals who are giving and courteous, but may be unintentionally forgetful. They are over-scheduled and often do not remember personal deadlines until they are upon them or they have passed.  To add depth and granularity, users can select which type of events they want to be notified about for specific contacts

With knowledge of upcoming events and location, notifications can alert users at opportune times.  For example, "Your friend’s birthday is coming up next week and you walk past Duane Reade on the way to school. You might be alerted to pick up a birthday card and receive a discount code."

Another use case might include being reminded to pick up thank you cards after your birthday.


Concept 3

Our last initial concept was the idea of an ambient learning notification system.  Mailbox does a fantastic job of this with it's Auto-Swipe feature, and we thought it might help to explore this concept for our explorations.  

  • What if your phone could learn what notifications you like and dislike?

Over time, the phone learns which notifications users trash most often, and suggests that they no longer receive those notifications.  This concept is for users that may be annoyed by notifications, and don't want to specifically adjust it's notification settings. This could also be relevant to those that use their inbox, or notifications as a to-do list.

Currently, swiping left on a notification gives the user one option, the option to remove the notification. This concept would allow for a user to: 1. Check it off! This tells your phone that you were glad you saw this notification, and you want to continue to get this type of notification. 2. Snooze it! This tells your phone that you were glad you saw this notification, but you can’t act on it right now, so you want to be reminded in an hour. 3. Trash it! This tells your phone that you didn’t need to see this kind of notification and you no longer want to see them. 


Feedback

After initial feedback, we discussed how we can make notifications work for us.  By reconsidering our provocation, and point of view, we were able to pivot towards our final concept.

We discussed how our initial ideas and concepts played into our lives.  Rachel and I both had potent anecdotes of our personal lives.  I usually use my iPhone photo library as a conversation point between my Dad and I. It's a visual timeline and reminder of the things that I've done recently.  Typically, if something it noteworthy, I take a picture of it!  Rachel said she does a very similar thing with her girlfriend.  When they are home, she is reminded to mention something because of a note, or a screenshot she took earlier that day, or week. 

While no idea stands alone in these idealistic 'eureka' moments, we came to an epiphany from our conversation and feedback which led us to our final, pivoted provocation. We may tag friends in content or email them, but that often dilutes the value of the content because notifications come at inconvenient times, or we have no context for why someone shared something with us. Even though we all use technology to connect with friends and family, it often gets in the way. We tweet, chat, text, and email content to people we care about, but these conversations end when we close those apps.  

How can notifications aid our memory and encourage situational awareness without being annoying?

Final Exploration

With our new focus, we quickly honed into the flow and began thinking about how this concept might work.  We chose to create an OS level app that would allow for any user to save any content to be associated with a contact.  When in proximity to that contact, a notification would remind you to share that content with them. Ideally, our concept would provoke in person conversation and encourage discussions to happen with the ones you care about. 

We explored quick sketches, and dove into wireframes.  We considered the ideas around how a user would navigate through the app.  While it isn't a key feature in the product video below, we did explore the notion of sharing the content as an exit moment for the users.