UX DESIGN • PROTOTYPING

DJUP / Find your focus in a distracted world

DJUP / Find your focus in a distracted world

First time use of DJUP

Introduction

Introduction

Part of my time at IED Madrid was dedicated to creating a personal project. I developed a productivity app that helps people set personal goals and find focus in a world filled with noise and distractions.

My role

My role

This was a personal project where I did everything from research to design and prototyping with input and feedback from mentors. 

This was a personal project where I did everything from research to design and prototyping with input and feedback from mentors. 

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Mainscreen, Daily summary and Evaluation screens
Focus: How might we find focus in a distracting world? 
Focus: How might we find focus in a distracting world? 

The challenge

The challenge

When I was in design school I had the time to focus on tasks and assignments that were challenging and helped me improve as a designer. After graduation I started to work at a design agency in Germany.

I had a lot of meaningful and important tasks at the agency. But to my frustration, I noticed how they often became buried under emails, meetings, and ToDos. I learned that being productive does not necessarily mean producing meaningful work. 

This made me stressed, how will I be able to develop and stay relevant as a designer if I am not able to focus on important and challenging work? I had to find a way to regain the same focus on important tasks as when I was a student. 

During this time I started to notice how more people started to become worried about the consequences of their relationship with technology. The same year the design agency Fjord acknowledged the trend Silence is gold. They report about how people start to disconnect and distant themselves from technology. 

In addition to that, in a report about the modern workplace McKinsey writes: ”The average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching. Close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone.”

 

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”The average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching.

Close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone.”
”The average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching.

Close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone.”

We are advancing towards a future with more connectivity and more technology. But at the same time people are starting to push back and question the role of technology in our lives.

Apple and other tech companies has launched tools to help users track their screen time to understand what they spend time on. This is a growing problem and it became clear for me that my project would revolve around, How might we keep focus on meaningful goals in a distracting world?

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Screen activity becomes important as people start to question their relationship with technology.
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Screen activity becomes important as people start to question their relationship with technology.

The approach

The approach

Researching the subject I learned that there are several theories for how to live a focused life. The philosophies differ both in their methodologies and how they disconnect from technology. 

For me, the interesting methods are the ones who view technology as something crucial in today's society. Meaning that the goal is to find a healthy balance with technology instead of refrain from using it. This allows us to enjoy the benefits of technology but at the same time avoiding it taking over our whole life.

In this area, Carl Newport is one of the most prominent figures. In his book Deep Work, he presents a theory of dividing up the day into blocks based on what he calls deep and shallow work.

Deep work is periods of undistracted and focused work that helps you develop and advance towards your long term goal. Meanwhile, shallow work is more administrative and mandatory tasks.

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GoalTarget

Working in a deep state of focus is very demanding. The experts say that beginners can work in a deep state for about one hour meanwhile expert's threshold is around four. This means that even if the goal is to work in a deep state every day there is time left to fill the rest of the day with shallow work.

I created a methodology and application inspired by the tools presented by Cal Newport and similar philosophies. The purpose is to define your long term goal and then help you focus on the tasks that advances you towards it.

The discovery

During the research, I identified four pain points in the modern workplace that distracts people from reaching a deep state of focus.

During the research, I identified four pain points in the modern workplace that distracts people from reaching a deep state of focus.

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The vision

The increasing amount of information and noise in our society creates a need for people to to regain their focus. DJUP will be the software the helps people regain their focus and work on what is important in their life.

Djup will help users find their focus by helping them to:

• Focus on the tasks important to achieve their goal.

• Prioritize the planning of the day around periods of deep work.

• Let work go by the end of the day to allow for recharging of energy.

• Encourage to disconnect from internet when extreme focus is needed.

The product

The vision defined the scope for the prototype of DJUP. I defined the user stories to be included in the prototype.

The user stories for the prototype of DJUP was:

• As a user I want to be able to set up DJUP to my daily routine.

• As a user I want to see statistics of my previous working days.

• As a user I want to be able to start a new day.

• As a user I want to be able to finish day.

When the scope was defined I started to experiment of where to place different elements of the application. I developed the flows by starting with paper sketches and through iterations working towards wireframes and low and high fidelity mockups. 

Visual Design
Because DJUP is an application that has the goal of helping you to focus I wanted it to have a minimalistic and non-disturbing appearance. 

I achieved this by using the sans-serif typeface Proxima Nova that has a modern and simple feel. In addition to that, I used a lot of white and light grey to create a calm appearance.  To create contrast against the background I used a primary color and a unique color for each category (deep work, shallow work, and break). 

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Type and color used in DJUP

Prototyping
One of my goals for this project was to build an advance protoype with motion. I decided to use Principle for this purpose as it gives a lot of control when animating micro interactions.

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Prototype built using Principle

First time use 
When starting the application for the first time you define your long term goal and the main tasks and activities that will help you achieve that. In addition to that, you fill in the details of your normal working week.

First time use 
When starting the application for the first time you define your long term goal and the main tasks and activities that will help you achieve that. In addition to that, you fill in the details of your normal working week.

Start day
A new day is started by defining the tasks that are going to be your focus during the day. Then classify whether they are deep or shallow so the system can recommend a schedule for the day. 

Main screen
The main screen shows; hours of deep work compared to happiness, the goals achieved and the division between the categories; deep work, shallow work, and breaks.

Finish day
Before finishing the day DJUP takes you through a checkout process which ensures that you have done everything you need to until the next morning. So you can focus on relaxing and recharging to gain energy for the next day.

Reflections

My visual design skills developed a lot during this project. This was the first project where I systemized the visual design from spacing, type, and color. The process to define everything took a lot of time initially. But when the system was in place I could quickly see the advantage. Problems appearing in the design were resolved much quicker as there already was a system in place.

To create the prototype I choosed between Principle or Framer X. Framer X would be the common option as it is suitable for whole application prototypes meanwhile Principle is more suitable for micro interactions.

I used Principle as I wanted complete control of the animations in the prototype. Principle is not convient to build full application prototypes. But the amount of freedom and control made it worth the effort.

Designed by Gustav Dybeck

Nuura