4th Year Honours Project Blog (ROLL-E Design Process)
Updated: Jan 5
Days one and two consisted of outlining the course ahead, discussing initial ideas and setting up the studio space for the year.
On day one during discussion I put forward two initial ideas that I had. One was to design a light based intervention that would assist those with stress and anxiety, on discussion it was highlighted that this was an area that was already heavily looked into and to produce something that no one had produced would be a difficult task. The second of those ideas was to produce an intervention to assist elderly patients by creating an engaging and inclusive design that would keep their mind active. Or to design something for their families, that would help them understand the care systems in place for their relatives.
On day two I came up with another possible idea. Considering injury prevention in athletes through stretching techniques. The idea would be to create an application that assists athletes and reminds them to stretch and guides them through targeted stretching or something along these lines.
This week I began more focussed research into my main ideas and organising my weeks workload. I created a weekly time table on a whiteboard that will help me divide up my time effectively and most importantly could be reused to avoid paper wastage. This will be created at the beginning of each week. It also gives me somewhere to have hand-in dates constantly on show so that I am constantly aware of the deadlines Im working to.
On the first day I started to look at how stretching can reduce athletes chances of picking up injuries and also into how stretching has other benefits that could possibly be used to help market the final product to a wider audience. For example research found that those who stretched were less likely to trip and fall than those who didn't. This was only quick glance research to help me find my bearings for the next day.
On Tuesday I started to mind map my initial ideas, from this mind map I created a pros and cons list to help me narrow down to two ideas, as I felt this would result in more effective research being carried out. I chose the two topics by process of elimination the one with the most compelling arguments against and the least promise was deleted. This turned out to be the idea surrounding light therapy, as it has been done so frequently the market for its design has become smaller. This left me with designing for the care of elderly patients and Injury Prevention through stretching. Once I had cut out the light therapy idea, I began to create a mind map for Injury Prevention. This detailed how I would gather information, people who could help me, issues that I wanted to look into solving, potential applications and the initial research I had found that backed up my point. It also contained ideas for testing and started me thinking about a possible survey of friends, both in sport and out.
While creating the injury prevention mind map, I discovered that stretching can aid other demographics, which would be a good kicking off point for further research and would perhaps change the target audience.
Next week I will start research into the care of elderly patients area. Using the same techniques and seeing where the research could potentially lead, as currently I have 3 sub topics in this area of research.
This week I looked into care of the elderly, looking at the issues that were present in the current environment and how I could apply any designs to the area. I created a mind map for this area, making sure to mention brief areas of knowledge in it, such as the Dementia Villages that exist and an interactive projector.
Once I had completed this mind map I started to look into what was already out there in terms of design for dementia patients. Looking more closely at the two examples I had briefly mentioned in the mind map.
Starting with the projector, I discovered it was called the Tovertafel. The Tovertafel uses infrared technology to create interactive shapes and colours on a surface, it usually comes with 8 games that help to keep immobile dementia patients minds occupied.
I then looked into the dementia village, initially I had just thought that they existed in the Netherlands, but with further research I discovered that there was one in England. The purpose of the dementia village was to give the patients a feeling of normality and independence. The village in England is used to surround patients with an era that many of them remember well and that brings them comfort. At this point in time the village is filled with artefacts and designed to mimic the 1950s, the owner however plans to age the village with the new residents so that it is always useable.
Towards the end of the week I released an anonymous survey asking people about their stretching habits. This was used to discover whether this was a valid area to pursue or not. The findings of the survey so far suggest that there is a gap in the market for preventative stretching exercises. It also proved to me that my initial suspicions about people not knowing what to stretch and how they often forget to stretch were correct and that an application in this area would be beneficial to the people I surveyed.
I also began work on my project identification presentation. Which is to be presented on Monday. Next week I plan to research what exists currently in the area of injury prevention.
I began this week by continuing with my research into what was already available in the market for stretching apps. I found that although there are many similar apps out there, there are many customer issues with them and many of them were lacking in qualities that I was considering for the product.
This week I also presented my project identification, from this I started mapping how I will be moving forward in the next few weeks. Considering who to speak to and how to further my user research. I decided to find out what perfect practice would be, by asking my relatives who work as physiotherapists a few questions about good stretching practice, I also want to discover what is actually practiced possibly by speaking with the Uni Dance team and by Speaking with two basketball teams that I am involved with.
I started to sift through the survey answers I received during the last week or so, the results of which showed me that there would be a market for the kind of project that I was considering creating. Next week I plan to take a final look at the answers and represent the data in a useful way for my sketchbook work.
Week 5 began with the briefing for our next hand in on the 4th November, we then had a workshop on prototyping. I then spent the afternoon sifting through the data from the survey in more detail, organising the written answers into smaller containers. To cut down on screen time I decided to work more on my sketchbook, printing images of the products Id already found. I also compiled all the data from the survey and put it into a visual format for my sketchbook, where I also commented on each questions results.
The next step was to create a user persona, this will help me with the design of the project. It will help me consider what functionality the product needs, how accessible it needs to be and how the user will likely need to experience the product. To do this I used the survey answers to create two personas, which will help me decide more finally who I want to design for.
I created an active persona who stretched minimally and a persona who was drastically less active, who didn't stretch often at all, using the data from my survey to form them.
I then started to think about perfect and realistic stretching practice and began considering questions that I could ask the professionals I have contacts with. I also started to consider interviewing some basketball players and potentially send out a questionnaire to those who dance to discover how they stretch.
This week was spent mainly focusing on my dissertation hand in. However I also did some practical research. For this I spent 1hr at my desk, when a timer on my phone went off, I got up, walked around and then stretched for 20 mins. This not only broke up my studying, but as my initial research found, I felt more refreshed and ready to continue working on my dissertation. Personally I found that the alarm or alert I set was helpful in reminding me to move and stretch. I have also noticed a difference in my flex-ability.
This week I have also used some of my spare time to try some new stretching techniques. This was aided by the girls at the Basketball club during our post training cool down sessions. I have discovered that among individuals there is argument about how long to hold a stretch for, with a few arguing for 10 seconds, others going with 15 seconds. Neither in my opinion is long enough, but it was interesting to see what people were going with. Those arguing for 10 seconds tended to be less likely to stretch and dislike stretching, seeing it as an inconvenience more than anything.
Next week I intend to document these findings and also put out my questionnaire to the physiotherapists I have contact with. I will also be considering interviewing selected athletes to discover more in-depth their routines when it comes to stretching.
This week I documented my practical research in my textbook, pulling my findings together in a mind map. This practical research and field research helped me understand techniques better, it also helped me understand the different issues better.
From here I looked at Perfect and Realistic practices, asking two physiotherapists a few questions, to determine what Perfect practice would be in their opinion. I then began to construct a second questionnaire to be put out to Basketball and Dance. This will be a more targeted questionnaire, to try and discover what the different stretching techniques are among different people. I started by bullet pointing what I wanted to find out from them, this helped me to construct questions to discover these things. Compared to my initial questionnaire which was much broader, this will focus more on stretching techniques and knowledge. I intend to release this anonymous questionnaire to multiple sports clubs in the hope of getting a more varied response that will be useful in the creating of a prototype.
On Monday I photographed Dundee University Women's Basketball team doing their cool down stretches after training. They stretch in a group, usually counting together how long they hold the stretch, there is always an argument over how long they should hold the stretch for and there is also usually a pause at points where they try to decide what stretch to do. Which is usually followed by some people being unable to do the stretch as they aren't flexible enough, yet they are also unsure how to simplify it so they can do it. These photos will go into my sketchbook as a reference. I also hope to do the same at dance.
On Tuesday I released the questionnaire for frequently active people. Sending to contacts I have across sports and sharing it with those who are active. Already I have received 76 responses, this will help me to form an idea of what realistic stretching practices consist of. Compared to the perfect practices recommended by the physiotherapists.
I also started to look at prototyping. Thinking about accessibility for those who are visually impaired or are dyslexic, considering the kinds of icons I will need and starting some initial sketching for wireframes.
I began this week by preparing for my prototype presentation on Tuesday morning. This required me to think about what my research was telling me so far and to consider design for the product. I sketched out some wireframes that will more than likely change as the design process continues. I wanted to look at making the product as accessible as possible, considering the use of sound and thinking about which typefaces are most accessible.
This week I also visualised the data gathered from last weeks survey, which was sent out to sports clubs and those who are highly active. The results were very interesting, giving important insight into what was realistic in terms of stretching techniques and a few new thinking points were introduced. With one respondent bringing up foam rolling and another stating that physios spend more time treating patients for injuries gained from warming up poorly and not stretching efficiently. Below are some of the visuals of the results from the survey.
I then began to research more into foam rolling, to see if it would help spark further ideas. This research showed me that, foam rolling is essentially a self administered deep tissue massage, which when used alongside proper stretching routines can benefit people even further. I looked into the different types of foam roller available and into why they are so good to have and use.
Using feedback from Tuesday mornings presentation, I looked at creating a problem persona, based on a couple of the girls from the basketball club and their opinions when it comes to stretching. This problem persona creates a goal to work towards, if the design solution can convince them to stretch then it can convince anyone.
On Monday I started to think about ways to distract users from counting how long they're holding their stretches for. I considered different types of distraction, ruling out physical distractions as they may impair the stretch being held by the individual. I want to think about more creative and out of the box ways to time stretches without the user being able to see the timer or focus on the timing.
Tuesday began with transferring my first Physio feedback into my sketchbook, this was to help discover what perfect practice would be from a professional point of view. This was followed up by thinking about making my boards for gurus day more visual. I removed a lot of text keeping any left to a minimum. I also considered what I could use as sketch prototypes to go alongside my boards for the day. Which I decided on using my sketchbook and perhaps creating a task for the gurus to do to help with my research into distracting from counting stretch hold.
On Thursday I finished off the boards for Gurus day and mounted them on A3 boards. The more visual boards suited more to the gurus day environment as it involves less reading but still gets the point across.
On Monday I started to look into different ways of counting, that avoided actually counting in your head or aloud. I thought about hiding the timer in a box and created a low fidelity prototype for this. I also created a foam roller shaped prototype, this will be used at gurus day to gauge how many people actually know what it is and wether it is worth investigating incorporating its use into the design of the final product.
Monday also consisted of preparing for the Gurus day on the 19th. Setting up my boards and placing my sketchbook and prototypes on the desk alongside it.
Guru's Day Tuesday 19th November 10am-5pm
After speaking to 5 Guru's about my project, I gained a few good thinking points to move forwards in the design process. The Gurus were particularly helpful when it came to discussing user testing techniques, an area that this project will rely on to make it successful.
It was also suggested that I look into behavioural research and investigate the nudge theory as this would help with getting people to actually use the final product. As getting people to remember and to actually stretch properly is an important aspect of the project. It was also suggested that I make the project physically interactive, as there are plenty of apps out there currently, this would make the project stand out better in the market. Making it more physically interactive may open an opportunity to really focus on the mechanics of the stretch and it could introduce an incentive of sorts as it could contain a device that irritates the user or rewards them into adapting a good stretching routine.
After writing up the feedback gained on Guru's day I looked into user behaviours. Doing this will allow me to better consider how to reach people and influence them to adapt better stretching techniques. I then designed a basic intervention, it would involve texting an active person ( E.g a Basketball player) and a less active person (E.g. someone that isn't in a sports environment) at different points in a day over a few days. When they receive the text, they send a photo of where they were and what stretch is any they did and how long they stretched for. By using the two types of person in this investigation, it will help me narrow down wether the final product will be a specialised sports product or a product for anyone.
I started to design in more detail my basic intervention. I also contacted a couple of friends willing to participate in the intervention, with more detail and instructions to follow once I had designed the basic intervention. I read Design Thinking by ArtBizTech to find other interesting approaches to user research. From this I found Affinity Diagrams and Empathy Mapping as approaches that may be useful to my research. I also received my first piece of feedback from the intervention, from Scott who was sat at his desk working, therefore he was unable to stretch at that time.
After taking time to focus on my dissertation, I had a look back at some responses I got from the participants in my intervention. Reviewing the photos that they sent and the responses that they gave at the time. I then printed these and put them in my Sketchbook along with some notes on the activities and the environment that the participants were in at the time.
The environments that people were in differed greatly, with Kyra and Jordan for example both at work in very different environments. Those at home were either relaxing or busy getting ready for work, or carrying out nightly chores. Very few of them stretched or even intended to stretch. I then wrote down some insights based on these results.
After having feedback from the first semester or work, I began identifying the next steps in my design process.
(Off sick for remainder of the week)
I began this week by identifying the next steps from the feedback I received last week. Narrowing it down to 6 simple and clear bullet points:
- Explore further the use of a foam roller.
- Consider specific users and their environments.
- Incentives to stretch.
- Design Language and Tone of Voice.
- Research Tech
- Sketch Something!
On Monday I started conducting further desk research into foam rolling, particularly how to use a foam roller, stretching techniques and using a foam roller within an existing stretching routine. With the intention of doing some practical research later in the day with my own foam roller, documenting this with images and videos.
In the evening before basketball training I took the advice given by REI on their website (https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/foam-roller-exercises.html) Foam rolling before exercise to try and loosen off my muscles and also foam rolling after to see if that affected my recovery the next day. I also took photos of the booklet that came with my foam roller showing exercises. I already use my foam roller in part of my stretching routine, however I was interested in seeing if there were other ways to use it in stretching routines. This led my research plan for Tuesday, researching ways to use a foam roller as part of a stretch.
Whist looking into using a foam roller, I looked at how you would normally stretch the area that you are foam rolling. I put these different techniques along side one another, visualising the foam rolling beside the stretches for each area to see if a foam roller could be incorporated into a stretching routine in this way.
I also started thinking about why a foam roller is designed the way that it is. Looking in particular at the textured ones to understand why they work the way they do. This included investigating what a knot in your muscle actually looks like and what specific ridges on the foam roller do.
(Image of foam roller: https://www.skulptz.com/Hybrid-Orange-Foam-Roller)
This week I started collating all the research I had found on foam rollers in my sketch book. I also then began to consider usability of the foam roller. Looking back at my research I realised that the instruction booklet that came with my foam roller wasn't particularly engaging in my opinion, therefore I began to think about those who have never used a foam roller before. I began to consider creating a probe of some kind, in which I could discover how uninformed users would use a foam roller.
On Tuesday I further developed this idea by creating a participants sheet which I would hand out to those who took part in the probe. I would initially hand them a foam roller and ask them to go ahead and use it how they think one should be used, I would then document this with photographs. Once they have carried out the physical aspect of the challenge, I would ask them to fill out the participants sheet. On this sheet I would ask them a few questions, to discover why they have used the foam roller in the way that they did, wether they had any knowledge of foam rolling previously, what would aid them best in using a foam roller in future. I then designed a draft of this sheet.
My next task will be to find a group of participants that have never used or have very little knowledge of a foam roller, to interact with the probe. I will also need to secure participant consent forms.
After speaking with my supervisor (Paul) on Thursday, we discussed the potential for creating a branding concept that encourages people to use foam rollers as part of their stretching routine. We also discussed current research I have and planning next steps. We identified these next steps as:
Buying Foam rollers to use in testing
Deciding on content
Developing aesthetic aimed at the target audience
Considering mocking up experiences
We agreed to meet again in 2 weeks time, by which time I should have purchased the generic foam rollers, carried out my testing with foam roller novices, come up with 2 or 3 branding options and planning content. It was also suggested that I make a more detailed work plan using Excel to organise my timelines more efficiently.
On Monday I spent the morning planning, I created a more detailed work plan as far as I could. I decided to do this two ways:
By creating a week by week plan and a Ghant Chart plan to follow, I will add to these once more has been clarified.
I then moved on to putting final details together for my cultural probe. I printed off 10 copies of the questions and consent forms to begin with and gathered 10 participants to take part over the week. All of the participants have either never used or heard of a foam roller before, or have attempted and failed to use one before. I intend to run this investigation on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I am still waiting on the foam roller for the investigations being delivered, however will just use my own until this arrives.
On Tuesday I carried out my investigation with 10 participants. It was interesting to see how novices thought a foam roller was used, with almost all of the participants attempting to use the foam roller on their lower back. I still have 2 more participants to take part in the investigation over the week. The feedback has so far confirmed that without instruction people are very unsure of how or where to use a foam roller, it has also been interesting to observe how far they roll the foam roller, with very few of them lingering at knots in their muscles.
Above are images I have collected so far in the investigation from the 10 participants, showing some of the intriguing ways that complete novices have attempted to use the foam roller.
I spent Wednesday organising the images from Tuesday and having a read through of the responses to the questions asked. I plan to have the remaining participants having completed the investigation by Monday so I can move forward with planning content for my product.
On Monday I pooled together my responses from the participants in my probe. Organising the photos into my sketchbook, I then made note of my observations, thinking about what participants commonly knew or attempted with the foam roller. I noted that most of the participants used the foam roller on their back, with a few attempting to use it without their body weight involved on certain areas by pushing down with their hands. I was also common that they attempted to use the foam roller on their arms and that they all assumed you had to be constantly rolling the foam roller to gain any benefit from it. The main thing I observed was that not a single participant thought about their breathing while using the foam roller, with a couple almost holding their breath.
Reading through feedback given in the questions, most understood the very basic concept of foam rolling. Many stated that instruction such as videos or voice overs with detailed instruction in areas such as when to use, how to target certain muscles and guidance while using the foam roller would be beneficial to them.
Using this feedback, I began to consider content that would go in an app or experience relating to foam rolling.
I also began to consider branding, looking for inspiration in logo and app designs, in general and from the world of sport. Taking images of things I liked and app layouts that I thought looked clean and useable. I started thinking about colour schemes and what I would want from them, for example readability and clarity.
On Tuesday I conducted my investigation with my last 2 participants. I added their feedback to my sketchbook and read through all the feedback I had received. This helped me consider what content would be required in the product I produced. Once I had considered content, I took a brief look at 3 different environments:
I then commented on the space available in these areas and also thought about the kind of users that may be present in each environment. This allowed me to rule out a sports hall environment, leaving me with they Gym and Home. It then occurred to me that most peoples first point of contact with a foam roller would be in the gym environment, their experience here may influence their decision to purchase and continue to use a foam roller. I therefore have begun to consider creating a hub that would be present in the gym by foam rollers (Which would all be branded to bring them all together) which would guide people in using a foam roller properly and effectively in conjunction with their stretching routine. The user would also be prompted by the hub to download the app to their phone after their first use so they can use it in the comfort of their own home. To do this I will need to create a brand, Design an app that is transferable between a tablet and a phone and potentially build a stand for the tablet in the gym.
I then started to think about my branding options in more depth. Returning to the inspiration I collated on Monday, I created 3 colour scheme and typeface branding potentials, taking inspiration from 3 of the examples I found. My plan is to have a four colour scheme and use shades of each colour to reduce complicating designs and making things unreadable. My next steps will be to decide on a colour scheme and creating a fitting logo. I will then think about wireframing in preparation for my Mark 1 prototype hand in.
After speaking with Paul on Thursday, we discussed creating a working title for the project, creating a screen of content for M1 prototype presentation on Tuesday and branding the project. We discussed the potential concept that I have come up with and also discussed the feedback from my investigation. Paul encouraged me to think about it as:
What They Said------>The Issue----->The Response
To take four responses and think about it in this way to back up the project. After this I brainstormed some working titles (All terrible) and began sketching out potential content screens for Tuesdays hand in.
On Monday I digitised my sketches from Thursday. Creating a basic working prototype of a section of the apps content using InVision, I also created a working logo to go along with the working title. I measured the dimensions of the panel on the foam roller and printed the logo designed onto the panel using tape for now in preparation for tomorrows hand in.
I have the prototype downloaded on my phone and will also present the branded foam roller. I intend to bring the sketches of the set up also.
After my presentation, I thought in more detail about the content that will be required in my app. I created a content map which detailed some of the aspects of the app. I also went to pure gym and looked at the menu they used for their massage chairs as part of my research into creating a pictorial menu rather than just having a list of muscle groups that people may not know.
On Wednesday I met with Paul, we discussed the content mapping I had done on Tuesday after my mark 1 presentation, making the visuals interesting and fun, Creating an animatic for the little stick man and scripting the instructions for using the foam roller.
On Monday I continued my research into pictorial menus and looked at how I could transfer the design into a working app design. I began by looking at menu designs for apps that mainly used iconography to guide users. I then looked at human muscular anatomy, this is however too complex to look at and may be found disturbing by users. I therefore opted to look at using an outline more than an accurate image. I also examined the photos I got from my visit to Pure Gym's Massage Chairs to see if there was any content useful to my design intentions.
I then went on to sketch out some menu concepts for the app. In a few there was focus on highlighting the section selected by the user, by using a coloured highlight. I also looked a an example where labelling would be used, however this as a design could end up looking too busy and remove the ease of use from the app. Therefore it could be more beneficial to use the highlighting approach to the design, how this then leads into the instructional aspect is the next step in the design of the menu. Having either a bubble or a pop up box for this may work and I sketched this out in a couple of the concepts. Currently I am leaning towards concept 4 as a design for the menu. My next steps are to script the instructions for each section of using the foam roller and storyboarding the animation for the icon displaying this.
Week 23 & 24
Due to the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 epidemic, the University sadly had to close at the beginning of week 23, unfortunately this meant that this week was a week of transition and so no work was completed this week, however I did set up teams and gather together my thing so I can finish the project from home. This also meant that deadlines have been pushed back a week.
At the beginning of week 24, we had a teams video meeting where we discussed how the course would continue from now.
I therefore needed to set up a studio space in the house:
On Tuesday I began working at home, I continued on from my goals at the end of week 22. Starting by scripting the instructions for each section of the rolling exercises, to do this I set 4 key points that would form the guidelines for the instructions. These were:
Easy to follow
I decided to stick to 3 key instructions per section, cutting through unnecessary parts that may cause confusion and over complicate things. After this I began sketching some storyboards for the animation that accompanies the instructions. Using a simple stick figure as to not over complicate things. I still need to annotate this storyboard with short descriptions of each box.
Wednesday and Thursday consisted of sketching out wireframes of all the screens I would need for the app. Paying particular attention to aspects of the menu, such as how the selection would appear.
After I had sketched out the screens, leaving 2 empty to return to incase I had left out any interaction, I questioned myself about the design choices I had made in the sketches. As if I couldn't justify having made them then they served no purpose in the app design.
My next steps are to finalise the colour scheme and typefaces that will be used in the app and the start to digitally design the icons and the menu. This will include working on the branding for the product. I also would like to roughly storyboard the interaction with the product, due to environmental constraints it may be an idea to refine this storyboard and present it alongside the app. I will also be working towards the Mark 2 prototype presentation in this time, which is now due on the 7th of April.
Due to the Gyms being shut, I have decided to storyboard the initial interaction and subsequent interactions with the product, this may perhaps be refined further into the design process.
On Monday I had a supervisor meeting with Paul via teams. We discussed the sketchbook work that I had completed last week and spoke about moving onto screen work.
Using the animatics I sketched out the other week, I started to animate my instructions, starting with the ones for Calves. Using Adobe Illustrator to create the stick figure components, which I then transferred into Adobe Aftereffects. I created the foam roller in aftereffects and keeping it simple for users, decided to only animate the foam roller so as not to distract from the form or how far to roll up muscle sections.
I then sent this clip into the Interaction Design group chat, where I asked for their opinion.
Working on this feedback I made some changes to the stick figure to refine the way that it looked.
After I made these changes and created the stick figure for the next step of instructions I animated the remainder of the instructions for this muscle group.
As I am unable to test this in an environment where I could observe potential users interacting with the video, I had to resort to sending the video into some messenger groups. I sent the video in without any instructions and asked simply for the users to tell me what they thought they were to do using the video only. I then asked them if there was anything the liked or disliked about the video. For one of the groups I needed to explain further what the video was as I wasn't clear enough for their limited foam rolling knowledge.
While I waited for feedback on the video, I started to digitally design the menu screen for the app. Using my tablet I drew the outline of a human figure, this will have areas that highlight when hovered over and will become a solid colour when clicked. I also drew a foam roller in the menu, this will take users to a page of information about the foam roller itself. I also finished building the icons for the rest of the animations. In some cases I have had to create a leg separately for the foam roller to appear as though it will be rolled under the leg. For the abductors animation I think I may need to design the foam roller element in illustrator also, as due to the angle it is at it cannot be simply represented by a circle.
I printed images of both the icons and the menu for my sketchbook.
Over the next few days I plan to work on one interaction with the menu for my Mark 2 prototype presentation and animate more of the icons to show on Tuesday.
I started on the interactive aspect of the menu page on Saturday, initially looking at how sectioning up the menu model would work to help highlight the muscle groups.
Although a very basic investigation, it was clear to me that sectioning out the areas only half worked. It seemed to work for the legs, however the upper back looked really out of place. I then tried to section out the model with thinner lines to see if that made a difference to they way it looked.
Again even with the thinner lines, I felt that the upper back section looked out of place. My next idea was to investigate touch indicators, so for example having small circles on each area to indicate a muscle group.
The idea would be that when the user tapped a circle, a small box would pop up, this would name the muscle group and have an interaction that led to the instructional page. I also considered colouring the foam roller in a similar way to the dots to indicate that it was also a link, however I was unsure if this would make my app appear to not be used easily.
I critiqued each menu look in my sketchbook, pointing out why I liked or disliked each. This helped me reach the final decision to use the dot style.
I then created the screens detailing the journey from the menu to the instructional page and one of the features on an instructional page. Which I added to the menu design page in my sketchbook. I will most likely present this set of screens on Tuesday, therefore my next step will be to prototype this section.
I also looked at the branding, I have decided to stick with the working title and logo as it is growing on me. As for the colour scheme of the app, I would like it to stick to the logo's colour scheme. This also matches as it fits with the physical foam roller also. Typeface wise I have currently chosen Acumin Variable Concept in its Condensed Light and Extra Condensed Medium weights.
On Monday I put together a short presentation for Tuesdays Mark 2 Prototype presentation. Using images from my sketchbook and screenshots of the menu screen. I also included the icons for the animation and the Calves animation I had put together. I also managed to simply prototype the new menu screens and have a working navigation through them.
The interactive prototype for this stage can be found here:
My plan for Tuesday after my presentation at 11.30am, is to storyboard out the user journey, I hope to film this in a plain space in the house further down the line. I will also be focusing on refining and finishing the other animation videos as well as designing the rest of my screens for the finished prototype.
The main piece of feedback I received from Tuesday was that the menu needed something more to add context. I therefore plan to add a little slide out menu that will have links to pages for explaining why foam rolling is good for recovery and how it works.
On Friday I planned for the week ahead as I was taking a few days off over Easter. I also did this to reintroduce some structure to my days, as I have been finding it difficult to motivate myself at points. I also wrote up the hand in requirements as I didn't have that anywhere that was immediately visible for me.
I haven't managed to sketch out a user experience storyboard this week, however I hope to have some time next week. I am also planning to use a break from the screen tomorrow to document the pages of my sketchbook as I plan to have a virtual version of it available online. This will prove useful for the Personal Folio section of the final hand in on the 14th of May.
On Monday, I finished animating the videos for the app. I need to render them to complete them, however I have held back from this for now incase I want to refine them further or change timings in them. For a couple of the icons I needed to go back and re save them as transparent images as I needed the roller to appear to be underneath the leg of the stick person.
As I have finished these I plan to use the time I scheduled for animating tomorrow to sketch out the user experience. This will also be beneficial as I have done a lot of screen work today. However by the end of this week I am aiming to have my app almost fully prototyped so I can start user testing early week 28. Therefore for most of the week I will need to work on finishing the screens and adding a menu screen with a slide out menu into the app.
One thing that I discovered last week while prototyping is that the current software I was using didn't support videos. I then asked for some advice from my peers and had XD and Axure suggested as alternatives. I will need to factor in time to work out how to use these softwares efficiently to meet my app requirements.
I have spent most of today working on the app screens. I started off by going back to my sketchbook. I drew out the wireframes again with all the requirements I needed for the app. This was due to the addition of a pop out menu for the menu screen, I decided to put 4 options in the menu. Why Foam Roll? (This section will contain information about foam rolling and why its good for muscle recovery), Know Your Roller (Information about the foam roller itself, what each bump and ridge is for, Settings (Which will feature Language, volume and the option to turn off voice instructions) and Need Help? (This will guide users in how to navigate the app) I therefore needed to sketch out how these will look. I also wanted to make the app as realistic as possible, therefore I added screens detailing each instruction for all of the instructions.
I then took the sketches and transferred these into digital format using Adobe Illustrator.
For the pages that describe how to use the foam roller, I have decided to take photos of the roller, I have made this decision as I felt that a photo of the actual foam roller would be easier for users to relate to and therefore would help with the physical link between the branded roller and the application. Tomorrow I plan to finish the app screens, with my next step being to sketch out the user experience. I have still to investigate each new prototyping software, however I am concerned as a quick Google of them brought up no instructions on how to add video to the prototype. With video being a large part of the app I am going to need to work out a solution to this as soon as possible.
I have been struggling with sketching out the user experience, which is probably why I have been avoiding it so far. This is because I cant decide wether or not to include the issues that covid19 have brought and create an app that is only used at home. Rather than have the first point of contact being in a gym. I plan to discuss this with my peers and see what advice they may have.
With the screens almost finished I need to decide what prototyping software to use to build the app. I have already gathered a group of user testers to assist with the testing phase. The screens for the menu and instruction pages are finished. For these sections I just need to render the animations that go with them. For the drop down menu screens I need to take 3 photos of the branded foam roller, a photo of someone using a foam roller and an image of how a foam roller works.
As for sketching the user experience I have decided to sketch one for my initial idea of the user experience pre Covid19 and one for an effected version for Covid19 times. I intend to finally do this on Monday.
After completing the instruction screens, I focused mainly on the help pages and the settings page.
I wanted the settings to be very simple and easy to follow, I sent this to some of my user testing group, who gave me feedback on the style. It was important to me to make sure that the Language Codes were correct and as we were unsure about the Spanish language one, one of my friends found a website for me to check this:
I wanted to keep the settings as simple as possible, for ease of use and so that there weren't any complex changes that could be made.
On Monday I need to take the photos required to complete the menu screens and allow me to move on to the prototyping and testing stage of the process. For this I will need to tidy up the logo on the foam roller, I had intended to make the logo a sticker to place on the foam roller however due to restrictions caused by Covid19, this may be harder to do. For now however I plan to tidy up the logo I have now by removing the masking tape and sticking the logo onto the roller in a less obvious way. I will however look into getting the logo printed as a sticker.
I will also finally sketch out the user scenarios this week and begin to refine them as part of my hand in.
After further research I have realised that I may need to wizard of Oz the videos working as part of the app for the final hand in. My current thinking is that I may use Adobe XD to prototype the app.
On Monday I set up a photography suite in my room, using two boards to set up a backdrop. I relied on the natural lighting in my bedroom for the images. I then took photos of the foam roller that would be used in the 'Why Foam Roll?" Section of the app.
To tidy up the logo on the foam roller, I first took off the masking tape that stuck it to the roller. I then cut the damaged sections of the logo off and stuck fresh tape to the back of the paper, which I then stuck back on to the roller for the photos.
My next step was to edit these photos in photoshop, removing the lines where the boards joined together and brightening the images so that the sections were clearer.
I then added these to the app screens;
I then took photos of myself using the foam roller, I decided to focus only on the legs being placed on a roller rather than have a full body photo as I felt that it would look less staged or like a stock image. This proved challenging due to a certain dog wanting in on the photos:
However once we managed to distract him we managed to get the photo that we needed which I then edited, taking out the dog toys and other background objects that may distract from the image. Then placed it into the app.
With the app screens now finished I exported them ready to prototype in Adobe XD:
In my sketchbook I made a list of the different interactions that the app would have, this helped to remind me what I needed to prototype in and made sure that I didn't forget anything that I needed to include. I also planned my user interactions storyboards to start sketching them tomorrow.
I finally got round to sketching out the user scenarios, sketching two, one for a pre covid19 scenario and another that shows the user scenario in a Covid19 setting.
I then moved onto prototyping the app using Adobe XD. I also still need to record the voice guide for the videos and render them. I will be spending the rest of the week finishing this.
Once I had imported my Illustrator app screens into XD, it came to my attention that for some reason the typeface hadn't carried over. I unfortunately could find no quick fix for this and I needed to re download the font into font book and then change every individual piece of text in XD to the correct type face. I also noted that my images of the stick figures had become pixelated, therefore I needed to delete and re place the images in XD.
This was time consuming, however the actual prototyping process itself in XD was very smooth and quick to do. My next issue was thanks to a silly mistake, I should have triple checked my sizings in illustrator, as when I went to preview the app using the XD mobile app I realised the screens were far too small.
I therefore had to go back and edit this to solve the problem. After I fixed this there was only one issue left, which was the fact that the typeface wouldn't display on the phone app, again replacing it with the wrong text and making everything jump around and move out of place. However I may have found a solve for this in the Adobe Fonts site, as there is a version on Acumin Variable on Adobe Fonts. On further investigation this turned out to be exactly the same font and so will hopefully fix this last issue with the app screens. Below the Quads screen is in the original font and Glutes is using the Adobe Fonts version
After resizing and fixing the type faces on the app, the preview on the mobile screen finally started to look right. On Monday I will prototype this all again, which shouldn't take too long as I am now comfortable with using XD.
I aim to have the prototype ready to have its final round of user testing by Tuesday. I will then move on to recording the voice over and begin work on the video for my hand in. I will also be writing my critical reflection and preparing for the hand in on the 4th of May. I will start thinking more in-depth about my one great image and begin work on my project booklet. I need to design and sketch the banners for the gym scenarios also to round out the project.
This week is the last week to work on the final product itself, as after this week I will be working solely towards the massive hand in on the 14th of May.
Monday was spent fine tuning the app and prototyping. I managed to work out how to get a swipe action on my app screens also, which helped give a more rounded experience. Before I send it to my user testers, I will give it a quick run through myself.
Adobe XD actually has a user testing function in the app, I don't think users need an adobe account to view. Another perk is that it can be password protected, keeping your work safe.
I plan to share this with my user testers in a facebook chat, where they can work through the app, I can explain parts such as the video section not being prototyped and I can collate all their responses to the app.
Once I have their feedback I will work on any edits that are required, I will then focus on recording the voiceover for the animations as this is vital to the video hand in and I will need time to work out how to Wizard of Oz the experience for the video. My first step towards this will be a storyboard for the video. I also plan to sketch out some one great image ideas as part of my planning for this. In the meantime I will be able to work on the rest of the deliverables, I have a few more pages to photograph in my sketchbook now also, which I will need to catch up on as it is part of the folio hand in. As previously stated, I plan to have this as a virtual PDF that can be viewed and used as part of my Viva and as my Personal Folio.
While waiting for the feedback from the User Testers, I have typed up my Critical reflection and my 300 words. I also completed some sketchbook work, brainstorming for my one great image, which I plan to take the photos for on Thursday, sketching out banner ideas and creating a couple of digital versions, scripting the recordings which will be recorded on Friday and creating the storyboard for the one minute video which I plan to film tomorrow while taking the great image photos.
As my user feedback came in, I documented each response in my sketchbook:
I made bug fixes to the app, taking out unnecessary interactions, such as the double tap to enter a muscle section. Following on from Carys and Christies advice I worked to make it more obvious that the closer look instructions were there. I did this by introducing a prompt at the top of each instructions set. I also edited the spacing of the text a little and coloured the foam roller on the menu to match the branding, I then linked this to the know your roller page also. Finding that this improved the look of the app menu screen and also prompted users to tap the foam roller for more information.
As suggested by Carys and seen above, I also changed the banner along the top of the app. Taking away the black and swapping the text colour of the logo to help make the purple colours pop more. The black banner also looked unfinished and clunky taking away from the sleekness of the app.
I mocked up this version and sent it to the user testers again with the previous version alongside it. I asked them to simply like the image of the one that they preferred best, with my intention being to use the most preferred style. The results being 9 for white banner and 1 for black, I then changed the app to the white look:
Personally I felt this looked more finished and sleek, adding the the user experience. This design choice was influenced by the users preferences too, which meant that it created the right user experience for them. On conclusion on this final stage of user testing I started to work towards putting my final deliverables together. Taking photos and videos for my great images and 1 minute video. I recorded a walkthrough of the full app, thanks to XD's cloud sharing function, I didn't need to screen record a walk through for the one minute video as I can just film Scott going through the app on his phone in real time.
Instructional Animations with Voice Overs
One Great Image
Following on from my great image brainstorm, I took photos from the 4 ideas, adapting some of them to help create new ideas as I went. I used my partners phone as his screen was in better nick than mine and so would look better in the photos. The main problem I had was the phone screen being too bright to show the app screen clearly enough, to solve this we played with the brightness on the screen and worked with angles to get it right.
Another way we tried to fix this issue was by taking closer images, this helped with the quality of the screen in the photos too. After taking a selection of photos I sifted through them to find the better images. I landed on these four:
I then needed to decide which image to make my one great image. Wanting one that showcased the screen and product the best. Initially I took to the top and bottom left for these reasons, as I felt the other two, although showed the screen didn't give the image enough context. The choice then became more difficult, choosing between having a user in the image and the screen in a more artistic context. I was struggling with this and so asked for some opinions from my classmates to help me to decide.
After seeking the opinions of my class mates I decided to use the photo showing a user in his home looking at the app. This image best represented the app in the context of its environment and use.
One Great Image
One Minute Video Storyboard
One Minute Video
Stretching is a vital part of injury prevention. Many people go to physiotherapists with avoidable injuries caused by poor stretching techniques. Physios felt that these cases were taking time away from patients who really needed them. Roll-E was designed to help ease this problem. My research showed that many active adults were unaware of Foam rolling and the benefits that it has. Some owned a Foam Roller yet had no idea how to properly use one. They were also unsure what different muscle groups were called, only knowing them as areas they experienced discomfort in. Roll-E is a mobile app that educates new and existing foam roller users in reducing the risk of picking up muscular injuries.
The product needed to guide and educate its users through proper foam rolling
routines and techniques. Designed primarily for those who are frequently active, mainly adults and teenagers, Roll-E was designed to be useful to anyone who required it, whether they were complete novices or experienced users. Using interactions that are simple and easy to follow, whilst still being informative.
Roll-E guides users through foam rolling each muscle area, using step by step
instructions. Roll-E also gives guidance when it comes to breathing technique and helping users get to know their foam roller. The app uses a figure-based menu to aid users in navigating the app, without requiring them to know specific names of muscles, focusing more on the location of the muscles. The app allows for all different learning styles, giving the option to read instructions, watch a clip with or without audio. Roll-E is the perfect guide to getting the most out of stretching routines, by using a foam roller.
From the start of this year I wanted to create something helpful to people, this was important to me. I looked into mental health, dementia care and sports injuries. Eventually landing on sports injuries through a process of elimination. Looking at issues such as accessibility and potential.
I initially wanted to design a product that would use stretching techniques to help injury avoidance, however after extensive research I realised that there was already a large market for apps that simply guided users through stretching, I wanted to create something that wasn’t already widely available. As part of my research I had briefly looked at foam rolling, I decided to pursue this route further. Discovering that alongside stretching, foam rolling can decrease athletes’ chances of picking up and injury as well has aiding their flexibility.
Looking at my own experiences with foam rolling I could see myself the benefits that it brought, noting a decrease in my injury occurrence since I had begun using it. However, an issue that I had found was knowing where and how I should use the foam roller. I conducted some field research into how those who had never seen or had very little contact with a foam roller would use it, this showed me that without any guidance or information people really struggled with using a foam roller. With a few pointing out that they didn’t actually even know the names of the muscle groups they were having discomfort in. This led me to design a menu that was based on imagery rather than a list of muscle groups some people don’t know the name of. I decided to create an app that guided users through using the roller on different muscle groups, breathing while using the roller and that helped them actually understand their roller and the benefits of using one.
This project has encouraged me to use multiple different research methods. Using desk research to understand the importance of stretching routines and how to properly use a foam roller and benefit from it. Questionnaires gave me an idea of the information people already knew and helped me to decide what content was important to include in a stretching app, they also provided little bits of information that I couldn’t find on the net. I also used field research and simple interventions to understand users better, going to the basketball trainings and observing the way that the ladies stretched was interesting as it showed how motivation levels effected the stretch times. Sending out messages to a small group of subjects helped me to understand environmental restrictions that an alert to stretch would be affected by. Overall this range of research methods have helped me to produce a rounded project concept that is very much user based.
Thinking of my users, I was very lucky to have access to them freely in my initial stages of design. Due to Covid19 my testing stages were made more complex as was setting up a digital studio environment.
Due to Covid19, I had to set up a studio at home, squeezing into a much smaller space and lacking the studio environment was definitely a challenge. The smaller space meant that I had to decide between sketchbook work and screen work each day, as I didn’t have enough desk space for both. Some days I needed to set up a sketchbook station on my bed and screen station on my desk when I couldn’t avoid needing to access to both at the same time. I also missed out on the speedy feedback that you can get in a studio environment, showing others the work in progress that I had was difficult over messenger. However, one of my friends at Northumbria University had created a LinkedIn group for design students to create an online studio environment, which I joined, and this helped slightly with the missing studio feel.
Coivd19 closing all universities and putting the country into lockdown has made it increasingly difficult to test a user centred app. It also took away access to the initial contact environment I had planned as gyms shut. I needed to adapt the way that I tested my product, firstly by grouping user testers using messenger. In a pre-Covid19 world I would have grouped my user testers in a room, let them use the app prototype and have shown them the instructional videos, I would have then discussed the app and the videos with them, collecting their feedback on sheets. I would then have implemented the changes they suggested. I would have also liked to have conducted a final environmental observation, giving users the app and a foam roller and using it to guide them, to see the full project in context. Sadly, this couldn’t happen due to Covid19 and so basic testing for functionality and understanding was all that I could do.
However, I needed to adapt to these new issues and so I would send aspects of the project out to my user testers via messenger, asking for their feedback. This worked well, however feedback times varied massively and so by the time that people had replied I had already implemented changes and moved on. Thankfully when it came to the final user testing stage of my app, Adobe XD had functions that made it really easy to send a working prototype to my group of user testers. For example, the link that I spoke about recently in my blog posts. Sending sections of design for user testing over messenger is far from ideal, as normally I would be there to explain certain functions and discuss the applications faults or hazy points with them in person. However, I feel that despite this difficulty I managed to overcome the issue presented by Covid19 and user testing my product as I managed to get the app tested, working and get constructive feedback from users.
When it came to the initial contact environment being closed, I needed to rethink the user scenario that I had initially envisioned. When sketching out my user scenarios I decided to create two. One showing how the product would have interacted in a pre-Covid environment and one effected by Covid19. The second of which will form the basis for the 1-minute video. Luckily, having created an app, it was easier for me to adapt this to a new home-based environment. I can still show and explain the first scenario as part of the viva as it shows how Covid19 effected the way that my product needed to work. Having an app that can work in a home environment anyway helped massively with changing the environment it was used in.
This year can certainly not be described as straight forward in any sense. However, it has taught me how to adapt in an extreme circumstance and has brought new learning curves that can only benefit my design career in the long run. Having the blog posts has been incredibly helpful in keeping me on track and keeping things organised even in periods of massive change. I feel that although Covid19 has affected my design process massively I have still managed to adapt and change in ways that have still allowed me to complete my project to the best of standards.