Timebox (UX Case Study)

[Project Background] During a week-long design sprint, use a lean UX process of rapid prototyping and ideation to address a key and common problem for a fellow General Assembly classmate. Then, apply visual design to create a functioning, high-fidelity prototype.

[App Background] Timebox is an application designed to capture and organise a list of small tasks (things needing less than 30 minutes to accomplish), then motivate people to complete them.

The Research

We've all done it; procrastinate. It's a problem some struggle to overcome. It seems the busier you are, and the more impactful the consequences, the more likely you are to face the challenge. Among other things, this is what Andrea and I concluded from our chat. Andrea's Italian: he runs a success online business helping people start, design, and maintain Wordpress websites, and at the moment he couldn't be stretched any further. 

I have a lot to do. I run my own business, manage a small staff remotely, investment in other businesses, and am in the process of starting another company. These small tasks snowball into things I can’t manage... but the thing is, once I do them, I feel great.
— Andrea, Web Marketer

He sips his coffee, and takes a drag from his cigarette:

One thing I absolutely hate is shopping for groceries. For me, it’s the most pointless thing I do in my day. I look and look through each aisle for what I need. It’s stupid. So, a few months ago I decided to time myself. I made it a game... I told myself, if I can get everything I need under five minutes then I win. It didn’t give myself a prize or anything, but knowing I was running against the clock made it a little more fun.
— Andrea, Web Marketer

This is what sparked our initial idea. Let's take something boring, something trivial, mundane, and brainless, and let's make it manageable. I spoke with Andrea about other small tasks, how he organises his day and his methods of staying pro-active. His answer: "I don't. I have a HUGE problem with procrastinating."


The Hypothesis

Let's take the idea of gamification, and apply it to tasks. It's great to get in-and-out of the supermarket, but wouldn't it better to get those emails responded too? What we set out to build applied the same idea to proactively complete tasks that'll have a positive impact.

We came together to decide start sketching steps. What exactly do we know, and what do we need to uncover? We ended up creating four essential user-flows:

  1. We need to create a new task
  2. We need to select a task to complete
  3. We need to sort tasks
  4. We need to 'retry' / 'manually skip' tasks 

The Prototype

We ran through multiple iterations of our design, adjusting everything from our navigation to the idea of introducing splash pages. The challenge with Timebox was visualising time. Using a variety of methods (ranging from paper prototypes, to PoP and Marvel), we agreed on a final design.


Visual Design

We aimed to keep the design light. Keeping in mind what our app's designed for (motivating people to complete small tasks), the last thing our visual design should do is get in the way. The colour pallet's fairly simple and chosen to subconsciously motivate and stimulate:

  • Blue is said to motivate.
  • Purple is said to calm.
  • Orange is said to promote creativity.

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