An exploratory design to promote solo travelers’ mindfulness

Prototyped ColorAway, a tool that helps solo travelers practice mindfulness through interacting with modified photos. Part of a larger study on solo traveler's technology use.

Research paper accepted into 2018 CHI Conference Proceedings. Also presented at the 2018 Convey UX.

Color Away project heroshot

Mindfulness != Meditation

The meanining of "mindfulness" has more than "meditation." Mindfulness, drawn from Western psychology and Buddhism literatures, has two key aspects:

  1. Recollection: remember or recollect past learning experiences
  2. Evaluation: contemplate one’s thoughts and feelings to distinguish beneficial from harmful qualities

Designing Mindfulness Tool

Using the insights from the literature interview, my team ideated, designed, and prototyped a tool that promotes the key aspects of mindfulness as the following:

1. Recollection by revisiting memorable photos

The prototype asked travelers to go through and pick the three most meaningful photos taken during their trips.

2. Evaluation by imaginating and making meanings

Selected photos went through various photo processing techniques and were given back to their owners. By providing new photos to interact, the prototype aims to trigger user’s imagination and meaning-making.

To arrive at these concepts, we first analyzed the interview data from the larger study and gathered solo traveler's needs.

Testing the Prototype with Solo Travelers

To test our concept, we recruited and provided a personalized prototype for each of 6 solo travelers. The below image is the cover of our prototype followed by sets of the original and modified photos placed side by side.

ColorAway sample prototype
ColorAway sample prototype

When the travelers finished with the prototype, we interviewed them to study their behaviors and thoughts interacting with the prototype. The interviews were transcribed and coded to gather insights.

ColorAway candid team photo
candid photo of our team during interview analysis

We put our process and findings into a research paper. It will be presented at 2018 CHI conference as well as 2018 UX Convey.