Android app for Emotion Management and Regulation
Feb.2018 - May. 2018
Social Web Course @CMU
Siyu Chen, Tianmi Fang, Mengxin Yu
I was the lead in the team of three. My contributions included
Planning the research and design process
Conducting user research and speed dating
Creating wireframing, low-fi and high-fi prototypes
Coordinating with teammates and made design decisions
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
International students sometimes experience difficult psychological adaptation process in the starting of a new semester. Without enough support, they find it hard to manage and regulate their emotions. In order to maintain positive social impression, some students pretend to perform more emotional health, which, in turns increase pressure.
HOW DOES OUR PRODUCT HELP?
Moodie is a mobile app which helps students improve emotion management and regulation by mood collection, anonymously paired sharing and reflection.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM
User Interviews & Literature Review
From our user interviews, we found that many international students like sharing their feelings online, ANONYMOUSLY, because anonymity creates a safer environment for them to share emotions and facilitate self-disclosure.
However, the anonymous sharing does not help students better regulate and manage their emotion. In this project, we want to explore what current problems are in their daily emotional management. Beyond that, we also want to discover what the ideal state might be and how to help students achieve.
In my first three months at CMU, I was under heavy pressure and did not have very close friends here. I did not want to tell my anxiety to my parents or old friends because they would be worried. So I started to vent my emotion online, however, it was not helpful as expected"
- Juliet, an international student and interviewe
We also conducted a competitive analysis to identify the potential design opportunities. While most mobile applications about mood tracking are well-developed to collect personalized and contextual mood records, the stress-free sharing and deeper reflection are missing.
Design Challenge #1: How to communicate with users to collect mood tracking data?
Which information should we collect, in what ways, and with how many details?
We explored different possibilities from literature review, user interviews and competitive analysis, and defined our solution:
Collecting the primary and secondary emotions, as well as emotion triggers by chatting with an agent
We made this decision for three reasons
Identifying the two-level emotions can facilitate reflections without much effort
Writing down triggers is helpful to regulate emotions
Communicating with an agent creates a sense of being heard, which was highly valued by users in interviews
COLLECTION | Easy, simple and introspective mood recording
Design Challenge #2: How to motivate users to continuously track and reflect on their moods?
Our first vision is to motivate users by visualizing their achievements in collecting and reflection. For example, we have two initial ideas, one was creating a "virtual garden" and visualizing mood records as flowers. Another one was using a "tree" as the metaphor of time and represented mood records as leaves. Moreover, the tree would grow higher with the records increasing.
REFLECTION | Scaffold to reflect on emotions and identify patterns
First two ideas of motivating users to continually use the product
Design of reflection reports
We conducted a very quick usability test to choose the ideas. Surprisingly, the feedback from users indicated that neither of the two ideas worked. Users are willing to continually use the product because it can bring new value, therefore, intrinsic incentives are much better than extrinsic ones. This finding directed us to make more effort in creating insightful reflection experience. We decided to provide a data visualization about emotion changes, which was an explicitly benefit for users to become more aware of mood patterns and improve self-regulation
Storyboarding & Speeddating
We tested collection and reflection together with 12 users using a storyboard, and got positive feedback in general: users loved the feeling of conversation, and thought it would be helpful to recognize emotion by primary and secondary levels.
Besides, there are two things that can be improved:
We prompted users to document both emotional state and activity they were doing. However, the current activity is not the necessary trigger of their emotion. Therefore, we added an optional note for users to specify reasons of emotions later.
The reflection should be more insightful - users can figure out the reason for an emotional event easily, instead, they are more interested in knowing what types of events would trigger what kinds of their emotion. It inspired us to provide users with insightful influencing factors of their emotions.
Design Challenge #3: What feedback do users value in sharing?
The most challenging question during the whole project designing a safe, comfortable and responsive sharing experience
"Being heard" is the most crucial need when users wanted to share their mood anonymously in online communities. We learned from user interviews that usually users did not really want problem-focused feedback - rather, they valued more on the emotional side. The sense of being heard can be created by an empathetic reply, context-specific feedback, even some evidence that somebody viewed the post.
We designed three alternative sharing feedback. In a paired sharing relationship, users can receive a piece of music, or a doodle created by a replier. In a group sharing relationship, the app would inform users about times of their posts that have been viewed and "hugs" they received.
SHARING | Self-disclosure
with a sense of being heard
The doodle feedback in a paired sharing relationship won. 75% users preferred to receive doodle because of the personality behind the drawing. Doodle is unique - it offers than one-word replies as "Sorry" or "Cong". Doodle is emphatic, and sometimes drawing communicates better than words. Users also feel more sense of "being heard" because of the effort others took in drawing.
Moreover, we decided to choose paired sharing relationship for three reasons:
Exposure to many posts in a group may reduce empathy and lower the amount and quality of reply in turns
Paired relationship creates a close relationship and makes participants feel more responsible and willing to reply
It made me feel even worse when I post my broke up on Facebook, almost all replays said "I'm sorry". It just took 3 seconds to type down those polite replies. No one really cared about me.
- Chenchen, an international student and interviewe
In a group brainstorming, we drew several low-fidelity interfaces on paper to articulate the user flow, and then digitalized them into wireframing.
Using this low-fidelity prototype with InVision, we conducted usability tests with 10 initial users. Users were given four tasks including collecting a mood, sharing a mood and responding to the reply, replying to other's post, and reflecting on insights provided by the system.
Iteration #1: More clear instructions
We revised the language to create a comfortable and understandable communication experience. For example, we found the original instruction was confusing - "talk" looks more like communicating with a voice agent, and “record your mood"sounds stilted.
Iteration #3: Highlight the communication feature
3/8 users ignored the "chatting" icon on the top left, which looked more like a normal notification button. Because the communication feature is the most crucial interaction in our product, we redesigned the visual to address it.
Iteration #2: Collect information through chatting
5/8 users complained Icon seems incompatible in the chat, and it may be not easy to find the activity when there were more than three rows. We solved this problem by removing icons, synthesizing activity types at the general level and allowing users to customize.
Introspection through chat
Users can chat with Elsa if communicating with a close friend to track their moods. Moodie enables users to identify subtle mood more easily by decomposing mood into two levels, and attribute emotion triggers accurately by recalling activity and detailed reasons
Drawing, Instead of Saying
As the medium of reply, doodle offers more interesting, empathetic and delightful experience than words. No trolling, no cliche, doodles are surprising gifts for every user.
We understand that not everyone is born as artist. Users can create doodles easily by selecting their favorite shapes and fill in color.
Keep tracking your emotion and enhance your emotional well-being
Moodie not only informs users of their moods during a period, but also reveals influencing factors based on data collected.