Priyanka Dhapare


User Research

Project Context

Research project led under the mentorship of Dr. Shubha Puthran


  • User Research, Research paper reviews, Iterative prototyping, Surveying, Usability Testing, UI Design, Data Visualization


  • Typeform
  • Figma



— Instagram

— Twitter

— Facebook

Problem Context

Social Media – Boon or Bane? This project goal of this project was to investigate the effects of Social Media apps in people’s day-to-day lives. While Social Media has the potential to connect people all around the world, is it in fact leading to a disconnect in real-life? Does it have a positive effect or a negative one? And how far-reaching are these effects?

The Process

For the purpose of this project we followed the Double Diamond model of Design Thinking


First off to identify the problem space, we started with secondary research to understand how Social Media affects people different aspects of our lives. We read quite a few published research papers on this topic and summarized the learning from them.

A break-down of your health in relation to use of Social Media

We soon realized that the use of Social Media affected both Mental and Physical health of its users. With respect to physical health, it influenced people’s Food and Exercise habits. However, in the case of mental health, the nature of influence on the person depended on the purpose of using Social Media.

Here are some points that consistently came up through most of the research paper -

User Research

After conducting secondary research, we decided to conduct some User Interviews to support our hypothesis and define our problem. Our hypothesis stated that people who spent more time on Social Media, spent less time participating in physical activities or real life interaction as a result of majority of their time being consumed by the online world.

Our interviews helped back our hypothesis and we framed our problem statement as follows:


  1. We came up with 3 divergent solutions that tackled the design space. These ranged from being apps that actively take the control away from the user to something that is passive and works by presenting certain information to the user (such as screen time) and leaves it up to the user on how they would react to it.

We surveyed 17 people and this was the outcome:

- Only 2 of them liked the first option(App Vault). Others had strong dislike towards it and a few quoted it as "too aggressive"

- 11 people preferred the second solution (Reminders). They liked the idea of the app almost nagging them to stop being online

- 4 people liked the "Stats" widgets and one said "I would feel guilty if the time was anything more than an hour"


Based on the survey, we went with the Reminders Option as the primary focus of the application and supplemented it with showing statistics so that they can track how they have been doing.

A point of focus for us was – Give the user maximum control

This was achieved by the way of reminders

Periodically the user would get an on-screen modal to exit the app since the user has been using it for a while. Constant nudges eventually would push the user out of the application thus curbing the time spent online.

More people were receptive to this idea and preferred it as this did not lock them out of the application; but at the same time allowed them to be mindful of the time they spent online.

The "snooze" feature was added after some usability testing where users pointed out that much like alarms they would like the reminder to pop back up in some more time.

Breakdown of screen time - by the day

The page will display an irregular pie-chart with distribution of time with respect to the apps that you used for the given day. The total duration that you spent on social media applications will also be displayed and if you tap on various sections of the pie-chart then you will also be able to see the name and the time spent on that specific application.

Breakdown of screen time - over a period of time

Here you can see the usage of different social media applications for a stipulated period of time (max period = 1 year). The line-graph would total number of hours spent with respect to days and if you were to pin-point on any particular day (as is shown on the screen) then it would show a detailed snapshot of what the day looked like in terms of your individual apps usage which is shown with the help of a bar-graph.

Interactive Prototype

  • We decided to call the app "Disconnect" as it is aimed to help people disconnect from the online world.
  • (Click on the expand icon in the top-right corner of the frame to view the prototype in full screen mode

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