In this one-week project, I conducted an in-depth user research on Sedentary Behavior among a group of design students. Strongly support by the user insights, I developed a small product by Arduino tool kit , then tested and iterated it as a very simple but useful product.
TEAM - Individual Project
MY ROLE - UX Designer / Product Developer
DATE - Jul 2018 - one week
0. Project Initiation
Why I doing this project
This Monday, I went to gym and received training from my personal trainer as regular. However, I felt really hurt on my back and neck, and I had to stop training and asked my personal trainer to help me released the pain. I thought it was caused by my improper action and training, but it turned out that this pain was caused by my long sitting time. Because almost everyday, I was always sitting for study or leisure for a long time, my muscles on my back was in high stiffness.
Then I started thinking:
Almost everyone in my class are living their life in a similar way with me, which might imply that they might also suffer from the same issue.
Why do people always sit for a long time?
How would this behavior impact on their health?
Could I find any design opportunity to change their behavior and reduce this health outcome ?
This is my initial source of my design project. I would like to apply what I learn in the lab unit as well as design thinking methodology, to design a product that can reduce longtime sitting behavior and reduce the health issues caused by this behavior.
1. Understanding: academic background research
As the change of individuals’ life style and work style in the model social, sitting for a long period has become a part of people’s daily routine. This kind of behaviour have been defined as sedentary behaviours by Department of Health (2011), “time spent doing physically inactive tasks that do not require a lot of energy”.
Sedentary behavior has become an invisible but serious cause of many adverse health issues. A review by Rezende et. al (2014) exams all researches about sedentary behavior and indicates that sedentary can cause serious health issues, i.e. higher mortality rate, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, mental health as well as musculoskeletal disorders.
New Directions recommended by professions Based on the research by Owen et. al (2011) about intervention factors on sedentary behavior, those are directions to reduce this behaviors.
People are lacking understanding and awareness Change the environment By change the environment of home or workplaces, people might change their behaviors .
Assistance helping users to monitor their sitting time can remind them to internally stop sitting.
Suggested sitting time limit
“discretionary sitting time to no more than 2 hours/ day, and to stand up and move after 30 minutes of uninterrupted sitting” (Owen et. al, 2011)
2. User Research
A questionnaires survey has been conducted in order to understand the current situation of people’s long-time sitting behavior and get the insight of their behaviors.
This survey has gathered 37 responses together from respondents who have different occupations, from students, entrepreneurs, project managers to musician.
Based on the result, I can confidently confirm that sedentary behavior has become a serious problems among model official workers and students.
Users observations :
Three interviews were conducted among three design students in Sydney Uni, who have long-sitting hours and frequent long sitting behavior. By doing these interviews, more insights were got from them about their activities when sitting, what interrupt them from sitting, how is their understanding of this behavior and its impacts.
3. User Research Result
Learning from questionnaires, user observations interviews
1. Users won't interrupt their sedentary behavior by themselves when no external factors or physical uncomfortableness.
2. Great number of users do not have instant negative feeling about their long-time sitting.
3.Most of users still underestimate the harm of long time sitting.
4. Sitting is one of the most comfortable way of doing things.
5. Almost every users in my research have serious sedentary behavior.
6. Users are hard to pay attention on their sitting hours.
4. Design, Testing & Iteration
Plan for the best based on the existing limitations
1. Time: there is less than 6 days for me to complete this design and construction of my product.
2. Materials and resources: the only available materials and resource are our Arduino kit and other elements matched this kit.
3. Technical: I am still a beginner of Arduino and have limited skills set on relevel areas, which means I have to learn by using.
My first idea of this product is to simply to detect whether the user is sitting on the chair, then to count the sitting time. Once the sitting time is longer than 30 mins, the buzzer will make a sound to remind the user to stand up.
In this way, there are three main components in this product: a force sensitive resistor for detecting the user’s sitting status, strip LED to display their sitting time, and a buzzer to remind the user to stand up.
Low – Fidelity Prototyping
In order to quickly assess my project concept, I conduct a low-fidelity prototyping by using four papers as my main components of my product. After that, I used this simple prototype to test my idea with three design students.
Great feedbacks and ideas were gained by this process.
Feedbacks and insight
1. Users like the concept of visualized display of sitting time.
2. The amount of time been sitting also can be the amount of time users been focus, so some users see the display of sitting time as a motivator rather than a source of pressure when their working.
3. Users acted inpatient when they stand-up for 5 mins, especial they cannot see how much time they still need to stand-up. (need to add feature of display of stand-up time)
4. Playing a game when stand-up can encourage users to stand up for enough time but might also prevent them get back to work after standing up.
5. Overall users considered this product as an essential, practical and useful product, which can help them reduce sitting time and do good to their health.