UX RESEARCH LEAD @ BREATHING.AI
My role with Breathing.ai is working as their UX Research Lead. Breathing.ai is an early-stage start-up that has the ambition to leverage AI and ML to create adaptive screens that respond to users' vital signs (breathing rate, heart rate, etc.) in order to offer the most comfortable, less-straining interface.
We have a USPTO patent approved for our technology.
However, we all know this is a great idea -- many people are forced to use screens for hours a day and many people suffer all kinds of symptoms as a result. Given that we are only going to increase our screen time as technology progresses, an adaptive screen that makes our experience better and healthier is essential. But who needs this the most?
My role is to help Breathing.ai identify their target audience and a product-market fit through user research.
I designed a survey to get a general sense of what people's relationship with their screens currently is. Below are a list of survey questions:
1. How many hours on average do you spend on a screen (including computers, laptops, ipads, smartphones, or smartwatches) daily?
2. What are you doing during this period on a screen?
3. How do you feel about spending this amount of hours on a screen per day?
4. What symptoms have you experienced in the past when using screen for a long time?
5. How sensitive are you to light and color?
6. How often do you adjust the brightness/ color/ contrast of the screens you use?
7. What are your reasons to adjust your screen?
8. What do you do currently when you feel discomfort from using a screen for a long time?
9. Have you used any of the following apps/hardware to improve your experiences using computer screens?
10. How often do you take breaks in a continuous period of using screens?
11. Imagine your screen can automatically adjust according to how you feel in real-time, so your screen is always exactly the way you want it. Would you be interested in trying that?
12. Please tell us why you are interested / why you are not interested.
13. What is your age?
14. What is your occupation? (If you are a student, just say "student".)
15. What gender do you identify with?
16. Are you are willing to participate in a follow-up interview so we can learn more about your thoughts?
We received almost 200 responses to the survey. The next step is to analyse the data collected and draw initial insights from the data.
People who have to spend more time on screen per day tend to have a negative emotion against using screens;
People who have to spend more time on screen per day tend to adjust their screens more often.
The data that stood out to us is that when we ask people who they would be interested in our technology, most people focus on their eye health, almost no one associate long time use of screen with mental health, which is contrary to our desktop research. When asked about the symptoms they experience, however, mental exhaustion is the third most experienced, with 85 mentions just under eye strain and neck and back pain. This tells us that some education on the effects of screens on our mental health is necessary in marketing our product. The vision of Breathing.ai is to relieve the constant stress that people experience with prolonged screen use in modern life. Physical symptoms like eye strain and neck and back pain are more difficult problems to tackle. However, we will address those by "break suggestions," pop ups that will show when users show high heart rate and breath rate.
We as a team came up with our internal research objectives based on what we learned from the survey data. Working with advisor Jay Vidyarthi, I selected and phrased our inquiries into questions that will help us determine a product direction. These research objectives will be used to craft interview question, which will be used in the next part of the research.
Internal Research Objectives:
1. How does our target audience view the influence of screen time on their mental health? Is it about the screen itself, or more about what they're using that screen for? Or is it not really an issue?
2. What forms of mental exhaustion do members of our target audience experience when using a screen for a long time?
Do they think it is plausible that adjusting screen brightness or contrast could significantly reduce eye strain / dry eye resulting from overuse?
3. Do they think it is plausible that adjusting fonts and sizes could bring down the amount of eye strain/dry eye resulting from overuse? Do they think that'll be useful to them?
4. Do they think it is possible that adjusting the screen color would have an impact on the eye strain or dry eye that they experience? Do they think that'll be useful to them?
5. Why do some people experience symptoms but don’t really feel negative about their screen use?
6. Why do some people hate the time they use on screens but do not adjust their screens at all? Do they think it’s useless?
7. When people say they’ll try it “depending on how well it works,” what do they actually mean? What specific functionality are they looking for? (use prototype to craft question when determined what to test)
8. Do people notice themselves holding their breath while doing certain task, during a certain time of day?
9. Do people notice any differences in their own experience when using a screen at low vs. high brightness or different color settings?"
10. How do they feel when they noticed they were holding their breath and how/when do they become aware of it?
11. Have they noticed themselves sighing in certain moments or tasks when using screens?
12. Do they feel any emotional changes (like irritation or restlessness) when they use your screen for a longer period than usual? What do they do at those moments?
13. Do their screen times affect their ability to focus on tasks, impact their daily routine, or have an effect on their physical health?
Once we have a clearer idea of what our audience is and what they need, the team gathered for a virtual ideation workshop using Miro.
We then summarized and discussed our ideas to arrive at a single idea for a quick prototype that we are going to make and include in the upcoming user interviews. I transformed our ideas of the prototype into a user flow to understand better what screens we need to make for each action of the flow.
This is the initial logo idea that Hannes Bend, the CEO of Breathing.ai had. He came to me and asked for a clearer, more powerful and simplified icon for the test app that is ready for collecting data, validating our technology, and applying for funding.
I simplified and designed the below icon by keeping the idea of tree and the image of lungs to convey the intended meaning of breathing.
The icon is then implemented into the testing app design shown below:
UX Design: Miti Malviya, Yina Smith-Danenhower(consultant)
UI Design: Yina Smith-Danenhower (lead), Miti Malviya
Illustration: Miti Malviya
Color Guide: Cherisha Agarwal
Development: Shiva Javalagi