UXDG 330 - UX Design Studio I: Innovation

Overview

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things we face in our lifetimes. The mourning process that follows is often faced alone and involves unhealthy coping strategies. Through conversational UI, Lumos ensures those in mourning do not feel alone, and helps encourage a healthier way to cope through all the 5 stages of grief.

Objective

Over the course of our 10 week design studio, our team was given the freedom to design for field of our choosing. Wanting to tackle a problem that was uncommon, we chose to explore the subject of death, and some of the current issues surrounding it. After a round of interviews and speaking to researchers, we decided on designing for those dealing with death and their experience throughout the grieving process.

Our Approach
We began our process by thinking about what aspects of the death process seemed antiquated by today's standards. Turns out much of the "death experience," both for the primary individual as well as secondary family & friends, hasn't been touched by modern technology. We later discovered there were many reasons for this, however we eventually narrowed our scope to focus on those affected by the death of another, as opposed to the individual dying. We realized that while the death experience ends at physically dying for the individual, its only the beginning for those around them.
Observation
We began our research process by exploring physical spaces related to death, observing and noting the behavior of those people in them. These spaces included a variety of churches & graveyards.

Between all the locations, we found common themes regarding death and how people both discuss and digest the concept of dying. Throughout our visits, it was apparent personal views on death vary between person to person. However, the one common trend was the 5 stages of grief faced by those who lost a loved one:

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression & Acceptance.
Research
Expert Interviews
In order to gain further insight into this complex field, we conducted a series of interviews with who we believed to be experts in death. Consisting of members of pastoral leadership, a research doctorate, as well as medical professionals.

We learned that death and the process of dealing with the loss of a loved one is a deeply personal experience; and one that differs from person to person. These interviews were critical to our research, as we began to realize there would not be any one size fit all solution, which shaped the direction in which we would start developing our solution.
Primary User Interviews & Personas
With a better understanding of what the mourning process looks like from an outside perspective, we decided to focus more inward and get a better idea of the intense feelings and grief faced by those who were familiar with the process. Focusing on those who have recently gone through the process, we conducted a series of interviews aiming to capture exactly what they were going through, what helped advance the process, and what may have hindered the process.
“I was so busy trying to take care of everything I did not have time for myself to grieve” 
“You never get over it. Just learn to deal with and try to have a functioning normal life even if they are not there” 
These interviews served as invaluable to crafting our solution, as they highlighted common themes between both highs and lows shared by our primary users and how they aligned with each of the 5 stages. They also served as a basis for the primary personas we created.


Affinitization
After conducting the bulk of our research, we then compiled all the data we had gathered and began the affinitization process.

Following the standard process, we grouped together all common data points, and from there combined those into corresponding categories, as seen below.
The Problem
Our Opportunity
Our Goal
To design a product that guides the user through all 5 stages of grief via CUI while promoting an environment more conducive to a healthy grieving process.

Mourning a loved one after they have passed away is an extremely emotionally tumultuous experience and can lead to unhealthy coping methods.

After conducting 8 weeks of research, we were able to determine realistically what we could do to help those in mourning and what a solution might look like that could tackle a personal set of problems on a larger scale.

Through our research, we discovered common feelings shared by users in each stage of grief. While users may act on their feelings differently, they seemed to be based on similar emotions. Based on these emotions, we created a feature list that corresponds to each of the 5 stages.
Our Solution
Our final ideations led to us Lumos, an interactive companion that encourages users to mourn in a healthier way through conversational UI and physical interaction. Lumos is a unit that houses an internal CUI kit, as well as an interactive panel. On top of the unit sits a silicone ball, which primarily acts as a light diffuser, reflecting the colored light emitted by the base that depicts which stage of grief the user is in. Secondly, it acts as an outlet of frustration during the anger phase, in which users are encouraged to use the ball to release their anger if they wish.

The mobile application acts primarily as a means for onboarding, in which the user can access simple settings, as well as a chat option if they do not wish to verbally communicate with Lumos.