Busy social butterflies need an app to help them take control of their time… Or do they?

Photo by willis henderson on Unsplash

A case study in field work for my UX-design course.

Meet Ben Anderson. He’s a busy, social guy who needs a behaviour changing app that delivers control.

To get the process started, we used a kick-off canvas in order to start thinking about the target group.

Who is this person and thus our target group?

The demographics, life situation and behaviours of the target group.
The needs of the target group.
Everything seems important and previous knowledge is limited.
Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Three needs now become three hypotheses.

  • Our users need more time to do all the things they think will be fun.
  • Users need help prioritising events and social activities.
  • Users want to feel free from outside distractions while they are at social activities.

How do we know if our hypotheses are correct?

By reframing the hypothesis as a statement beginning with “We will know we are right when” we have an easier time thinking about what types of open and closed questions could illicit this response, open questions in interviews and closed questions in the survey.

  • Hypothesis 1: Our users need more time to do all the things they think will be fun.
  • Hypothesis 2: Users need help prioritising events and social activities.
  • Hypothesis 3: Users want to feel free from outside distractions while they are at social activities.

Time to collect some quantitative data as well as find people to interview!

My questionnaire wasn’t very extensive as I was worried that including too many questions could scare off respondents. I’m already targeting a group of people that I believe have a scarcity of time!

The main questions of my questionnaire

Interviewing

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
  1. Peter, 30 years old, Stockholm Sweden. Studying to be a teacher. No children.
  2. Maya, 35 years old, Visby Sweden. Works in a hotel. No children.
  3. Kitty, 33 years old, Stockholm Sweden. Works as an administrator for a governmental organisation. No children.
  4. Benny, 35 years old, Stockholm Sweden. Works as a bike messenger. No children.
  5. Cindy, 35 years old, Berlin Germany. Works as a freelance journalist. No children.
  6. Sten Stone, 34 years old, Ekerö Sweden. Works as a restaurant chef. No children.

Hypothesis 1

  • Learn if users are stressed about their time.
  • Learn what a user’s typical week used to look like.
  • Learn how having multiple events/activities to choose from makes them feel.
The first hypothesis and accompanying interview questions

Hypothesis 2

  • Learn how users prioritise their free time.
  • Learn what techniques or tools users have for prioritising their time, if any.
  • Learn why it is difficult for users to manage their time.
Second hypothesis and accompanying questions

Hypothesis 3

  • Learn if users have a need to “go offline” while at events.
  • Learn if users feel like they need to be able to focus on the event they are at and ignore the outside world or not.
  • Learn if users feel that outside distractions stress them out.
Third hypothesis and accompanying questions.

Synthesising interview responses

Afterwards I realised that I had taken great notes during the interviews which I was thankful for after having six interviews around 40 minutes each to potentially sort through. I tried out a transcription tool called Trint but felt like it was more time consuming to listen through all of the audio and edit the transcriptions rather than just read through my notes and try to find patterns. In some cases I reviewed the interview recordings to make sure I hadn’t missed something where my notes where sparse or to reconfirm some quotes that I had written down.

1: Our users need more time to do all the things they think will be fun.

There was no absolute consensus around wether they had too little time and I would say that this hypothesis was neither confirmed nor rejected.

2. Users need help prioritising events and social activities.

Everyone has different ways of prioritising, it depends on the person and the situation. Half of my interviewees don’t have typical 9–5 jobs which makes time management a different type of task compared to others and also makes the amount of free-time, and what they can do with it, vary from person to person.

3. Users want to feel free from outside distractions while they are at social activities.

This became an interesting topic because while many said that they didn’t necessarily feel distracted while they were out and didn’t receive or care about push notifications, if they did use their phone while out, they frowned upon it, and they looked down on those who did constantly use their phones. They also had a lot to say on the matter.

So, hypothesis 3 looks promising!

From the different responses that formed a pattern we can draw an insight, which can then be used to decide on a principle — a rule that we must adhere to or avoid. At that point we need to decide how confident we are and what the next steps to take would be.

Principle 1 and next steps
Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Why bother waiting to find out how people feel about being forced offline when I already had the contact info for a majority of my survey respondents?

I sent out a follow-up survey with 3 questions which suggested the following scenario…

The intro to the follow-up survey
  1. How would you feel if you went to an event or social activity and once you met everyone who you planned to see there, you went completely offline for the duration of the event? (Scale of 1: I would love that, to 5: I would hate that)
  2. Would you also like it if your friends who you were at the event or gathering with you also went offline for the duration of the event? (Scale of 1: I would love that, to 5: I would hate that)
  3. What types of features would you want to have in order for you to feel comfortable using this or to make it more enjoyable? (With 10 feature suggestions as well as a free-text other option.)
Results of the follow-up survey

Is it paradoxical to develop an app or phone feature that ultimately, at least during a limited period of time, means that you have access to zero apps?

27 people helped out with this follow-up survey. Almost all respondents, 90%, said that they would love to go completely offline while they were out at an event or social activity, and 78% responded that they would love for their friends to join them. 70% said that they would like it if they had a way to respond to someone who tried to contact them several times in a short period of time and this was the most popular suggested feature. Some respondents said they would be interested in letting the organiser of the event send them into offline mode without them even doing anything. As for how steadfast they wished to remain to their offline goal during the night, 30% said they would want the app, or whatever it is, to be easy to turn off, only 11% said that they wanted it to be impossible to turn off before the event was over.

So, Ben Andersson, here’s an idea for a behaviour changing app that delivers control, by giving you limited or no control over your phone, so that you and your friends can enjoy yourselves while you are out.

Is that disruptive enough for you?

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

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Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith

Digital analyst studying UX-design. Lover of tie-dye, disco balls and karaoke. Key West born, Stockholm based.