School project @ Savannah College of Art and Design | 9 weeks | 2018

Overview: Millennials' smartphone addiction has become a serious issue. As a team of both users and designers, we researched our target audience and developed a service and product to encourage conscious smartphone usage.
My Role: I was in the team of four and responsible for the research, ideation, concept development, and the entire UI design and prototype.


Millennials present a concerning addiction to their smart phones. On average, teenagers check on their smartphones 90 times a day. It is harder for them to balance smartphone usage and daily life such as in-person social interactions, mental health, and quality time with loved ones. There are damaging psychological effects when people use smartphones too much. Therefore...

How might we encourage conscious smartphone usage to help Millennials balance daily life and technology to prevent further damaging psychological effects?

Solution Overview.

Analog is a conceptual system of smartphones which allows users to re-define their screen by having access to certain applications based on different modes. Users get to add, delete, and customize each mode to fit specific needs to encourage conscious smartphone usage.

Easily switch to Analog system

Explore more options

Analog system provides different mode options based on different times of the day or users' activities.

Choose a mode and access only Apps you use

Prevent potential distractions

Each Analog mode allows users to only access certain Apps and hides all unnecessary ones to avoid distractions.

Add new modes based on certain activities

Own your unique experience 

Adding a new mode gives users control of Apps based on specific scenarios such as a mode for kids or a mode for exercise.

Customize each mode with necessary Apps

Develop a healthier habit

Users customize each mode with the Apps they use and hide all others to avoid potential distractions and help focus on their activities.

Initial Research.

A glance at people's current relationship with technology

In order to better understand trends and how people interact with technology today, we did secondary research and recognized some of the latest changes. This shows an increasing concern over the excessive use of technological devices by Millennials. 

percent of people use their phone in the bathroom

percent check their phones for messages, alerts or calls, even when they don’t hear their phone ring or vibrate

percent of people believe they use their phone too much

percent of people can't make it through the day without their phone

percent of people check their phone within 5 minutes of going to sleep


Interviews and Survey

Understanding Millennials' habits and concerns with smartphones

To gain a better understanding of how Millennials feel about their relationship with technology and their attitude about potential disconnection, we created a survey targeting Millennials about their habits with technology and feelings on disconnection.The questions we asked pertained to distractions, comfortability about stepping back, alternative options, and their ideas about potential disconnecting features. You can view 70 responses here.

Key findings: 

64.3% of Millennials rank cell phones as the top device that they want to disconnect from

We confirmed that social media is the number 1 distraction

Most people prefer a feature that disconnects certain functions

Cultural Probes.

Exploring touch points between technology and interviewees in daily life

In order to deeply understand how Millennials use their smartphones throughout the day, we created a cultural probe, A Day in My Life, and distributed it to interviewees to get more detailed information 
It's an App tracks how often you use each App on your phone. At the end of the week or month, it gives you a report on how much screen time you use a period and how much screen time you use per App. I haven't looked at the report for a long time but I still have it.


Affinitizing to learn the mindset and getting high-level insights

The next step was affinitizing all the data points from all the research. Yellow clusters were converted into one Blue which was drafted in the voice of the user be it as an I... or a We... Blues are also clustered and then summarized as a Pink, which are the insights. The Green presented themes, which led to an apparent direction to follow when designing the product or service.

Key learnings: 

People's behaviors have changed over time

Internet and technology have increased productivity and multitasking, yet over time individuals' behaviors are changing the more they use them.

Keeping only basic functions is necessary sometimes

There’s an awareness of addiction, time spent on smartphones can be decreased by only keeping basic functions in technology, to get more real interactions.

Disconnect to appreciate everyday life is needed

People’s relationship with phones has caused cognitive and physical behavioral changes. They want to disconnect in order to enhance their focus and appreciate everyday life.



Based on the cultural probe results, many people are in a dilemma of wanting disconnection yet worrying about missing information from friends and family


There are certain periods of time during the day and activities when people would like to avoid distractions, such as work, exercise, and spending time with loved ones


People constantly check on their phones for no specific reason, it is a more about a habit and a sense of security that most people are not conscious of


The most effective yet simple way that people avoid distractions is not being able to use or reach their phones


Visually conceptualizing ideas 

This is the stage during which we sketched ideas based on the clustered insights and themes. By repeatedly clustering the sketches and creating new illustrations based on the similar themes and collections, we condensed the information and solidified ideas from over 150 concepts. 

Design Goals.

1. Focus on phones rather than other devices at this stage.
2. Focus on solutions for tangible Apps' limitations, then explore ideas about changing potential users' habits, and in the long run assist users in resetting their educational mindset.


Initial prototype

A key feature we agreed upon and wanted to test was letting users have access to certain Apps on their phone screens during different times of the day. But we would like to know what users need to see on screen and what is most effective for concentration and disconnection. 

Different modes based on different times during the day

Most interviewees mentioned that there are certain times during the day that they want zero connection and distraction.

"When I walk my dog, I really wanna just enjoy the time and not worry about checking on the notifications."

Certain Apps are faded and can't be accessed

We explored the idea of limitations of Apps on phones screens, which is a direct way to disconnect and is a more tangible solution compared to others.   

Re-design control center to have more options

This is another idea group we agreed upon because it is the easiest way to control the phone, compared to creating another App to help users.

Validate and Test

We sketched several versions of phone screens and tested them with 11 students to see which one they wanted to use. The one with only necessary functions received the most votes. However, testers mentioned the one with social media on it (version B) still made them want to use it.






A Current screen

B Screen with some inaccessible Apps

C Screen with some functions

D Screen with basic functions zoomed

E Screen with basic functions


Final Design.

The options shown on the screens are the real distraction triggers

Checking  phones is more about a habit and an unconscious behavior without specific goals. However, the options shown on the screens are the real distraction triggers. Instead of trying to change users' behaviors of not checking phones or checking them less often, we decided to add some limitations to smartphones that remind and provide users with an option to be more aware of their smartphone usage and assist users to build better habits.

Interaction Flow.

Introducing Analog.

Analog allows users to reset their phones by having access to certain Apps based on different modes so it encourages conscious smartphone usage.

Analog is an added mode in the iOS system where it provides users with more options to customize their phones and helps users be more aware of their smartphone usage.


User Interface Design.

Let's change things up a bit

Inspired by the Airplane mode, I designed and displayed Analog in the iOS Control center which is the best and easiest place to control phones compared to creating a new App with the same features.
Easily switch from regular mode to Analog mode
Select different modes based on time or activities 
Access Apps only needed for each mode; the other Apps will not be displayed on screen
Go to setting, then to the mode they want to reset. This is the place users control all Apps showed on that mode screen where they are able to add or delete Apps. Select the Apps to feature in a certain mode and they will be displayed as dark; then use the updated work mode screen
Add a new mode
Tap add - type new mode's name - choose icon - done


Let's view...

Analog in a bigger picture

Having some limitations on screens reminds users to be conscious about what they do with their phones every time they check them, and therefore helps them build healthier relationships with phones in the long run. But what if we want users to have healthier lifestyles with technology in general, how might we help them develop this mindset?
An info card inside the package to educate users about the addiction
Analog Package
Analog on iOS system
Analog box
Analog trifold info card
Analog box at home to disconnect users from various devices inside 
Use it as a clock, speaker, charger, and most importantly to disconnect from technology by placing devices inside
All the information you need to know about the negative effect of phone addiction and how Analog package could help you


The best way to understand users is to be the users

Addiction to smartphones is always a popular topic. How to help people step back a little from social media, from all the distracting materials, and how to help people concentrate on what they are doing without constantly checking their phones is a real challenge. Users’ behaviors are hard to change. Therefore, how we might apply design to solve the problem has been a challenging task and an interesting process for this project. The best way to understand users is to be the users. In this project, we are designers and users. We were challenged, motivated, and surprised about how our work led to innovative insights and a good solution.

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