Young adults go through pivotal changes like going to university and self-regulating their state of being can feel mentally overwhelmed. How can we help them establish self-determined goals outside of school that lead to more balanced lives? Orbit’s mission is to motivate college students to persist in goal-orientated habits that benefit their physical and mental health.
A tap a day to keep the stress at bay
The social factor was an effective way to motivate users to follow their friends action and stay consistent with their goals via the “friendly competition
Utilization of customized light and sound made users feel more energized and encouraged triggering user's motivation.
The physical aspect of the orb is really popular among users because it has less distraction and its presence is harder to ignore compared to digital notifications.
Orbit is a win!
Due to time constraints, we had to run most user testings within a short duration, which mad it hard to test how users are motivated by the orb itself. To further evaluate the impact of our prototype, we could run a long-term diary study where users take their orbs home and perform the activities on their own time. After they have finished one complete cycle (achieving one goal), we could ask users to bring back their diaries for us to review. To measure their attitude change during the process, we could ask them to fill out an attitude scale questionnaire before, during, and after the test period.
On the design side, we would look further into the connection of multi-sensory features and communicative effects, specifically the various parameters of personalization we could embed in ORBit (such as the shape and character on the orb) to make it more engaging, relevant and fun.
For the next step
Users can track their weekly and monthly progress to stay on track of habit building. They can also easily update their activities and orb setting to better adapt to their evolving goals and needs
04 Goal tracking and customization
03 Celebrate achievement
Once each person has completed their activity, they get a celebratory message on the app along with a motivation quote that’s read aloud.
01 Define goal
Set a bigger goal (e.g. do regular exercises) user would like to achieve, then follow a smaller activity (walk for 30min/day) that can be completed easily everyday
Introduce how ORBit works to the user and what to expect
The concept of the orb went through several rounds of change from its look and feel to the sound and color integrated. Taking limitations such as cost and mobility into consideration, we kept the shape spherical, and decided to play with the light and sound effects that celebrate user’s completion of activities.
02 Connect a friend, complete activity
Tap the orb upon completion of activity. Users and their friends can see who has completed their activity first, as indicated by the color change, encouraging a healthy and fun level of competition.
Creating a reward system for students to celebrate wins for accomplishing goals
Setting bite-size goals that eventually lead to a bigger goal to remain consistent
Finding small instances of happiness to lower students’ stress levels and increase motivation to complete other tasks
After consulting 10+ academic papers and three experts in the field of habit formation and well-being, we found autonomy-supportive features, reminders, and goal setting to be critical to our product's persuasiveness. Another idea that influenced our design was relatedness supportive features, which allow performance-sharing between users. This would allow users to receive acknowledgment or support from their ORB-it partner.
After synthesizing findings from our research, we decided on the design focus:
To better understand what the topic of well-being meant to our target audience, we interviewed ten undergraduate students using directed storytelling and the mind-mapping technique to help define our project's specific persuasive goal. We constructed our interview questions from our learnings in a test, where we used metaphors to understand students’ perspectives.
Understanding the difficulties and needs among college students to improve wellbeing outside school
Our research led us to brainstorm 60+ ideas that eventually were downselected to three most promising concepts around habit formation. In the end, we came down to the orbit idea I proposed–we see the potential of a physical object being used in energizing and creative ways to initiate intrinsic motivation. In addition, it doesn’t impose a particular goal-setting activity (such as letter-writing or goal visioning) like many other apps, but rather leans into the importance of social support for goals as its centerpoint
ORBit aims to help people develop new habits by supporting three basic needs:
The goal and activity setup during onboarding supports autonomy
The lighting up and sound effect supports the competence
The connection with friends supports relatedness.
We hope that with long-term usage of ORB-it, college students find completing their activities meaningful and relatable, therefore priming them to form a new habit that promotes well-being in such way.
A fun, interactive companion that promotes goal pursuit as a meaningful interpersonal activity
We eventually simplified the app down to four main functions:
friend’s progress sharing
we also added the animal avatar to the app which serves the role of a personal cheerleader throughout user’s goal completion process.