A1: Paper Prototype Breather App

Assignment A1 is a paper prototype for a phone/smartwatch app. My app is called “Breather.”

The Design

A1 sketch 1
This image (as well as the next image) are preliminary sketches for the Breather app. Click the image to enlarge.

A1 sketch 2

 

Breather is an app concept that reminds you to take breathing/meditation breaks throughout your day in order to reduce stress.

For this app, I was inspired by some animations I’ve seen of expanding/contracting shapes that are meant to reduce stress. They’re all over the internet, and are particularly helpful for those who have panic attacks. One such example of these animations can be seen in the video below:

For my app prototype, I concentrated on two main interactions: setting up a “breathing schedule,” and starting an impromptu breathing session. While I would expect a fully developed app to have more features, for the purposes of this prototype I focused on these two. The image below shows my initial sketches and brainstorming process, as well as what I imagined the user interaction flow would be like.

The breathing schedule is as it sounds: users would schedule reminders (kind of like the alarms that already exist your phone) at certain points in time on certain days for quick breathing sessions. This way, a user would be able to build a schedule of breaks. The scheduling is done on the phone, but the notifications and breathing animations appear on the watch.

Impromptu breathing sessions can be used at any time, even if a break hasn’t been scheduled. A user would simply use their phone or watch to start a break, and follow the animation.

For both features, the user can choose how long the break lasts.

The Prototype

A1 Prototype
These are all the components of the paper prototype, both the phone and watch portions. Click the photo to enlarge.

The prototype was constructed using cut paper, pens and a blue highlighter. For the phone screen, I used a screen the size of an iPhone 6. For the watch, I decided to use a circular watch face, slightly bigger than a normal smart watch for readability.

I created multiple “screens” that I could stack on top of each other, so that someone testing the prototype could pretend that they are using the app and that the screens would change according to their actions. In addition to this, I cut out a few small pieces of paper to cover certain parts of the screen that had changed, such as the days of the week bar, or the length of the break.

Analysis after testing

The test participant had mostly positive feedback regarding the prototype. However, one thing she mentioned was that she would like more confirmation feedback from the app. For example, after a break is scheduled, she would have liked to have seen a notification telling her that she was successful.

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