research for design: week 2

See my post from week 1 for context!

this week’s progress

I did more reading this week than I had in months. I read three full books — Atomic Habits by James Clear, Mindful Design by Scott Riley, and Hooked by Nir Eyal — as well as a selection of chapters from Design for Behaviour Change. This all generated some 27 pages of notes (which I’m still synthesizing) on the cognitive science behind creating and maintaining habits, and the many design practices that can facilitate that process. I’m stewing on a lot of ideas on how to remind users about the habits they want to practice more often in a kind and affirming way.

stakeholder map

This was a little difficult to make, since I think this map should basically include everyone. Every human being has habits, whether they are thoughtful about them or not — and I think everyone would benefit from an intervention that helps them be more thoughtful about their habits. Still, I thought of who would most benefit, or who has more pressing reasons to seek help in their habit formation and maintenance (or suggest that help to others).

I thought of three main buckets that may strain someone’s ability to create and keep healthy habits — memory, motivation, and schedule struggles. With memory, someone might have every intention to do something, but will simply forget about it; with motivation, they may always think about it, but can’t bring themselves to do it; and with schedules, external factors like time (but maybe environment, too) are creating the strain. I then jotted down the specific issues that relate to each category — of course, some blend into multiple categories, and something from one category can deeply affect another. Lastly, I jotted down facilitators as stakeholders — people who may refer a design intervention to those around them who might benefit from it.

user research

My first method of primary research will be user interviews. I should be conducting 5 this week, starting tomorrow morning. I’ve drafted about 8 questions, some with potential follow-ups, to get a more in-depth sense of people’s habit-forming processes, and tools used for maintenance. My second method will be a narrower survey specifically on tools and techniques, ideally reaching a much wider audience.