App #2, Morning Marathon

Morning Marathon – Alarms With Personality

Morning Marathon – Alarms With Personality

Update on Schedule– It didn’t quite work, in fact the opposite. My schedules already failed. My plan to wake up at 6:30 resulted into a sleepless night, well maybe I got one hour. It’s interesting how the mind works – once you put some sort of pressure on it to complete a certain task it can completely backfire on you. I’ve been sleeping great without any problems for the past few months, scoring at least 7-8 hours each night. Nothing to complain about, but the one time I plan on waking up early for a productive day, I a pull an all nighter – classic.

Anyways - it’s 4:01am in Denver and I’m in a lyft heading to the office. Nice driver, he sympathizes with me. I’m going to sleep well and early tonight, so maybe this is all G-d’s plan to get me on a schedule. So I’m going to follow the guidelines set up last night just shifting the times of doing so. I am going to work on the app today from 4-2. Who knows – maybe 4am is the right time for me to wake up in the future– it’s definitely more important to be awake during the morning hours than that of pointless nights.

I’m curious to see how my app comes along today. I have confidence that I’ll still be able to focus with my full potential, which I am in fact unlocking by doing this work. This past month has been an exploration into my brain, perseverance and interests.

Speaking of success, I’m hungry

Nevertheless, the app of the day is called “Morning Marathon.” The goal of morning marathon is to wake your brain up in the morning which I predict your body will follow. The vision of the app is when a user chooses a time to wake up - he or she also chooses a mini-game or “sprint” that they’d like to play upon the alarm going off. Once the alarm goes off in the morning there’s no stopping it until you’ve completed the task or ‘game’ The idea stemmed from a random app store title regarding an alarm clock and on the image preview there was a keyboard, so right away I associated the keyboard with an alarm and thought how can I implement typing in the morning to stimulate the brain. Sure enough the app that inspired the idea had nothing to do with my concept. The purpose for the app is twofold

Time. Unlike a snooze button which takes one second to press for ten more minutes of sleep, this app takes time in order to get to the snooze or end button, the exercise will keep you awake for about 5 minutes and by the time the users done hopefully he or she will be awake enough to get out of bed.

Stimulation. Studies have shows that “ sleep inertia can last 30 minutes and sometimes even longer. During this period, a pilot’s reaction time, logical reasoning and ability to process visual information can be less than stellar.” however this process can be stimulated by exercising your brain, “Simple games in the morning can help you be productive the whole day long” and if you think coffee does the trick, you might be mistaken, because according to BBC "Overall, regular caffeine consumers who'd been without caffeine overnight, were slower on the reaction time task, were sleepier and were less mentally alert than non-users.” Many people read the newspaper every morning for this specific reason – it gets them focused and it gets them up and ready for the day –morning marathon will have a similar effect.

Current Solutions include Wake Up, Work Out - This physical clock, shaped like a weight, does not shut off until you complete a series of bicep curls in the morning. However, being a physical product, it’s more difficult to get your hands on than downloading an app - but the idea is there.

There’s also Clocky, the first alarm clock on wheels. You can snooze once but then Clocky will jump off of your nightstand, and run around beeping, determined to get you out of bed.

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After research, I realized how unoriginal my idea is and there are about ten other apps that offer a similar service. But if you like the concept of my app, you lucked out as I’m not going to develop it – yet these guys did:

  1. Alarmy - Offers 3 options for getting out of bed - scanning QR code, retaking image/recognition and math equations - they are consistently adding more features and out of the different alarm apps i’ve seen this one takes the cake.

  2. Wakie Community - Want to recieve a wake-up call by some random Indian dude on sunday mornings, this is just the app for you - it actually connects you with strangers to speak with in the mornings, giving you pleasant hints of human connection before you kiss your wife, or brush your teeth.

  3. Walk Me Up - Set a certain amount of steps you’d like to take upon waking up and the alarm won’t stop until you hit your goal. Good app to use the morning after a Chipotle dinner. And perhaps it will inspire you to continue working out

  4. UHP Alarm - If you don’t wake up this alarm will post on your social media accounts that you’re having trouble getting out of bed – you can also create a custom message to post the night before. Not sure the purpose of this - but if your living your life through social media - so should wake up through social media.

  5. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE DUMBEST, YET SMARTEST APP I’VE SEEN IN A LONG TIME. The MONEY ALARM – considered the “Alarm that’s fine if you oversleep”, this is because whenever you sleep late you actually deposit money to the develop through an in-app purchase. Interesting concept.

Heading back to the app, I’ve created the initial user-flow in order to start creating rough wireframes. The three main components of the app are Alarm, Discover and Activity. The alarm page will allow you to create new alarms, customizable with access to your favorite sprints and option to make your own. The discover page, will allow you to discover and find your new favorite sprint to turn into your alarm clock. And the activity page will allow you to view sleep patterns and previous submissions. If you submit a text or voice memo to a public sprint it will be added to that sprints profile and accessible for all users to view – so each sprint develops a life on its own.

Initial User-flow

Initial User-flow

Ended up taking a 3 hour nap, which was supposed to be 20 minutes and coincidentally used and ignored by hitting the snooze button every ten minutes.

Just finished the first round of Wireframes, initially I planned on doing three sets, one using pen and paper and two rounds on the computer – but after writing the user-flow chart and low-fi wireframes I decided to shift to the higher fidelity on the computer. I ran into a few troubles – first I need to maximize my sketch workflow by using containers for the app navigation, need to watch tutorial on that later. Next, after seeing some of the similar apps on the market it became difficult for me to stray away from the designs, but I did my best to provide my own original value to the product. Also, because of time constraints I’ve chosen the most important screens to wireframe and left out pages such as, Settings and Filters. Lastly, i’m a bit nervous about turning my wireframes into designs because I always consider the user-interface while creating the wireframes and it’s always a difficult transition for me. Nevertheless - here are the wireframes.

High Fidelity Wireframes

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Screen Focus of the day, is the alarm creation page. Here, users have the ability to design a flow of exactly how they want the alarm to behave. The linear design of the steps provides a simple way for a user to create complicated morning patterns. If you access the search bar on the bottom, you will have a bunch of options to go through in order to choose the next right step in the app. You can preview your alarm clock by pressing the play button on the top. If you are not savvy enough to create your own alarms, you can visit the browse page, to see already created alarms.

Last but not least, it’s time to get started on the final designs. I’m going to use the material design template on sketch to provide a consistent look and feel throughout the app – I’m also most familiar with the Roboto font and that template - however, I do also enjoy Apple’s UI design, I think they have the sexiest use of type - I try to merge the two.

In Parsons I used to get slammed by professors for combining both material design and apple ui kit, my user experience always was fluid, but in terms of UI my grades always dropped - and after all the professors didn’t know any better - they didn’t realize the importance of a good app architect - which I believe is more difficult to achieve. However, one of my main goals of this project is to improve my User Interface skills to put them on par with the functionality - but then again I don’t care how it looks, I’ll leave it to someone else to make pretty.

Ugly but functional - like Sol Lewitt says, “The Idea Becomes the Machine That Makes the Art.”

Sol Lewitt,  Wall Drawing  at the Boston Museum (date unknown)

Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawing at the Boston Museum (date unknown)

And here are the Latest Screen Designs. Contrary to what I was writing before, it was actually fun creating the UI here. Since I last dived deep into Sketch the UX world has progressed significantly and it was cool viewing all of the functionality changes from the old material design template to the current. Seems like I have a lot to learn on that front as well. See below screens – I essentially used the same screens and layout as the wireframes, but made them a bit sexier. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoy.

Two things…I intended to lay the screens out nicely on an iPhone and for this carousel layout I need to figure out how to add margin between images. But it’s getting late and I need to start on a new app tomorrow…so I’ll speak to you then.

Until Tomorrow,

App #3, Trap Drink

App #1, Buy Car