Coaching remote workers towards wellness

As the UI/UX Designer, I designed a 3 major flows within Take5's mobile app that coaches remote workers towards wellness throughout the work day.

timeline

4 weeks

Team

Alysha Jean Charles
UX Research (Competitive analysis, User Testing), Lofi Sketching

My Role
UX Research (Research synthesis, Usability Testing)
UX Design (Lofi Sketching, Hifi Mockup, Prototyping)

tools USED

Client

Neeharika Tummala

What is take5?

A pre-seed startup, Take5 is mobile calendar app that helps remote workers take breaks throughout their day to reduce fatigue due to meeting-packed days in a non-office environment. With the help of machine learning, the app suggests breaks based on the user's work schedule and preferences.

business goal

A tool that can help HR heads of software companies solve the problem of low engagement by enabling employees to take breaks which help increase productivity and lower churn rates.

the PROBLEM

remote workers are experiencing longer hours, fewer breaks, lower engagement, and higher turnover

As a result of the pandemic, remote workers are working longer days with fewer breaks, ultimately leading to low engagement levels and increased turnover rates. Our client tasked us to design an early prototype of a mobile calendar app that integrates machine learning and helps prevent remote workers from burnout and chronic stress throughout their workday.

the solution

An AI break coach that works with the user's schedule to Intuitively make time for breaks

Our solution was to design a break coach that would ensure workers take necessary wellness breaks throughout their day while also respecting scheduled engagements.

ResearchIdeationInitial SolutionValidateHi-Fi DesignsFinal SolutionPrototypeEvaluation

discovery/Research

Understanding the root causes of fatigue and studying existing solutions

We took this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the problem space through competitive analysis, synthesizing the user interview notes that we were provided, and generating a user persona.

Competitive Analysis

We studied the competition and identified any areas of opportunity.

key takeaways

  • All 3 companies brought something different to the table: Reclaim.ai as a calendar app, Mindcurrent.io as a performance tracker, and Use Motion as a task manager
  • None of the companies integrated wellness apps
  • Artificial Intelligence alleviates most of the user's scheduling burden

User interviews

Our client had previously conducted 20 user interviews representing employees, managers, and senior leaders with a diverse demography across age, sex, marital status, and location.

Synthesis

To better understand user frustrations and pain-points, we used affinity mapping to generate themes and insights from the gathered data.

key USER insights and areas of opportunity

1. Reactive time blocking is a defense mechanism

People are often double or triple booked into meetings that are irrelevant to them. Reactive time blocking is an existing solution that people use to avoid these meetings, but is detrimental to employee relationships as it can lead to resentment.

2. Workers feel guilty for taking breaks

Workers feel guilty for taking breaks because no one else does it. They would feel more comfortable taking breaks if it were normalized by their superiors so that the rest of the employees can follow suite.

3. Calendars aren't adaptive

Not every meeting or task is created equally. There needs to be flexibility and versatility in the user's fluctuating calendar. When a meeting is booked over a scheduled break, people forfeit their break as they feel obligated to attend the meeting which leads to increased fatigue levels.

4. It is difficult to decompress with back-to-back meetings

When people are pulled into back-to-back meetings, this adds to the stress and fatigue because there is no mental break. People need time to digest information at the end of each meeting to alleviate their cognitive load from meeting to meeting.

"If people were more considerate,
it would be easier to be productive"

User Persona

ideation

Establishing the project scope

Our client had prompted us to focus on several key flows: Registration & Onboarding, Managing breaks, and Managing meetings. Using our research findings, we began brainstorming solutions and mapping out the user flows.

Exploring Solutions

As we began to explore a number of solutions during the Divergent Thinking process, putting pen-to-paper and creating a story board helped me think wide and visualize possible outcomes.

User Flows

The user flows allowed us to hypothesize on how the app could take on an adaptive approach when there is fluidity in the users calendar. We wanted to map out the most impactful interactions that would enable users to successfully take their scheduled breaks.

initial solution

The early designs

Drawing inspiration from prominent calendar apps such as Google and Apple, we began sketching out our initial designs in preparation for our upcoming usability tests.

lofi sketches

Our next step was to create the wireframes in preparation for our upcoming usability tests.

edge cases & Technical restraints

We wanted to focus on the happy paths so that we could deliver an early prototype that would showcase the solutions. However, one prominent edge case weighed heavy on our minds:

Assuming not everyone in the organization chooses to use Take5 as their main work calendar, what would a non-Take5 user, ie) Google Cal user, see when a meeting is scheduled via the Take5 app and vice versa?

From a technical standpoint, we envisioned the simplest solution for Google Cal users would be to receive all Take5 correspondents through their emails.

In the case where Google Cal users creates a meeting invitation, we would need to consult with the dev team to discuss how this would work for Take5 users, but ideally, it would be scheduled through email and then added onto their external calendar first.

🛑 Our first road block

Our client was unresponsive and time was ticking.

✅ On the third day of waiting, we made the collective decision to proceed with our scheduled usability tests. We forfeited the wireframes and put our low-fidelity sketches in front of our users because testing our early designs with real users trumped a pretty wireframe.

validate

Testing early to uncover usability flaws

We recruited 4 full-time remote workers to participate in our guerrilla usability tests. Participants were a software engineer, an interactive designer, a recruiting specialist and a Financial Analyst.

guerilla usability tests

high level goals

To determine whether participants were able to complete the benchmarked tasks without any major usability issues. As some of the features would be new and foreign to them, it was important that we observed their initial reactions and behaviors to help determine whether they would be viable features for the final prototype.

Try out the paper prototype to get an idea on our initial designs!
"Transparency messages seem quite useful in communicating my schedule, but it would depend on who I’m sending it to."

user testing insights

1. Users expect a certain level of clairvoyance

During the onboarding flow, our users indicated that they would expect the app to plan out their breaks for them with minimal effort on their part.

2. Transparency messages seemed like a novel feature

The idea of sending transparency messages to colleagues seemed like an interesting idea, but users were skeptical on whether the quick messages would be suitable to send to their managers.

3. New features need to be explained

Unfamiliar features require an explanation for users to understand its purpose. We discovered that the meeting buffer feature needed to be better explained to avoid confusion.

hi-fi designs

Bringing it all together

Establishing the UI for the high-fidelity mockups.

🔁 redoing the work

We realized we had missed the mark.

We created the High-Fidelity Mockups, conducted another round of usability tests, and iterated based on the learnings--all while sending the deliverables to our client as we went.

🔗 Click here for these detailed designs, usability test learnings, and iterations.

Nearing the end of our 4 week timeframe, our client finally responded and advised that although the features were great, we left out a crucial interaction: Machine Learning screens

a new direction

Our current designs were archaic, required too much work from the user, and didn't feel personable. The new experience needed to be tailored to the user in order to create an effortless and delightful experience.

iterate

reworking the designs

We went back and iterated on the designs with the intent to incorporate screens and interactions that would support machine learning and enhance the user experience by making it feel more personalized.

Reducing cognitive load

Participants spent a longer period of time reading the content on this page which disrupted the overall flow. By breaking up the preferences and reworking the visual hierarchy, it alleviates the user's cognitive load and improves readability.

final solution

Finalizing the Prototype

A walkthrough of the main tasks

1. Effortless user onboarding and break scheduling

Take5 extracts essential information from the integrated calendar and quickly learns the user's habits and creates an adaptive schedule, making onboarding and schedule setup quick and effortless.

2. Integrates wellness apps to enhance breaks and learns from user habits

Take5 integrates with existing wellness apps to give the user an immersive break. The app learns the user's habits and curates content based on its findings.

3. Creates transparency between colleagues to foster trust

Whenever a user declines a meeting invitation, there is an option to send the organizer a transparency message indicating why the meeting won't work. This helps reduce reactive time blocking and fosters trust between colleagues.

If a user accepts a meeting and their meeting buffers are turned on, there is an option to let the organizer know they will be 10 minutes late.

4. Normalizing walking meetings as an alternative to rescheduling a break

Meeting organizers can allow walking meetings so that employees can accomplish two things at once.

Final prototype

Explore Take5

Try your hand at creating and managing wellness breaks using Take5.

Evaluate

Learnings & Takeaways

Early testing as a guiding light

By testing early, it helped us understand what users expect from an app like Take5. It also consequently helped us eliminate an entire user flow that would have been time consuming to create.

Ongoing communication is essential

The biggest struggle we had was establishing a constant line of communication with our client. Despite our best efforts, there were often times where the client would be unreachable for days at a time and we were forced to continue on with the project in order to stay on track with our timeline.

Collaboration can turn an okay idea into a great idea

I enjoying working closely with another designer throughout the entire process. Although we worked autonomously at times, we had some great collaborative sessions where our ideas could grow and transform.

Next Steps

Desktop extension

Our current app takes a mobile first approach and focuses heavily on notifications as well as the creation and outcome of Take5 breaks. It would be worth exploring the implementation of a desktop application or extension which would house all the features of the app on people's existing work calendars.

Gamification on a social level to encourage engagement and accountability on teams

One aspect of the app which would greatly impact user engagement is by integrating a social aspect where users would be able to hold each other accountable for taking breaks. It would be interesting to see users encouraging one another to take breaks; thereby further normalizing breaks to break up long workdays.

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