For Seven Days Thesis Project
For Seven Days is a thesis project that I worked on for my Master's Degree at Academy of Art. It is a web platform offering 7-days-challenges that will make an impact on people's lives in the smallest possible but most essential of ways. The challenge can be as simple as "I'm throwing morning dance party #forsevendays”.
As the primary designer for this project, I had to conceptualize the idea, come up with product strategy, gather market research, conduct user testing, design the entire end-to-end interaction and code the product into a half-working prototype that is currently live on forsevendays.com, using database languages like PHP and MYSQL.
Project Duration: 2013 - 2015 (1.5 years)
Making a New Year's resolution is a great way to make a positive change in life, whether it's going to the gym, waking up earlier, or saving money. A lot of people have great resolution ideas to achieve their goals, however, statistics show that only 9.2% of people ever achieve their New Year's resolutions and break free from their bad habits. By the first week, 27% of those people abandon their goals. At the two-week mark, 31% of people quit, and just over half of them make it to the one-month mark. One reason why most of New Year’s resolution fail is because most people create too much resistance by injecting too many resolutions and goals into their minds. People fail when they set unrealistic goals.
Create ‘positive snowball’
If you create new habits, and make them so insanely easy that you accomplish them every time (and leave in a good mood), you’re creating what’s called a “positive snowball” in your brain. If you managed to finish a challenge (in just seven days), you will think to yourself that actually it’s not hard as you thought and will find yourself keep going back to do more challenges.
Start small / Keep it simple
Finding a strategy to lay the foundation of a productive habit while minimizing the upfront workload is the key to success. It’s also more sensible to set small, attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a singular, overwhelming goal.
Make it obvious (#forsevendays)
An emerging tactic: share your goals with your friends and family. It’s another way to build accountability, especially in the era of social media.
Do it together
Accountability is the secret to success. It’s much easier to go to the gym with a close friend, than it is to go alone and rely on yourself to get out of bed early in the morning (or late at night, if that’s all you’ve got).
Why seven days?
According to University of Scranton (Journal of Clinical Psychology), 75% of resolvers had only been able to keep their commitments continuously for one week. This is a perfect time frame for users to create ‘positive snowball’ because if they can actually manage to keep a commitment for a week, all these seven-days challenges shouldn’t be difficult for them.
One of the key factors for my market research is to dig deeper into the trend of New Year’s Resolutions and why people always fail in achieving them. Who make them? How long do these resolutions usually last? What are some of the most common resolutions? Why do we always fail and how do we achieve them?
There are currently a number of habit-changing apps available on the market. I did a quick competitive analysis to put my thesis project in comparison to those apps to present the gaps and opportunities that others apps are missing.
A customer journey map or an experience map is a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal tied to a specific business or product. I am using this graph to understand and address customer needs and pain points. This graph follows the narrative of Jerry, a caffeine addict, who wants to quit drinking coffee.
Three main aspects of the product are Dashboard, Explore and Profile. Dashboard is where a user would track their challenge as well as getting the latest posts from the people they are following in a feed. Explore is where each of the challenge page showcases posts by challengers. Profile shows a user’s posts and allowing other users to follow.
Initial user testing on wireframes
Initial user testing was done on paper prototype conducted with 5 - 10 participants from school. Several iteration were made after gathering all user feedback.
After having all of the UX validated by users, I moved forward with giving For Seven Days a user interface and visual guideline.
Final prototype and key features
A set of challengers were already created based on some of the most common New Year's resolutions across the United States. Challenges are grouped into 7 categories: personal, health, relationship, educational, spiritual, financial and creative. User can also suggest a new challenge to the admin as well as starting a personal one.
Each challenge page showcases a feed of posts by current and previous challengers.
A dashboard is a personal space where user can track their weekly progress, post a status update and keep track of the people they are following.
Just like any other social media, this is where other users can interact with you by following, liking and commenting on your posts.
Final product implementation
After a year and a half of blood, sweat, tears, and lots of caffeine, For Seven Days is live today and you can: sign up as a member (for free, of course), start taking challenge, keep track of your challenge, post an update, follow someone else, and edit your profile. Play around with it and tell me how you think!
Project's next steps
I’m hoping to see For Seven Days evolve into a native app in the future in order to utilize reminder and push notification. Also, with the rapid growth of wearable devices, it's only fitting for a habit tracking app to live on a smart watch too.
If you've reached all the way to the bottom, thank you so much for reading!