User Research

A Better way to deal with Technology Distraction


4 weeks



My Role & Team

Designer (Me) + 3 other Designers


Identify an opportunity to prevent technology distractions so that people can be more productive on their tasks.


Designed a goal tracking app that helps people to keep track of their tasks, which will increase self-motivations instead of technology restriction.


As fast-growing technologies bring more information to our daily lives, they are also distracting people from focusing on their tasks. I hope to help people balance technology and their lives better so that they are able to utilize technology to their benefit and not be harmed by it. 

Crafting the North Star Goals

To Better collaborate with the team, I meet with my teammates to created a clear and compelling North Star goal that would guide our design decisions.

Understand Fickle Focus

Explore why college students and professionals are distracted by technology, and in what context, people tend to be more productive.

Increase Productivity

Help people focus better on the tasks they want to achieve, and motivate people to prevent procrastination.

How did I Approach the Problem?

I embarked on extensive research to gain a deeper understanding of the factors contributing to distractions among college students, as the cost of distraction was not initially apparent to us.

Literature Review

I read through different research paper related to productivity and distraction to explore what makes people to productive.


I conducted semistructured interviews with 6 participants who have encountered fickle focus issues and with the experience using productivity technologies.

Value Analysis

Based on the interview results that I gained from my interviewees, I analyze what their values are in terms of focus and productivity.

Competitors Analysis

I compared and contested the existing productivity technologies to understand their pro and cons, and the way that they used to address productivity problem.

Key Findings

Main Distraction

Social Media

Ways to Avoid Distraction

  • Being away from phones or notifications
  • Breaking down tasks, setting goals
  • Changing the locations, listening to Music
  • Receiving encouragement

Most Productive Moment

  • They work under pressures
  • Due dates approach
  • Work on the things that they love
🔭 Biggest Insight: Goals Fuel Productivity
People exhibit higher productivity when they have clear and achievable goals.

Brainstorming Solutions

I initiated the brainstorming phase to explore potential solutions. We gathered as a team and generated various solutions, jotting them down on sticky notes. Later, we grouped and prioritized the ideas, ultimately voting for the top three solutions, and then tested them out with our participants.


Phone Jail

Space design: a phone jail that locks a user’s phone until he/she finishes the work. It also includes color indicators to show how long the user has been focused: the longer the time, the darker the color.

❌   Participants mentioned that locking their phones were not as helpful since they tended to unlock their phones or be distracted by other devices. Additionally, they didn't want a solution that felt too restrictive or harsh on themselves.


Goal Setting App

Allow users to input long term goal and short term goal, which helps users to break down their tasks and set up approachable goals. There is also a reminder to tell users how many hours left until a task is due.

✅ Deadlines and goals are the primary motivations for users. This method seemed to align better with the long-term motivation needed to sustain productivity and focus.



Shows productivity (time and efficiency of finishing work) and enables friend competitions for focus time to motivate users

❌   While it could initially motivate users through friendly competitions, it might not have a significant long-term impact on improving productivity.


Break down Projects into Tasks

Users will be required to input projects and to-do tasks for the projects. Based on the estimated time of finishing the tasks and deadlines of the project, we will distribute the tasks evenly throughout the whole project process.

Daily To-do Checklist

By gathering all the projects and tasks information, we provide checklists that can help the user track the progress on different projects for that day.

Redistribute Tasks for Uncompleted Tasks

When the user hasn’t completed the tasks from the previous day, the app will distribute the work to the following days and let the user see the change. By helping the user understand what would happen to the future when they didn’t finish the tasks of the day, our app can help the user gain motivation through such pressure.

Next Steps?

The next step in the process is to test the current prototype with users and gather valuable feedback. Through usability testing and user interviews, we will gain insights into how well the prototype addresses the identified pain points and whether it effectively supports users in staying focused on their tasks. Based on the feedback received, we will make necessary iterations and improvements to enhance the user experience and align the design with their needs and preferences.

What's next?