For this case study, I referred to Stanford D School’s Design process and applied their steps as a guideline.
I conducted research to investigate how procrastination affects people and what can be done to break the habit. Some questions I considered included:
Secondary research: Psychological & Behavioral Theories
I began by researching on procrastination, causes, types, and how to overcome it. This included what solutions currently exist and what problems they potentially solve and lack.
To better understand people’s procrastination habits, I conducted user interviews with 5 individuals. To avoid potential influence of monetary-extrinsic motivations, I focused on graduate students and individuals who were studying at that time.
With the data collected, I sorted the common themes by constructing an affinity diagram.
Although procrastinators share the same behaviour of procrastinating (pushing back their tasks), their underlying motivations were different and their coping behaviour appeared to be different.
Below, I outlined grouped the results under four categories. This highlighted the fact that despite being different types of procrastinators, all users shared the basic need and goal of increasing self awareness, and learning methods to stop procrastinating.
Based on secondary research and research findings, I categorized the procrastination behaviors into three main groups. This followed Dr. Ellen Hendriksen's (clinical psychologist at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders) theory on 3 types of procrastinators, the Avoider, Optimist, and Pleasure seeker.
I created three separate personas to serve as a model to reflect back on. For the purpose of this case study, I focused on Lila, "the Avoider" as my primary persona.
Understanding Lila's perspective as the "Avoider" type, I compared Dr. Hendriksen's research and my own discovered research to confirm the similar behaviour patterns.
This guided the development of the main problems and HMW questions to be solved:
Based on the three main types of procrastinators, users may result in any of the outcomes. I decided to trace their paths through a task flow. The greyed out areas are Optimist and Pleasure seeker paths, and the highlighted one is the Avoider. The following task flow illustrates how Lila, the Avoider would typically finish her task.
After forming a clear idea of the structure and features for the app, I compared them to the HMW questions to ensure that I was solving Lila's needs.
Once this was confirmed, I began brainstorming and sketching low fidelity wireframes.
After multiple sketch iterations, and discussions with my mentor, I created mid-fidelity wireframes on Figma. These screens included: Home Screen, Quiz Screen, Results Screen, Solutions Screen, Introspection Screen, and a few Timer Screens. Creating them in this way helped me with the visual hierarchy, text and balance of the overall look before adding details.
To create the brand style tile, I gathered inspiration from Pinterest and created a mood board. With a better idea of the app's direction, I created the logo following the brand attributes above.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland's White Rabbit, the app icon is a rabbit silhouette. The original character is one who is rushing, running towards and reaching his destination, while leading the way for Alice. In a similar sense, the Pakupaku rabbit represents:
Guidance, and moving forward towards one's goals.
The brand style tile includes the app's colour palette, typography, and visual elements.
I decided on naming this app “Pakupaku”, which is an onomatopoeia for “munching” in Japanese (think, Pac-man). The idea stems from the app’s main purpose, which is helping procrastinators heal their habits, “one bite at a time”. After identifying the brand's style and elements, I followed the guidelines created and designed the high fidelity wireframes.
To test the effectiveness of Lila's user flow, I conducted remote testing through Zoom with 5 potential users, aged 25-55 that aligned with the persona. These were some of the tasks that I focused on:
By grouping together common usability behaviours and observations, I gained insight on design decisions that worked successfully and common usability errors that could be improved on and revised.
Users who procrastinate appreciate guidance in learning about their behaviors.
Many were unaware of their patterns until they were asked- this showed that self awareness could grow with increased exposure. Future features for the Avoider could include: journalling, daily check ins and reminders
The timer feature worked well with users who needed 'support and outside help' (guidance and structure). The timer feature theme was happily accepted by majority of users.
They felt the attractiveness made it easier or more fun to engage in the "Study session".
Below is a sample of the Pakupaku app for the 'Avoider' type users. This is what Lila would essentially be tapping through. Each feature below could help address her main needs.
Take the quiz to understand your procrastination type and learn about potential solutions.
Be on top of your game, keep track of your tasks. Tick off your to do list while slowly building confidence.
Through self reflection, learn more about the underlying reasons behind your behavior.
Since procrastination is affected by multiple reasons and factors, it's not a simple topic to tackle. For this app, I based the concept on psychology research findings. Although it may not cover every single case for users, it generally caters to the three main types mentioned previously. Breaking it down even further, I focused on creating features for "The Avoider" type. In future iterations, I would love to cater to the other two types and further refine the Avoider's solutions.
Through this experience of designing an app from scratch, I developed a better understanding of the design process and the importance of identifying the core problem and user research. Looking back, I would have liked to interview more users from the different procrastinator types, and deepen my analysis in customer journey maps for each case to cover a larger area for potential challenges. A priority revision would also include a welcome tutorial for all users.
For this first round of MVP usability testing, I conducted tests on users from all three persona types. I wanted to observe the differences and similarities between the different types of procrastinations and their reactions.This project was challenging and interesting to research. Creating an app concept from scratch to its first prototype stage felt rewarding. I also realized the importance of having Lila, our Avoider Procrastinator. Having a persona to refer back to provided guidance in the decision making process.