Focus More is a productivity application designed as a part of Udacity's UX nano degree program. With Focus More, people can block distracting apps during their most productive hours and also set intentions stating what they want to accomplish during that time.
People are connected online for work or education. They find it easy to get sidetracked due to distractions like social media or instant messages. How could a 20-30 something person stay focused on the tasks they set out to do?
Research shows that the brain requires 23 minutes to refocus each time it gets distracted. The goal of this project is to help people focus on important work which not only helps in improving the quality of work but also improves the quality of life.
Discovery, Research, Ideation, Design, Testing
User Research, User Flow, Visual Design
My first task was to identify the specific pain points that the users were facing in their current focus management process. User interview participants were recruited through an online survey and the criteria for selection were people who regularly accessed the internet for work or education and had gotten sidetracked on one or more occasions.
I conducted a series of exploratory interviews with 6 users to understand the context and their pain points.
I asked them questions about:
Feelings about other apps
How, why and when distraction occurs
Other factors helping them focus
4 out of 6 research participants said that notifications on their mobile phones were the main reason for getting distracted from work.
Simply remembering the deadline or their goal prevented them from giving in to distractions.
Time tracker apps were overwhelming because sometimes they rang the alarm when they were focusing deeply. They often found it difficult to focus as it made them anxious wondering when the alarm would go off.
Website blockers gave them to access easily when they wanted to unblock.
Feature ideation and prioritization
The findings were arranged according to the value and complexity.
4 key features were prioritized to implement first.
User research made it evident about what motivated the users to maintain focus and how they are able to manage distractions. After summarizing the information from user interviews, it was time to sketch different solutions to help solve the problem.
User Flow - 1
With the help of a user flow, I was able to understand the user journey.
Low Fidelity Designs
I designed a low-fidelity prototype to test the idea with users and fix any problems at an early stage.
Usability testing session - 1:
Moderated remote usability testing sessions were conducted with few participants. The purpose of the test was to build a product that worked for real users. They were encouraged to think aloud to capture their overarching thoughts and impressions.
Some of the tasks that I prompted them to do during the interview were to sign-up, block applications, and log out.
Outcomes of usability testing session
Low Fidelity Prototype testing revealed that many users struggled with the steep learning curve, citing issues with the length of the form and intuitiveness. The users expressed that
“A summary page will be helpful and also an option to edit my selections”.
“I would like to check out the app first before I could register."
“It could have been in a wizard format with a next and back button on each screen.”
Before working on a High Fidelity prototype, I created a mid-fidelity design to implement feedback that was obtained during the usability testing session and test the solutions again with users to understand how the new solutions would work.
Usability testing session - 2:
10 people participated in the unmoderated remote usability testing study. Lookback.io was used for this session. The purpose of the test was to see how the potential user would use the product in their own environment.
Usability assessment: 90% of the participants on lookback.io completed all tasks and were able to understand what each task was about. Although, it seemed like they struggled with the navigation. So, I set out to improve the user flow one more time.
User Flow - 2
High Fidelity Mockups
High Fidelity mockups were created based on the feedback obtained during the second usability testing session. Here, the users will be able to set a timer and block distracting apps. They will also be able to set intents for the work hours to help with motivation.
1. Landing Page
2. Enable blocklist on devices
3. Selectively enable blocklist
4. Select previously set timer
5. Set a new timer
Landing Page: People can signup, login, or view the app before signup.
Enable blocklist on devices: They can enable the blocklist on devices that has the app.
Selectively enable blocklist: They can block apps on only a few devices.
Select previously set timer: People can enable the previously set end-time to work on recurring tasks.
Set a new timer: They can set a new time and set intentions to help with motivation.
Summary: The home screen displays the summary of the session.
My main takeaway here was to involve users in every step of the design, keep testing and validating ideas before moving on to the next steps. I could not have designed this product without the help of the user research participants. It was truly amazing to see how impactful it was to involve them early and often during the design process.
I believe that there is still room for improvement for Focus More. The main goal of this project was to block distractions so that people could spend time on the tasks they set out to do. It is important to reiterate the key features of the application before adding new features. That said, improving accessibility and voice integration could be future improvements for this product.