A 16 week long research study into the workplace mental health care space.
The service is focused on improving individual self-awareness and then helping individuals improve their lifestyles through better self-management.
16 week thesis internship
Initially, this Quan project aimed to help users with starting and maintaining well-being habits. However, along the journey with Quan, this aim shifted and became more about providing users with the right tools at the right time to aid their well-being journey in the areas that need it the most.
Quan wanted me to identify and understand how people create and sustain habits by performing user research and academic research for behavioral design.
UX Researcher and Designer
Product Design Team
Workplace wellbeing interventions fail to address individual needs, with insights driven by data
The company was founded in March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the world needs a solution that can help people with their well-being across five dimensions: Mind, Body, Meaning, Self Fulfillment, Social Connectedness. They realized that there is a growing market for preventative wellbeing solutions, and they argue that wellbeing is critical to success.
I used the Desing Thinking Process used by the Interactive Desing Foundation. Starting with the empathising phase and followed by the defining and ideating phase. Finally, the prototyping and testing phase. This process is rarely a straight line and can go on forever. It was especially challenging to use this process with Quan as they worked with a 2-week scrum model and monthly Demos.
Naturally, I would have started research and design for mobile-first, but due to the work context of this solution and time limitation, Quan decided to start with a desktop solution. For this challenge, I started with desk research, user interviews and some ideation sessions. I also made sure to look through the data already researched and provided by the company. I cross-referenced my findings with relevant theories I learned during my studies.
After I defined the problem, I used the insights to create 6 design principles and 12 user stories. This was only the beginning of constant loop between ideating, prototyping, testing and defining until I got to my final solution and the end of my internship.
__My Thesis Topic
Creating An Intuitive System That Facilitates and Motivates Users To Work On Their Well-Being
__Empathising and Research
How might we create an intuitive system that facilitates and motivates the user to work on their well-being
What makes a system intuitive? How can I apply that to Quan's "Journey"?
What do the users expect from a well-being system? What do they already use? What kind of tools do users expect Quan to provide?
What kind of tool and/or functionalities should Quan provide that can motivate users to use the platform?
What kind of user flow do other well-being platforms put into place?
What constitutes a good flow and narrative for Quan users?
Quan wants to make users feel comfortable. What makes a system feel comfortable?
What does the journey look like? What does it mean to the users and what's Quan's role in the user's journey?
What kind of onboarding flow can be put in place to make the users not feel overwhelmed?
Are users interested in personalising their journey? And if so, what is the best way to find the balance between hand-holding and giving more free reign?
What can be put in place to make a symbiotic onboarding system between all the different paths of the journey?
What made this project a success for me was my ability to plan and closely stick to my plan. Below is a summarised overview I created the first week at work.
Desk research was a crucial part of my process because it is summarised and collated data that increases the overall effectiveness of the research. I also did not have the time to do Quantitative research on my own, and in a sense, these books and theories result from quantitative research done by experts. Among the books I read were:
Designing Interactive Systems
This book is all about how users interact with a system. Because I don't have time to do lots of quantitative research I thought it would be a good idea to look into a book that does. The book outlines standards used across platforms that support interactive systems that are intuitive to users.
Design with the Mind in Mind
This one helped me further understand the biases that occur in our minds and how we must design for our imperfections.
Universal Principles of Design
This book contains 100 design concepts that are defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge. I used this to familiarise myself with some basic design concepts and to inspire me with my ideation during the design sprints.
See section 3.2 in my thesis document for all data collection and analysis.
User Journey Map
For people in the workplace to use a mental health solution, they must embark on the following path:
People are lazy
In order for people to want to use a platform it needs to take the minimum amount of time and effort for them to get to their goals and objectives.
People want to feel in control but not overwhelmed
People crave control, they want to decide what they see when. But this is relative to the level of expertise of the user. Some users need more guidance than others.
People want something aesthetically appealing
Aesthetic things are perceived to be easier to use than ugly things. Aesthetic things are more likely to be tried, accepted, displayed, and repeatedly used than ugly things.
People want to rewarded
Delighters: We remember and respond favourably to small and unexpected pleasures (surprise delights).
People are part of communities
It is human nature to be part of groups and communities. We react and feel like we need to do something just because others do it.
People like seeing achievements for their efforts
Ikea effect: People tend to place a high value on products they partially have created. Allowing users to track and input their progress overtime will create a sense of completion and motivation to continue using a product.
See section 3.3 in my thesis document for all research conclusions.
The design process was split into 4 sprints, meaning I would have two demos to show a solution. I broke down all the user's stories into relevant sprints and discussed with the team if they were aligned with their goals. Once these were discussed it was the beginning of the ideate, prototype and test cycle. I will show some examples here of different sorints, but for the full comprehensive explanation please see Section 5.0 of my thesis paper.
Getting inspired, bringing Quan together
Sprint 1 Ideation
Sprint 4 Ideation
Scribbling, drawing, sketching
Prototypes (high-fi wireframes)
Sprint 1 Results
Sprint 2 iteration
Sprint 3 iteration
Converging through testing
All previously shown iterations result from new user stories implemented, and user/expert feedback during online testing sessions through zoom.
__Final Results Presentation
A presentation on how I got from point A to B. I shortly explain my design decisions and where they came from. I also speak about some shortcomings and challenges I found throughout the way. This presentation was done for my graduation thesis defence.