This project came from our Ideation Studio class. We focused on a specific problem under the theme of Smart City.
UX Designer
Interaction Designer
Industrial Designer
Andrew Shiau
Olivia Harold
Will Wang
2 Months
How might we improve city life for atypical shift workers by improving sleep quality?
We designed Lux, a smart shade generates simulated natural sunlight based on one's sleep schedule, to regulate the circadian ryhthm of atypical shift workers. Lux can be controlled through it's paired app and voice command.
Scheduling shade actions
Bedtime Transition
Relaxing light reduces stress and helps sleep
Wakeup Transition
Energizing light motivates wakeup and activities
Remote Control
Controlling and customizing shade behaviors
Enhancing Social Interaction for Atypical Shift Workers
Our research showed the technologies contributing to smart cities could potentially lead to weak social interaction and we wanted to make cities smarter by enhancing social interaction. We noticed the city environment causes its citizens stress, potentially leading to behavior changes and higher rates of mental illness. Furthermore, those factors would have amplified their effect on 5.5% of the population in the U.S. who work in atypical shift schedules. We gravitated towards this under-investigated population, but the design solution could be inclusive and extended to a larger population.
Sleep and Social Isolation as Initial Problem Space
We built a robot-like box to attract passersby and collect responses in the public space. We received a total of 17 responses: 41% responses wished to have more sleep and rest to reduce stress; 29% responses complained about the social isolation caused by atypical shift schedules. This activity led our focus to sleep and social isolation. We framed the initial problem statement as:

How might we reduce stress caused by social isolation for people with atypical work schedules?
We placed the box at the entrances of the Capitol Hill light rail station from 10 pm to 7 am for two days, based on the schedule of most atypical shift workers.
The box includes pens, plenty of blank cards which allows people to share their thoughts freely and sufficiently without any constraints.
We also prepared cards with fun facts as an incentive for people.
Concepts and Storyboards
We ideated 30 concepts around the problem space and narrowed down to 3 based on feasibility, desirability, and usability. To better demonstrate the concepts, we expanded them into 3 storyboards.
See all 30 concepts >
Prototype testing showed us the final direction.
Through the prototype testing, participants thought Loneliest Person would have less desirability compared to Smart Shade in reality. Since there are existing services that could potentially offer solutions to alleviate social isolation, such as Reddit, etc. Additional research revealed that, compared to the influences of social isolation, poor sleep quality would result in more profound impacts on atypical shift worker. Hence, we narrowed down the final direction towards improving sleep quality, and we refined the problem statement to:

How might we improve city life for atypical shift workers by improving sleep quality?
Application Map and Interaction Model
“I just want to sleep when I get home." - Participant 7

Our goal was to provide a solution that requires the minimum effort from atypical shift workers so that they could save more time for sleep. We kept the interaction model as clear as possible.
See medium-fidelity wireframes >
Reducing Screen Time - Voice Command
“It’s too tired for me to look at the phone doing other tasks.” - Participant 3
“If I could control the shade by my voice, I might not use the app quite often.”
- Participant 4

The light from cell phone screens can stimulate one's optic nerve, which not helps sleep but wake up. That's why we aimed to reduce the screen time for the atypical shift workers. To minimize the phone usage while still having control over the shade, we thought the voice assistant would be a good option. Here is the conversation tree for the voice assistant:
See full-resolution version >
Considering Sleep Patterns and Behaviors
"I work both day and night shifts for three days a week, and I take a nap between shifts." - Participant 1

We considered the most common sleep patterns and behaviors of atypical shift workers, which includes sleeping and napping at daytime and nighttime. And we mapped the core user flows with those sleeping behaviors.
Colors and UI Specifications
Soft colors - avoid vibrant colors which stimulate optic nerves when close to bedtime.
Rounded corners - more comfortable to look at. Both iOS and Material Design elements have rounded corners for better user experience.
Card metaphor - provides explicit relationships between each schedule and more accessible for users to take actions.
See full UI specifications >
Final Design
I made the user interface with Sketch, built shade 3D model with Solidworks, rendered and animated through KeyShot.
1. Useful insights from research and testing can effectively inform design decisions.
2. Consulting stakeholders help to neutralize biases inside designers’ mental model.
3. It's important for both designers and developers in the team to know the limitations of each other's tools.