As a college student, I experienced how Covid-19 shifted my study habits when working alone at home. Based on 32 user surveys and 3 interviews, I found that other students also struggled to focus when working at home. This sparked the question: why is it so difficult to focus at home?
The major pain points for students studying remotely are lack of motivation, feeling lonely and anxious, and getting distracted by working at home. Low focus and productivity leads to vicious cycle. I aimed to design a solution to help students focus better.
I needed to understand what factors played into a lack of focus and productivity when working alone at home. My research process consisted of a two-part method; (1) quantitative deck research and (2) qualitative user interviews with college students (age 20- 26).
During the pandemic, education drastically shifted from offline to online. With limited access to offline study spaces, students had to study at home.
While working at home is cozy and flexible, users complained about the distractions they get from the flexibility.
Based on user interviews, users said it is hard to motivate oneself when working alone, as there is no enforcement to keep oneself focused.
Based on user interviews, users were already trying to combat these hurdles with several tools, including online platforms.
The main persona was designed based on the following insights learned from the deck research:
Study Mate maximizes users' productivity by connecting students in digital study rooms. Digital study rooms provide a work environment, which lies between the flexibility of remote work and accountability that comes from studying at public spaces. This aims to create a community where users motivate each other by working remotely together.
For high legibility and friendliness, geometric font Poppins is used for the product. Furthermore, purple is associated with ambition, independence, and creativity. To convey a sense of the combined value of independent studying, but collaborating by working together, purple is chosen as the main color.
Study groups are categorized by study goals and searched through filters. The details page highlights study goal, meeting schedules, and study etiquette.
Users can manage study groups under the study group tab. Users can also create their own private meetings.
Pomodoro study timer is required before the study session begins to schedule focus and break time.
StudyMate provides a face filter to protect users' privacy. This filter also help users focus on their work, instead of getting distracted by their appearance.
The chat feature is only activated during the break. This help users form a community while staying away from distractions.
The main page highlights users' deadlines and daily todos. Users' ranking aims to keep users motivated through competition.
Users' productivity is highlighted under profile tab. Users can plan, manage, and edit their monthly goals and upcoming deadlines.
To validate our idea and design, I tested the design with 23 potential users. Most of them liked the idea and showed interest to use the app in their daily life.
“This concept well reflects the needs and habits of Gen Z audience pleasingly!”
As privacy issues are concerned, I would like to add a feature that allows user hide or block certain user's screens.
Design a web version of the project. To accommodate users from diverse digital devices, designing a web version will allow more users to join the study group.
Design on-boarding process to help user find study groups that matches with their goals in a short period of time.