“Flowalk” records the number of steps you have walked and displays them again along with the number of calories that you have burned, distance and walking time. The mandala pattern will be filled with colours, as the user progresses with daily walking activities. In addition, the user has the option of purchasing or using banked pedometer counts to unlock new mandala patterns. The aim of this project was to help users develop a healthier lifestyle, also the application serves as a platform to share information regarding the healthy lifestyle.
School project @ ECU
User Research, Visual design, Prototyping & Testing
According to the WHO research project published September 5, 2018, globally around 27.5% of adult population (age > 18) do not have sufficient amount of physical activity, which accounts for over 1 in 4 adults. Back in the year 2010, the percentage was 23%, showing the ascending trend. According to the research, the percentage is even higher among developed countries. WHO states "the transition towards more sedentary occupations, recreation and motorized transport could explain the higher levels of inactivity", and proposes that the government of each country should build more infrastructure to promote daily activity among the citizens.
Why Colour filling?
The first part of the research was to explore the art presentation which would facilitate, promote the user's daily physical activity. I was inspired by the 2013 colouring book by Johanna Basford, named "Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book", which was a huge success among adult readers with over millions of copies sold. Some analysts concluded that colouring patterns is calming for adults, and the meditative effects can be beneficial or even therapeutic.
Colouring mandala patterns is frequently used in art therapy, which was invented by the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Jung used mandalas in his psychotherapy by getting patients, who had no knowledge of it, to create individual mandalas. This enabled him to identify emotional disorders and work towards wholeness in personality. A mandala can also be used to guide us into a hypnotic or a higher state of consciousness.
During the initial discovery phase, multiple 1-1 interview sessions with my classmates at ECU as well as my colleagues at VanPeople were held. I interviewed people of age groups between 23-60 years, with diverse backgrounds to understand their daily physical activity amount, as well as the preferred method of obtaining information on healthy lifestyle.
“I just had a second baby, am currently on maternity leave, however I don't think I am physically appropriate to engage high level of physical activities. I do hope to start with simply and easy ones such as jogging. Meanwhile, I am always a big fan of art, and love to play colouring books with my kid. It would be fantastic to have a mobile application, which combines my need of physical activity and my passion for art!”
-Sarah Gill, 29 yrs, ECU Student
“I’m a college student and a YouTuber for almost a year now. I post videos on the healthy lifestyles on Youtube, but I am hoping there can be a more professional and dedicated platform to share such information.”
-Daisy Huang, 23 yrs, ECU Student
"I have been working as Graphic Designer for 25 years, and like many others, the office job makes my life style rather sedentary. I would be interested if there could be a mobile app platform at which can engage me with more physical activities, as well as sharing my achievement with my colleagues."
-Rey Wang, 40 yrs, Creative director at VanPeople
After conducting multiple user interviews, contextual inquiry and analyzing the gathered data, I was able to categorize the insights into these 3 categories.
• Compared with elder generation, millennials use the social media more frequently, and have been accustomed to sharing their daily life with friends and even the general public.
• Everyone knows adequate amount of physical activities is beneficial, however, far fewer can stick to it or even integrate as the lifestyle.
• Many interviewees indicated that daily physical activity is boring.
• Most of the current sport applications are single functional, and many users may find the interface boring.
• Appropriate amount of physical activity is as important as healthy diet. By combining the two, it will be more efficient to achieve the pre-set goals.
• People like to post their healthy life style and status to their friends, which makes it possible to use social media in order to have a positive group influence.
• The interview concluded that social application is the most widely used smart phone application, with the highest level of customer stickiness.
Based on the preliminary results I gathered from the previous research, I began creating user flows. I started creating the information architecture and the low-fidelity concepts for primary use cases. Then I organized the key functions into three: pedometer, “moments”, and news feed. Then all the orders of prioritization were explored, with the second chosen due to the following considerations: 1. As a pedometer application, counting steps should be the core function; 2. The "moments" function is equally important as news feed, in terms of maintaining the level of customer stickiness.
I started creating the information architecture and low-fidelity concepts for primary use cases. During the entire design phase of the project, professors and students at Emily Carr University would engage “one-on-one critique” as well as “peer review” on a daily basis. Then we began to conduct usability tests with the low-fidelity mockups. Once I had confidence in the design, I began digitalizing designs.
To be comprehensive yet consistent
Initially, we thought the functions of a sporting application should be focused and professional. However, as we are progressing with the project, we realized that the single function applications lose the user stickiness. Only by striving to be comprehensive yet maintain the level of consistency, can we achieve the optimal status of a product.
But first - build trust
In the first design version, anyone information can be shared as news feed, which caused an overflow of irrelevant posts. Thus in the following versions, we added a content approval system to ensure only those relevant to sporting and a healthy lifestyle can be published and shared. As a result, the news feeds are more professional and useful for the users.
Closing the loop
By learning, sharing and exploration, we formed a close loop. It is of key importance to connect all the dots for the user to help them achieve their desired health goals.