what: UX concept of wearable technology
duration: 3 months
team: Heikki Leppänen, Achmad Maulana M. Hakim, & Arganka Yahya
roles: literature review, usability testing, ux research, video production tools: pen, paper, & scissors; iMovie
links: presentation, video

HowRYou Bracelet is a wearable device that helps people to share their feelings. In addition, we created a software that enables people to see their and other’s feelings. It uses a simplified self-report paradigm to measure the feelings. We found positive feedbacks from user evaluation with six participants, alongside a presentation session in Tampere University of Technology.

Overview

It is a basic human needs to communicate, share, and to be understood of their feelings. While social media can facilitate those needs, it lacks a feature to simply share our feeling. Text, picture, and video can introduce ambiguity and interpreted in different ways.

We found that people get the feeling of calmness when talking to families, friends and relatives. However, there are geographical and technological constraints when communicating with our relatives. Most services that run on a computer limiting the ways in which people use the communication services.

We proposed HowRYou Bracelet, a wearable device and software that helps people to share their feelings to others. The bracelet allows people to share their feelings by simply pushing ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ button. We used a simplified self-report measure using subjective experience as a response system to measure their feelings. We also designed a desktop application to view and analyze the feeling of their relatives.

Inspiration

Our inspiration ranges from calm-experience questionnaire, wearable technology, and self report measurement.

Questionnaire of Calm-Experience

Previously, we ran a set of questionnaire and found that technologies can facilitate people to stay or to be calm by enabling them to communicate with friends, families, and relatives. They also mentioned that people need to feel the presence of their beloved ones and see that they are doing well. We want to extend the conclusion further to the form of paper prototype and application mockup.

Wearable

There are several consumer wearable products, especially bracelet, that exist on market: Nike+ Fuelband, Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Basis, and Larklife. They are used as a body monitoring device, some of them even have specific market such as sports. Researcher are also explored wearable bracelet to automatically convey emotion. However, they are mostly using complex displays and instruments; also targeted at a specific scenario and user group.

Self-Report Measurement

Self-report is one option to measures emotion. It is attractive, since gives user a privilege to share their feelings. While Mauss suggested to use it in dimensional measure of emotion, we proposed to do self-report by simply choose between 2 buttons: happy or sad. They also stated that it is “likely to be more valid to the extent that they relate to currently experienced emotions”, which is in line with our design consideration.

Design Process of HowRYou

We began with brainstorming, sketching, paper prototyping, building a software mockup, and creating a video to explain the usage scenarios.

Brainstorming

After the result of Questionnaires of Calm-Experience was evaluated, one of the conclusion is that the ability of today’s technology to help people stay in touch with others creates a feeling of relaxation. We were thinking that it would be helpful to have solution that could remind people to stay in touch with others.

We came up with idea of a device that would allow people to tell their social circle about what they are feeling at certain time. With limited but appropriate amount of information about someone’s feelings or situations could stimulate other people to contact the person. The idea should also have simple interface which could encourage people to share what they are feeling at certain time. Besides a device to share someone’s feeling, a software was chosen as a tool to allow people to see the condition of their friends or relatives. We also came up with the name ‘HowRYou Bracelet’ for our prototype name in this brainstorming session.

Initial sketch of the prototype

Figure 1. Initial sketch of the prototype

We decided to use the form of bracelet for the tool to share someone’s feelings as it is easily reached and does not hinder people to do other activities. In the beginning we designed the tool to have three options to represent what people is feeling at certain time: sad, so-so, and happy option. However, we thought the interface of the bracelet could be simplified further by only having sad and happy option. We also added a small light which could give notification to user either to update their feelings or any other notification.

The idea was also to include other supporting equipment to know more about a person’s condition. Heart rate meter which could help to determine level of anxiousness. Blood pressure meter would also give hints about level of stress or even health condition. Accelerometers to detect shock which might be caused by a dangerous event. All the data from the bracelet will be sent to a server and can be accessed by people of our choice

Prototype Design

Bracelet

The brainstorming session resulted in sketch design of the bracelet. From there, we designed the second iteration of the bracelet design, a tidier version of the bracelet (Figure 2) to make idea feels more concrete.

Higher fidelity picture to illustrate the prototype

Figure 2. Higher fidelity picture to illustrate the prototype

After we had the second iteration design, we decided to build the prototype as a paper prototype. Paper prototype was chosen as we focused on the user experience of the bracelet instead of the technical side of it. Other supporting equipment of the bracelet: heart rate meter, blood pressure monitor, and accelerometer, do not require a physical form. Thus, the paper prototype of the bracelet does not have any visual picture of them. The final result of the paper prototype can be seen in figure 3.

HowRYou paper prototype used on human wrist

Figure 3. HowRYou paper prototype used on human wrist

Application Prototype

The second part of the prototype is a software where people can see information about themselves and conditions of people in their social circle. For every person who has account in the system, they should be able to see:

  • Their latest mood
  • Their latest heart beat per minute
  • Their latest blood pressure
  • Their historical data of their mood (up to 7 days back)
  • Their historical data of their blood pressure
  • List of people in their social circle

Besides user’s own data, they should also be able to see above data of people in their social circle. The initial mockup interface design of the application can be seen in figure 4.

A prototype software was designed and developed according to the design of the bracelet. The program was built on Unity 3D platform using C# programming language.

The prototype consists of three screens: bracelet view, data view and summary view. With the prototype program it was possible to try out the original concept in practice. In early versions of the program the data from the bracelet was virtualized in data view and transferred to summary view.

It was soon apparent that this was not needed to illustrate the functions of the bracelet and so a different model was adopted. In the new version the data in the summary view was saved in picture format making it simple to simulate the transfer of data between views. The data that is illustrated can be changed with a click of a button in summary view. The click simply changes the picture being illustrated, but for the viewer it seems like the data has changed.

Dashboard layout of HowRYou client service

Figure 4. Dashboard layout of HowRYou client service

Usage Scenario

We made a video to explain how the prototype would work. After discussions, we decided that the video should have mini stories in it. This is to help the audience of the video to understand more about the use of the prototype in different situation. Each of the story will represent three main functions of the prototype: expressing positive situation, expressing negative situation, and ability to check condition of others.

The first story is about a person who is breaking up with his partner. In such negative situation, the guy decided to share what he was feeling by pressing the Sad button. The second story is about a person who found out that he received a good grade. He would like to share the happiness that he was feeling by pressing the Happy button. The last story represent the function of the ability to know other’s condition. It is about a person who received notification on his bracelet and then opens the prototype application to see who is in need of attention in his social circle. After knowing who needs attention, the person makes a call. The final result of the video recording session is available in Vimeo.

Evaluation

We conducted user evaluation to evaluate the idea. It consisted of interviewing participants with semi-structured question; wearing and using the prototype; and asking another semi-structured questions to conclude the interview.

Six participants were invited in the user evaluation. As our target group was early majority technology adopter, we chose participant based on their age which is between 20-30 years old. Furthermore, the user experience evaluation was conducted in various real environment between 19th - 22nd of November 2014.

The user evaluation was started with interviewing the participant with questions regarding what they think about sharing feelings. This session took around 5 to 10 minutes. After the opening interview, we asked the participants to wear our paper prototype bracelet and use our prototype software. We explained the way the prototype works so the participant can focus on the user experience of the prototype. After around 10 minutes of trying out the prototype, we interviewed the participant with similar semi-structured questions to see if our idea could change their opinion regarding sharing feelings.

HowRYou’s idea and evaluation resut were presented in User Experience: Design and Evaluation course at Tampere University of Technology on 2nd of December 2014. The video from the video recording session was also presented in the presentation to give a better understanding about the prototype to the audience. From this presentation we received comments and feedback regarding our prototype

Results

Before introducing the prototype bracelet

Participants thought that sharing their feelings and emotion helps them to feel calmer and better. Being able to know their loved ones condition also help them have calm feeling. Participants want only to share negative feelings only to the closest ones. Participants thought that having a simpler social service than existing social services is a good idea. One participant thought that sharing personal joys and grievances was something that should be done in face to face conversation. Another participant thought that such things are easier to share in the phone.

Sharing personal information makes the participants feel good, because they feel understood and cared for. One participant wanted to share feelings only with someone close to them. Hearing about others’ feelings made the participants feel important and trustworthy. The current social media does not include a good way to sharing feelings. Participants didn’t feel comfortable sharing feelings with the social circles in the Internet. Participants felt that using a service for sharing feelings would only be viable if “everyone else” would be doing the same.

What participants thought about the prototype

The application part of the prototype which could help them to know their loved ones’ condition help them to feel calm. Data about emotion is really personal, so it should be taken with caution. The simple interface of the bracelet (only happy and sad buttons) is good for people who are busy or is not an expressive person. However, the simple interface might not sufficient for expressive persons. Information about health (heart rate and blood pressure) are really useful. Participants expressed that if the product were available, they might also gave the bracelet to their loved ones.

Participants agreed that the simple emotion information could encourage people to make contact with each other. One participant thought that the device needed more options than the two buttons in order to express stronger feelings. Using the bracelet felt like a good way to share feelings and moods. One participant thought that using a phone application would be more handier but would include less information. Being a part of a community using the bracelet would be interesting to the participants. Pressing a button on the bracelet would feel easier to participants to share their feelings than calling people.