Flying tomato: an interaction design project

Interaction design | Product design | Digital design | UI | UX
Flying tomato productivity app

THE PROJECT

The brief was to develop a prototype of a product that supports the administrative workflow of people who work remotely.

Built on the latest research on focus and procrastination, and bridging a gap in the market for a product that allows task management, project tracking and invoicing while incorporating an effective time management method, the product was designed to address needs and frustrations of the target audience in their daily work.

I developed the prototype in Adobe Xd.

THE PRODUCT

The product was a mobile app, which had four main objectives:

  1. Improve personal organisation and combat procrastination through a user-friendly project and task planning system, with the ability to break down potentially overwhelming tasks into manageable chunks.
  2. Improve productivity by ecouraging active breaks, through a selection of simple exercises at the end of each Pomodoro session.
  3. Support accurate reporting and billing by tracking hours by project and task, thourgh manual entries supported by an automated Memory function.
  4. Save admin time and improving billing accuracy through automatic reporting and invoicing (customizable reporting and invoicing, by project or clent, using the time tracking data).

THE METHODOLOGY

As my development framework, I used goal-directed design (GDD), which is a form of user centered design (UCD) and involves six phases: research, modeling, requirements definition, framework definition, refinement and development support.

Research

For my user research I conducted a user survey and interviews to find out about the remote workers’ typical tasks and typical frustrations.

I approached domain research through identifying five market leading apps that were inspiring in different ways and together covered task management, Pomodoro timing, planning, timetracking and wellbeing. I then deconstructed each UI, flow and visual aestethic.

Modeling

I built two personas. One (Ella, 39) was a freelancing consultant working from home, and the other (Russel, 45) a hybrid worker ever since the pandemic. Each persona was built on the data from the user research and had their basic tasks, needs and frustrations mapped out.

Requirements definition:

The modeling phase aided the definition of the overall product concept, whose high level descriptions were then translated into design elements, organised into design sketches and behaviour descriptions.

After some manual sketching, I created a flowchart diagram to describe the user journey, showing decisions that the user has to make, like “do I just start the timer with the current task, or do I go to a screen that helps me plan my day first?” This flow then helped form the basis for subsequent development of wireframes.

Refinement

As the interaction framework took shape, options for the user interface (UI) had started to emerge and now was the time to refine these with an increasing level of detail. A system of type styles and sizes, icons and other visual elements was developed, forming a form and behaviour blueprint.

The product was to come across as a friendly, easy to use enabler of productivity, organisation and freedom from stress. The brand values were: reliable, accurate, calm, reassuring, fresh and modern.

Development support

The first release of a product is only one phase in the product cycle. The development support phase is ongoing and refers not only to fixing bugs and errors but also to developing future releases. The prototype that resulted from my research and development work was only the embryo of what it could become if taken to the next level.

CONCLUSION

The tool that I developed was created to address issues and respond to needs of self-employed people, especially solo workers. It is also suitable for people who are part of an organisation but work away from their emloyee’s premises.

I included this overview of the project in my portfolio to show my understanding of interaction design.

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