I thought it might be worthwhile to go over the interactions that I’ve designed for the app and explain why they are what they are.
So there are 4 main levels to my app, the connections screen, the individual connection screen, your personal screen and settings. From conducting the experience prototype I identified the interaction that ensues as the most important aspect, the meat, of the application. This is the reason the first screen you see when opening the app has the connections on it. This is the screen that hosts the circles, thus shaped as a throw back to emoticons, that each represent a connection you have made. The maximum number of connections you can have has been limited to four to try and enforce the idea of having only meaningful and intimate connections. This screen is also the one that will change if one of your connections thinks of you. There will be a subtle pattern in the background that will be abstract but formed of the sort of lined curves that are used in the app to represent how you are doing. This background will be barely noticeable at first but will be coloured if someone thinks of you. This will be a stark and prominent change in the feel of the app and the only indication you will get of someone thinking of you, you will not know who of your contacts it was. This decision was made on the basis of it being an app that connects you to the most important people in your life and thus it won’t really even matter who out of those people thought of you. This is also a counter measure for silliness that might ensue from speculating “why person x didn’t think of me” etc. This also ties in to another idea I had during the ideation phase that I had to discard due to technical difficulties.
As the main screen of the app I have identified the “zoomed in” state of actually viewing one of your connection’s specific details. So to represent this when selecting a person by tapping on their respective circle that circle expands covering other elements. This aims to represent the action of concentrating, or zooming in, on that particular person. It is in this state that you can then see how they are actually doing, how they’ve been in the past few days, and think of them. I wanted to have these interactions happening at this stage instead at the other level as this enforces the idea of having this one-to-one moment with the person. It’s about giving that person your full focus for that fleeting moment. There will not be access to the persons full archive of entries but rather just maybe the ones from the past 7 days of the past 7 entries. This is a response to one of the concerns raised by the experience prototype that in their quite abstract format it will be hard to remember why a certain mood was added after a longer time period. A solution suggested by the participant was to add written tags to some of them but on further examination I have concluded that as the apps function is not to collect data or allow for reflection it is better to allow for a more carpe diem style approach. This means that instead of holding on to the worries of the past the app concentrates on supporting the people now, in the current moment. The apps main functionality is to be able to see how your loved ones are doing and through that understand better if they might need your support or not.
One way to reach out to the connected people is by “thinking” of them. This is similar to Facebook’s Poke functionality and is aimed to say “you are not alone”. To “think” of a person there is a button with the same pattern as on the main screen that you can tap and drag to apply to that person’s circle. When you let go the pattern will go from the thought of state to normal state by fading from noticeable and coloured to subtle. This is to mimic sending it off to that person and is the same interaction that they will see on their main screen but in reverse. I am also entertaining the thought of adding a slight sound effect to this, but this still remains to be tested. To get back to the screen with all the other connections you need to tap some where out side of the main circle (that is not the patterned circle obviously).
The connections are also given visual importance by having the two other main screens, the settings and your personal screen, sliding from underneath it. These are in a way parallel, so they slide from the left and right but not as important as the connections screen which remains visually as the “top” layer. The personal screen will have the canvas to draw on if a mood hasn’t been entered that day. After drawing it goes to a screen with a similar circle as for others, mimicking what your connections will see. Here you will also be able to flick through some of the recent entries but as like for the ones from your connections these too will be limited to the immediate history. The entries are about how you are doing on a bit more general level than just in that moment so the number of entries has been limited to one per day, hopefully thus getting people to reflect on their state of mind on a daily level.