With any project there are compromises. An earlier concept I explored was to use unconventional vs conventional UI patterns. As a designer, we are taught to think outside of the box with fresh ideas. Using existing UI patterns felt like I was taking a shortcut. I took comfort in the fact that there was no reason to reinvent the wheel when there are UI patterns already tried and tested. Users have mental models from experiencing other interfaces so when they commit an action it should come close to meeting their expectations.
Another tradeoff I had to consider was quantity vs quality. I wanted to give users an experience that felt like artificial intelligence with all of the bells and whistles. Toward the end of my competitive market research for similar products to the MultiManager concept I found that my app fell into a category called virtual personal assistants. I came across a Google interface called Google Assistant. The app boasts a component that gives users the right information at the right time. Feeling a bit discouraged because of the parallel ideas, I wanted my app to do even more. Unfortunately, giving users too many options can lead to feature bloat, which my lead to frustration, cognitive overload and ultimately abandonment. I resorted back to keeping the UI simple.
An even harder requirement to support was finding the best solution for bringing content to users who have formed habits of searching for information themselves. “It turns out that every habit starts with a psychological pattern called a "habit loop," which is a three-part process” (www.npr.org, 2012). First, there is a trigger such as a beep from the phone that tells the brain to switch to autopilot. The sound peeks the user’s curiosity, which leads to the second step in the loop — engaging the habit, resulting in the owner checking his/her phone. No real focus is needed to complete this action while in autopilot. The final part of the process is the reward. The emotions associated with closing the habit loop are feelings of being productive (79%) and happy (77%), according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. Other experiences participants noted from using a smartphone were frustration, distraction and even anger. This research tells me that although people feel good about the act of checking their phone for whatever the reason they are not necessarily being satisfied by the content they are consuming.