January 2020 – April 2020

Collaborators: Allison Nakazawa and Jared Williams

Start page of Friend Bot app prototype

This project was split into 5 phases. In the first, we identified a problem space of emotional understanding. The second phase was spent researching this space and learning more about the problem at hand. In a survey, we administered to 35 individuals aged 12 to 59, 40% reported having some difficulty with understanding their emotions. Furthermore, other studies have found that up to 10% of the population may fall on the alexithymia scale where they are unable to identify and understand their emotions (Young, 2018; Samur et al., 2013). This showed us that there was a gap in this area that we aimed to fill.

After performing our initial research and looking into the current emotional aids currently available like e-journals and tele-psychology. We identified 10 possible solutions that we could move forward with. We also came up with 13 user requirements that we believed our solution should meet. This allowed us to narrow down to three possible solutions: an AI chatbot, an Alexa Skill, and a smart ring.

Decision Matrix with ten solutions and 13 requirements

With these three solutions, we conducted further market research and created low-fidelity mock-ups and story boards to further flesh out our solutions. We then presented these three solutions to our peers and received feedback. This feedback helped us narrow our solution to the AI chatbot app.

We looked again at our project objectives and perfected our list of usability requirements. We then became familiar with Adobe XD and created a prototype of our app. After creating a walk-through video of how the app would function, we conducted eight usability tests where we asked for feedback and monitored the performance of the prototype when in use. Moving forward, we would like to review the results of these tests and improve upon our prototype.

This was a very engaging and fruitful project that introduced me to the realm of UI/UX, useful tools like Hierarchical Task Analysis, high and low fidelity mock-ups, important design factors to consider like the GESTALT principles of design and Norman’s Fundamental Principles, and new software like Adobe XD. I was able to work with a cross-functional team: Jared is a fifth year Industrial Engineering major and Allison is a second year computer science major.

Video walk-through of our initial Friend Bot prototype built in Adobe XD

Sources:

Samur, D., Tops, M., Schlinkert, C., Quirin, M., Cuijpers, P., & Koole, S. L. (2013). Four decades of research on alexithymia: moving toward clinical applications. Frontiers in psychology, 4, 861-861. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00861

Young, E. (2018, May 30). One in Ten People Struggle to Recognize Their Emotions. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/435a5p/one-in-ten-people-struggle-to-recognize-their-emotions

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