Chloe Finlayson
workmate.jpeg

Workmate

Workmate is a native application centred on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility, and in turn make you more productive. It is based on a working technique called Pomodoro, and it times user-inputted work cycles to help them reach daily goals along with documenting their progress over time and offering helpful suggestions on what to eat and what to do to keep the user productive.

During my Personal Honours final year at university I developed the concept of WorkMate. Alongside writing my dissertation (the ultimate test of productivity), I researched in to ways of working and increasing productivity then tested concepts, prototyped, iterated, prototyped and iterated some more before coming up with this time-boxing application.

Research

At the start of my journey in to fourth year I was tasked to identify a problem and then design for it. I wont bore you with details on the hours of reading and trawling the internet, the numerous phone calls and discussions and the fumbling around different, equally trivial 'problems' that I could design for before I stumbled upon one that I was all too familiar with - lack of focus.

Spending hours staring at a blank screen had got me nowhere, and I realised that this problem surely wasn't just one that I experienced (it's not).

I launched in to designing around a technique called Pomodoro, and I opted for a native application rather than a web app as users could be working from home or on-the-go.

Design

This application was designed to be simple - an aid to work, rather than a distraction. Because of this simplicity in function and design, I felt the need to pay extra attention to the microinteractions. I paper prototyped multiple interactions and tested them with friends, family and classmates to find out what interactions were the smoothest for setting the timer and opening up the menu.

I then went on to create multiple interaction prototypes using Flinto and Axure, comparing different menu functionalities (a pop-up menu vs a more abstract menu consisting of shifting blocks), different animations when a Pomodoro is complete and different transitions between work and break screens.

Some early interface and icon designs

Some early interface and icon designs

Prototyping a screen walk-through in Flinto

Prototyping a screen walk-through in Flinto

Creating a more advanced interactive prototype that takes user inputted variables in Axure

Creating a more advanced interactive prototype that takes user inputted variables in Axure

Summary

The outcome of this project was a hi-fidelity prototype made in Axure, which takes user inputted Pomodoro times then continuously runs Pomodoros/breaks until the user presses 'stop'. Although the final functionality of the app was basic (partly by design but partly by my lack of development skills), I feel like it was a good proof of concept.