User Centered Design

Staying connected, motivated, and productive


There is a simple fact that people’s life, working and study habits have drastically changed since the start of COVID-19 in 2020. While we do save a lot of time from commuting, but staying isolated at home, lacking physical interaction with peers, constant procrastination, and social media distractions throughout the day hinder our productivity and motivation.

Therefore, I took the initiative and designed this product "DailyUp" under this circumstances. My involvements in this project include conducting semi-structured interviews, designing low-fidelity interfaces, prototyping the interaction in InVisionStudio, and testing user flows.

In the end, my project was featured as "the Best Interface Design in Visual" among 25 students.

Time Frame: July 2020 to Aug. 2020 (10 Weeks)
Role: UI/UX Designer, Usability Researcher
Involvement: Mobile Interface Design, Usability Testing, Micro-interaction
Mentor: Henry Truong

. Overview


In order to address this problem, I designed a mobile app that helps users manage time with priorities and maintains a healthy life style while avoiding distractions from social media.


. Discovery

Here is the story:

Have you ever wonder into this scenario: Taking a 5-minute break but actually running into an hour scrolling through short videos on TikTok but feeling guilty about time passed afterwards. Or another situation might be like: Cramming all assignments and works on due dates because there is no incentives to finish them early, resulting in exhaustions and risks of missing a deadline. Does above sound like you? I know, same here :(

Diving through...

I went out and interviewed with 6 young adults around my age, including 5 college student and 1 working professional who just freshed out of college, to further validate my initial hypothesis and to investigate their pain points. The semi-structured interview uncovers a fact that Not only do people’s study and working habits hugely changed, but their productivity and efficiency also decreased due to increased screen time at home.



Users easily get distracted by phone notifications


Users find themselves more procrastinated staying at home


Users tries to maintain a good physical or mental health but find difficult to do so


Users feel unmotivated on work or study due to lack of competition from peers or coworkers



I don’t feel I am motivated working at home for the entire day because I cannot feel the sense of competition working with my coworkers at company. I really wish to do some exercises but I never feel I have time...


I really want to get rid of social media, but when something pops up on my phone, I just could not help myself clicking that notifications. I often feel guilty about my time wasted on those apps.


Before diving into the design process, I did around of competitive analysis to learn the current time management tools: what they are doing well or not well, and what features that they are lacking.

Summarizing from this around of competitor analysis, I learned that those products all help users manage their time and stay focus, but they are lacking of the social engagement. So this is what I try to improve for my later design stage.

Google Calendar

Google calendar allows users to create tasks on a specific date, categorize tasks, and develop a habit or goal. Users also could set reminders based on tasks they created. However, the app just simply remind users to complete a task instead of motivates them to develop a habit or a goal.


TickTick is a little bit more advanced than Google Calendar. It has the same features of Google calendar with an additional feature of ranking priorities of tasks. Again, users could be unmotivated if they just create tasks and have no motivations or incentives to complete them.


Trello allows users to ranks priority of tasks based on users’ preferences. It is good for team task management but not for personal motivation.

Focus Keeper

Focus Keepers keeps tracks of users’ statistics, but only for three days if users do not upgrade to pro account. Users will not get any panelization if quitting the app. It is nice for timing but could be better if there is a reward system.


Good reward system on keeping track of users’ time of focusing on tasks. However, there is limited activities (tasks) that users could log into the app and visualize them in a calendar format.

How Might We

help young adults who study or working at home to be more motivated and productive while maintaining a good lifestyle?

. Ideation

Based on the research as well as the proposed design challenge, here are the goals I am helping users to achieve:

  • Managing and prioritizing tasks more effectively;
  • Staying focused and avoiding distractions from social media;
  • Staying motivated and maintaining a good lifestyle.


I sketched out my vision for the app, including the micro-interactions that allow users to efficiently manage their time while progressively achieving their goals.

. Testing &

In this stage, I did two rounds of testings to make sure my mid-fidelity designs make sense before moving into high-fidelity prototypes.


I tried multiple variations of our primary features to explore possibilities before jumping into high-fidelity designs. I mainly experimented with interaction patterns and user interfaces that work best for users with ease.

Design A got majority of votes! According to users, who are all left-handed, floating action button is more accessible and reachable placing at the lower right corner of the screen.

I tend to think about fulfilling the entire page with specific information details. However, it turns out that users prefer the second design with a better visual information hierarchy: The task title and the description of the task are tight together and the date is highlighted on the top right corner. In addition, Design B allows users to add multiple or no pictures by preferences instead of forcing users to add at least one picture by default from my initial design.

In order to help users avoid clicking a wrong choice, I designed an additional interaction of “Select” and “Next” (shown in Design B) so that users would have time to think about selecting a correct choice while staying on the same page. However, it turned out that users could finish this task more efficiently with Design A than Design B because users reflected that they could click “<” on top left to go back the last page if clicking wrong.


After settling down with design variations, I decided to do another round of usability testing to see if overall flow would make sense. Therefore, this round was testing about users' feeling and experience of completing a testing task. See "BEFORE" and "AFTER" for the design revision.


Final Designs

Onboarding: Guide Me Through

A warm, benefit-oriented onboarding process that friendly guides first-time users with main features, benefits using this app, and ways to get there.

Homepage: Let's see some hardworking people!

Shows the number of completed, uncompleted tasks, as well as friends’ accomplishments.

Calendar: My task manager

Manage tasks effectively with priorities!
Add a task with descriptions
Develop goals
Share accomplishments with friends

Focus Keeper: Avoid distractions, let’s study!

Keep focus and get points! Users could select a task to focus today. With time counting up, users would receive points based on the number of minutes focused.

Leaderboard: See who is the winner!

The leaderboard displays the points regarding the number of minutes users focus on a task. The points are calculated on a daily / weekly / and all-time basis.

Use Statistics: Do I have room to make improvements?

This page summarizes users’ overall accomplishments and other statistics, including time staying focused, social media usage, tasks, and habits completion.


. Reflection

This was my first end-to-end independent UX project! It was definitely a great experience for me to comprehensively practice my research and interaction design skills! Through the process, I not only had opportunities to practice my user research and testing skills, but also to level up my UI design skills by learning varied mobile design guidelines as well as trending mobile UI patterns.

I was initially over-ambitious about my app was going to be: Adding many cool gamification features and fancy UI animations. First-time users can learn to use the app and tend to make decisions by themselves. What if we make decisions for them and smooth their learning curves? The concept of MVP taught me that we only need a product with just enough features to address the users' needs.

By the way, don't forget to click here to play with my interactive prototype! :D

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