Cynthia Yue

Shared Moments

Shared Moments is a mobile app that promotes mental well-being through social interactions. Through a series of design research methods, our team discovered that social interactions evoke strong positive attitudes. The positive attitudes generated from these interactions can be enough to help individuals feel more empowered and they proceed with stressful situations in their daily lives.


See the final paper

My Design Role
Research Design
Prototyping
User Testing
Literature Review

The Team
3 UX Designers

Deliverables
Low-fidelity Prototype
High-fidelity Prototype
Literature Review
Research Findings
User Testing
Final Paper

Tools
Photoshop
Sketch
Invision
Balsamiq

About the Project

Shared Moments was created as part of an Advanced Human Computer Interaction class at Cornell University. I worked on a team of 3 UX Designers to apply appropriate design research methods in building this solution.

Problems

Solutions

Design Research Methods

User Interviews

We conducted 1:1 interviews with 7 young adults who have recently experienced high levels of stress.



Some believed mental well-being is achieved through a balanced life-style:

“You have a mental balance between everything in your life, work (if you work), your family life and social life”

While others believed mental well-being has more to do with maintaining a positive attitude:

“Mental well-being is not a constant place of peacefulness and harmony, nothing will be fully tranquil in your life. Mental well-being is about having the ability to cope in stressful situations.”

Co-design

We then facilitated a co-design session to help create a product that helps users balance work, social relationships and sleep. Our group of 6 participants were individuals who are actively trying to maintain a healthy balance of these three factors on a daily basis.

Sketches from co-design session

Sketches - calendar screens

Sketches - social screens

The Result

Co-produced a mobile app that combines three major aspects of users’ daily lives: social relationships, sleep and work.



Key features:

Rapid Prototyping & User Testing

Next, we created a low fidelity Balsamiq prototype of our co-produced product to test on potential users.

Site Mapping

Sketching the site map

The site map

Low fidelity Balsamiq prototype

We recruited 9 young adults who have recently experienced high levels of stress. Short interviews were conducted after each user test to gather additional feedback.

Low-fid Balsamiq screens

Key Findings

Modified User Enactments

The social features in our low-fidelity prototype showed potential. Now the question is: to what extent can social interactions help our users achieve mental well-being? To answer this question, we designed a lab study and used low fidelity props to invoke reactions to receiving positive messages under stressful situations. We recruited 3 participants expressing high stress levels due to quickly approaching final examinations. They were placed in a conference room and asked to proceed with studying for finals.

Lab used for modified user enactments



Cell phones were placed next to our participants. These cell phones sent the following types of text messages in 15 minute intervals:

Text messages as low-fid props

Key Findings

Literature Review

We conducted a literature review to further support our decision to use social relationships to facilitate mental well-being.


See the final paper for more details

Key Findings

The Final Design

The final design solution is a mobile app that allows users to connect with close friends. The app gathers geo-location and weather data to generate social activities for friend groups. Features include a calendar and chat functions to organize and keep track of group activities.


See the Invision prototype



Final prototype screens

Final prototype

Discussion

Our research started with user interviews to better understand young adults’ relationships with mental well-being. The initial findings were that mental well-being is accomplished through a balance of work, social relationships and sleep. This was followed by a co-design method where we collaboratively designed a solution with a team of experts. Based on our co-design sessions, a low fidelity prototype was produced and user tested. Revelations from user tests led us to shift our focus on using social relationships to promote mental well-being. We proceeded with modified user enactments to further understand emotional reactions to sending and receiving positive messages. Existing literature also strongly supports the notion that social interactions are highly beneficial for mental well-being.

We see potential in our design -- our participants have expressed feeling strong positive emotions when receiving encouraging messages from their close friends in stressful moments. There are however limitations in our research. Some participants expressed discomfort while receiving notifications to send certain messages to others. This can impact participation within our app. Further research is necessary to better understand how these notifications can be better presented.

While our final design is grounded in research, additional research is necessary to measure the effectiveness of our final design. This can be accomplished through an additional round of user tests and interviews.