mo

An app that helps you accomplish a daily goal by providing ongoing conversations about your work.

Role

It's a individual thesis project, so I worked on everything

Dates

September 2015 - May 2016

 
 
 

Thesis context

Problem Statement

Many people struggle with procrastination. They put off their work until the very last minute, and consequently face stress, panic, regret, and eventually fatigue. Most of them assume that this issue is caused by a lack of good time management. And current solutions like general to-do list apps and project management tools help us only once we start. However, there are also complex psychological issues deep within our minds that keep us from simply starting. 

Design Brief

How can technology help users to get things done when they are in the middle of procrastinating

Goal

To create simple and engaging way to coach users stay focused and get daily task done. The solution should tackle both time management and psychological issues.

 
 
 

Research

insights

 
 

Inaccurate estimation of the time frame

People have a tendency to take more than they can handle when they are making the plan. However, they would feel bad about themselves when they didn't execute it or didn't finish the plan well. Those negative feedback gives them excuses to procrastinate more. 

 

Time management + psychological problems

Many people consider procrastination as a issue of time management. They often believe that time is up against them and they have to outsmart it somehow. But procrastination is not just a matter of how you manage your time. Rather, it’s a complex psychological problem - avoidance, with deep roots in our mind. 

 

To-do list apps and project management tools can't do any

People use to-do list apps or project management tools to help them organize time and work. However, When we don't want to work, those tools can't do anything to help us stop procrastinating. 

Clear - Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

Clear - Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

 
 

user behavior study

The habit loop

 

[1] The procrastination loop

[2] The working mode loop

 
 

Intervene of the procrastination habit loop

To change the procrastination habit, the craving of finishing the goals must be triggered, so that people will start working and get close to the goals bit by bit. 

 
 
 

Final Design

Why it's called mo?

The name "mo" is originated from the movie "Wall-E". There's a robot called mo and he always cleaned dirty spots immediately when he saw it. I like his personality a lot. I hope people who procrastinate can do their work without hesitating or putting off, just like what mo does :)

 
 

Features

 

One goal, one day

Every day, mo encourages you to focus on only one goal.

 
 

Check in with you periodically

mo always checks in to know what you've done once an hour, and reports the current status to you.

 
 

Send punishment message when you keep procrastinating

mo is a "tough-love" coach. It always pushes you to start working as early as possible.

 
 

Coach you on focusing

When you feel stuck or less motivated, you can ask suggestions from mo. mo has knowledge of how to get focused.

 
 

Learn your habit from the converstion

mo leans your habit and uses embedding deep-learning program to analyze context and remember conversations.

 
 

previous Ideas & iterations 

My idea evolved 3 times from these design solutions: Smart Planning, TimeFly and GoodDay. During each time, I created mid-fidelity prototype and tested it with some people to get some learnings.

1. Smart Planning

An app that generates daily plan based on users' to-do and priority set. It also learns users' habit and gives suggestions when they may have wrong estimation of tasks. 

After testing the function with several people, I found it's helpful for them to see priority clearly, but there's too much input... And even though I ask them to only plan for today, they can't finish every task when they set more to-dos than they can handle.

 
 
 

2. TimeFly

An app that visualizes how you spend your time after you set a goal for today. It sends notifications together with regular messages by a virtual coach which matches to your need. I also imagine the app will know users' activities on smartphone. For example, it will alert you when you spend too much time on Facebook. At the same time, it can pair with a web browser plug-in which also monitor users' online activities. 

 
 
 
 

I didn't go far with this idea because this one seems too invasive. And if the user procrastinates a lot, which means the app will report negative feedback of him/her. No one is gonna use it to see how bad they are. Besides, the coach is not a clear or obvious design in this app.

 

3. GoodDay

An app that allows users to engage with a virtual smart coach when they are procrastinating. Users can choose the coach's personality according to how much they want to be pushed or get encouraged. 

 
 

This one needs to be improved in some aspects. First, the goal of conversation is unclear for users. Second, the activity record is not that necessary. Then, I should work on interface design more to make users want to engage with the coach.


 
 

Thesis presentation

The video is in editing, so it's coming soon!