Research has shown that phone use during social gatherings lowers the quality of social interaction and conversation. Koality Time is a mobile application that seeks to reduce phone usage during social interactions. Users are incentivized with points earned during phone-less that can be redeemed in other social situations.
The team was interested in exploring factors that affect the ways that people communicate, but we were especially interested in looking at methods of intervention. We researched into different topics to see which areas had potential. Some of the ideas we explored were: reward-based incentive systems, combatting conversation narcissism, and negative feedback systems.
At the end, we decided on creating a mobile application that rewards people for staying off their phones during social contexts.
PROOF OF CONCEPT
To explore the effectiveness of our idea, we conducted a series of studies. We observed the behavior of people within friend groups and presented them with a scenario similar to concept. Subjects were told to stay off their phones during the duration of the hangout. If they were successfully able to do so, then they would be rewarded with some incentive of their choice. In this case, participants were offered a free bubble tea drink if they successfully completed the hangout. Out of the our 6 participants, 4 were successful. The two that did not complete the challenge forgot about the challenge and checked their phones out of habit.
After solidifying our concept, we started to storyboard and diagram features of the application. We looked at apps with similar goals like "Pocket Points" as references to how the user experience was designed.
We asked 5 participants to talk through their thought process and reactions while going through paper prototypes doing the following: Creating Hangouts, Joining Hangouts, Spending Points, Redeeming Coupons. Some of the feedback received: Generally easy to use and understand, awkward interaction with wallet and stores, confusion on how to get to wallet.
After receiving validation and feedback on our paper prototypes, we moved on to setting the feel and style of application. Once the mockups were done, we proceeded to do another round of user testing and got some additional feedback and suggestions.
The interactions for the application were built using Principle, a prototyping tool that allows for in context testing (on the phone) with animated transitions.