Hao Xian's SVA Interaction Design Thesis Project — InterLife — Process book

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InterLife Invite another one to your life Hao Xian Thesis Project Work School of Visual Arts MFA Interaction Department Class of 2020

A fun way to help stressed students have mutually supportive experience

Contents Background — 00

Abstract — 02 Research and Ideation — 04 Expected Impact & Achievement — 16 Initial Design & Analysis — 18 Initial User Flow — 40 Design Iteration — 58 App Design & Entire User Journey — 78 Final Flow & Conclusion and Next Steps — 90 References & Credits — 104 Thanks — 105

Chapter Zero Background

Background College students’ mental health In the hustle and bustle of modern urban life, people are faced with the increasing challenges and problems of living in a

more competitive world. This has led to

an increase in mental health issues. As a

matter of fact, 8.4 percent of children aged from 6 to 17 have been diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression and over 44

million American adults (18.07%), have a mental health condition according to US News What Mental Health Statistics Can

Tell Us. And, what’s easy to be ignored is the fact that college students especially graduate students are six times more

likely to have mental health problems

according to research published in Nature Biotechnology.

“More disturbingly, college students and

especially graduate students are six times

more likely to have mental health problems according to research published in Nature

BiotechnologyI want to solve this problem in a compelling way. I want to use design

to help those students in need to beat this

problem or even just alleviate their mental health issues.

Credit: Tim Gouw


Chapter One Abstract


Target Users

worries :“home-sickness”, “problems”, “an

students. To be more specific, the students

Students are encountered with a host of overwhelming number of assignments”

and so on. However, conventional school therapy often treats those students as

somebody who has significant trauma,

which is not necessarily true. Often, people

My Target audience is stressed and isolated will be from the same school so at least they have one similarity and have more sense of safety.

Problem Area

just want to find someone that has a similar My thesis project will focus on stressed students whose schedules are intense feeling to share their stories and solve it. InterLife provides a comfortable

opportunity for stressed students: they only need to select their worries or

even customize their worries, and then choose their availability. Our system

will match them with others resembling

them. Students will go into our InterLife Immersive Talking Room with the help

of a facilitator. There will be some guided

and don’t feel like using the conventional

therapy method. The point of this project is to give students who share the similar

worries each other an opportunity to face

the worries or think about it from different point of views to get a mutually support experience. Students that need further

support will be given resources to follow up with a professional as needed.

interaction in the room to help them open

their minds step-by-step and begin talking about their worries and sharing their

feeling and stories. After Students leave

the room, they can open the app and see

our school’s overall worries map and find someone who interests them. Users can

even write or draw something, and we will turn it into an email or mail to send to the acquaintances as a post-experience.


Chapter Two Research & Ideation

Assumption & Interview Looking at my assumptions and seeing if they were true.

I interviewed some students with isolation problems and I summrized some causes and potential treatement.




Their family


Their career

Find a professional therapiest

They don’t fit in

Go to a bar to try to know someone Yoga Medicine Join club or community



They don’t want to talk to anyone

They live alone

This is their choice, we should not bother them

They are wise

They think other people dislike them

They have specific goal

They don’t know how to begin the conversa:on

They have got no friends

Their interests are very niche

They are s:ll willing to talk

They have personal reasons


NegaIve AssupIon




Intriguing experience

Break the fourth wall

Don’t know where is the end



Difficult to understand

Could be aCer party


Other Benefits (aCer party)

Change from Ime to Ime

Very late

Can talk to actors or director

Fancy interrior design

Cannot talk to actors

Build network

Will be super exciIng

Can talk to actors :)

Make friends

Very interacIve

Nothing will happen aCerward

You need to run a lot RestricIon in age Need a docent Some people don’t want to parIcipant Require sophisIcated language skills Use your body Involve high-tech Some people don’t want to engage


PosiIve AssupIon



Interview Leanne Carroll: When she feel unhappy, good friends can

Psychological Therapist: The challenge of doing therapy is that some

can calm her down, making her feel better.

just listen. And since the therapy time is

help her fight frustration. And meditation When it comes to school therapy, there

often is just a lot of talking and listening. She doesn’t know how the insurance

companies work and finding a therapist is time-consuming. Happy music helps her feel better.

patients don’t want to talk at all – they

relatively long, they may quit in the middle or we can help them to find another

therapist. In fact, many students seldom return; their feelings are floating up and down; they also much out of therapy.

Therapists are not there to give advice, but

to offer resources that can help the patients Rafael Wagner Poloni & Kimaya Malwade He quite often to feels bad. Sometimes bad songs even reflect his and her feelings. Rafael usually don’t have a plan. When it comes to school therapy, there often

is just a lot of talking and listening. He

wants some disconnection from the school

help themselves. Students often change

therapists because of scheduling conflicts or residence changes.in their schedules, and residence.

Then, I figure out that most of the

assumption on audience is correct.

and clients and tries to be invisible. For

Kimaya, she has tried meditation courses

and that can help her focus outside of the world.



Traditional Psychological Therapy? Cons: Slow, time-consuming, expensive no

instant help. Only single connection. Pros: Human heart-to-heart talking more reliable.

On the left is the notes I have got in the school therapy room from a therapist.


Competitive Research I did a marketing research to figure out how could I make my service unique. I

found that there was no such a service that

could do both one on one in-person human


to human interaction and also give a sense of safety.


Other Inspiration


Currently, my goal is to use the immersive experience to help people to lessen

their stress. At first, I wanted to create a

ubiquitous story – system to allow people express their emotion anywhere . As a

theatre and technology lover, I think I am a kind of person walking between art and

design. I want to use emerging technology

and the feeling of immersive theater to help stressed students.


Further Inspirations & Insights

I had a conversation with Creative

Moment, and I figured out how they

created a successful immersive experience. I chatted with them afterward, and there are some insights from the meetings:

• You have no idea what the audience will do with your theatre

• If you have an idea, just do it first.


The core of immersive experience:

• Storytelling is a big deal

• We need to make an easy-in, which

means a surprise may not be a good idea specifically for my project

• Let the user be themselves. ( it is the problem of Sleep No More, it forces

users to be someone else, and safety is also a big problem)

• Set the rules because the rules mean safety.

• Build expectation (maybe) • From a real artist’s experience, they don’t really have a budget for these

kind of things, and they are looking for opportunities especially for the early stage.


Chapter Three Excepted Impact & Achievement

After clustering my insights, I figured out what featureto meet my user’s need and what I want to achieve in this project


Chapter Four Initial Design & Analyze


Two Initial Ideas

Idea 1: a privacy room to talk about your worries. And for privacy concern, our

system will change your voice. You can also

hear other people’s worries with the change in voice with visual light corresponding 20


Idea 2: Imagine you can get access to fast access to a psychologist anywhere just by

tapping your phone. When you are upset, sometimes all you need is just talking

to someone else. Maybe, an instant AI psychologist can help you. Also, it can

create a private place for you if it feasible.


Feedback from Different Point of View



Generally speaking, they admitted and

loved the value of my research and raised

some questions that need to be answered. Also, they proposed their ideas of a user flow.


Gwen (Art Therapist)

Rachel (Interaction Designer at Google)

Doesn’t like the idea of using AI to treat

How might we design a tool that will

because technology is not capable of doing

access to support for anxiety?

people with a psychological disorder that yet.

Need to Know the cause of the

psychological disorder is more important than that.

Use different medium for different people

provide people with instant, affordable How might we design an immersive

experience that provides affordable support for people with anxiety?

You cannot design for everyone with

anxiety, we need something more clear.

For her, Immersive is like you use your body to do something.

Use before and after survey to measure the success.

Most comment are about PTSD. It cannot be cured. It just helps people to manage their disorder


Thesis Hypothesis

Some students suggested that I should

make my target users more specific since there are different reasons to cause the

isolation problem. I can choose to make my solution to be more casual or more

like a psychological disorder situation. I can think about it by different ages/

occupations. Currently, I am thinking

Another problem is that they may not have connection after the events.

Some participants claim that some

organizers are bad at time management,

and create common topics to start to talk is difficult. It indicates that the quality of

meetup depends on the organization very much.

that my target users could be students

(a bit more practice but may not be very intriguing? I don’t know at that point). After talking with my professor and

will be able to be more honest and vulnerable

doesn’t work very well with some people.

and therefore will form deeper connections

know each other at all, so you don’t know

difficulties with more confidence in their life.

classmates, we found out MeetUp.org

in their interactions with other students

First, they may group people who don’t

with other students and be able to face the

whom to talk to. Besides, they probably just have some small talk instead of deep heartto-heart talking, for those introverted

people, small group is better, and they don’t

want to be contrived to do something. They don’t like to be overwhelmed.


So, my thesis Hypothesis is If lonely students can engage with xyz, they


New Idea and Variation


Individual Storytelling Rooms

1. Since we have qualified psychologists as

We rent a place and divide it into several

operators, we don’t need to worry about too

or nostalgic style. The only way to connect

2. We give them an opportunity to balance

places and decorate the rooms in a dream with others is via phone.

We hire a couple of professional

psychologists to become the operator. The

operators will listen to their people’s stories and try to give them some suggestions or

even retell the story from others to let them feel like they are not alone.

If anyone and she/he is willing to talk to

someone directly, the operator can help to connect them directly.

much about privacy.

individual space and have a heart-to-heart conversation

3. We jump out of the pattern of Sleep No More, which is more innovative. Cons: 1. Budget is always a problem since we need to rent a place, and we don’t know how long this program can run.

2. We might need to think further to

create more opportunity to let participants interact with each other more naturally.

3. In a closed room could be a bit creepy (but may also be intriguing).

As a result, I shifted my idea.


5 Million Dollars Difficult to realize Could be messy Permanent Hummm…

Should ancy and intriguing

Expensive Public Require Confidence

5 or one person

One million People

Private One to one Easy to realize Hummm… Could be temporary 5 Cents


First Design Proposal Introduction

Isolation and high-pressure is a problem

in our society. Even though we have a lot

of approaches such as Meetup, Whatsapp

group, Facebook groups, Telegram group, bar social, some networking sports (like

• hard to have a deep talk. • Preparation could be useful before

people really meet each other in person

• Virtual groups like facebook groups

golf ), Karaoke, there are still a considerable

may not be able to help people, because

I choose to study graduate students as this

And people’s talks are often led by one

number of people feel loneliness. For now,

there is no heart-to-heart experience.

is close to my life.



• People suffer from isolation and stress

different reasons and it is impossible for me to cover all of them For meetup, a

lot of time there are way too few people, which makes you feel it is meaningless to go, and you meet the same people every time.

• The experience depends a lot on the performance of the organizer.

• Forcing people to do meditation and yoga is not reality.

• Competitive feelings /peer pressure

often happens to students (especially international students that just

graduate) darkly, while graduate

students that have real solid working experience and more experienced

students can handle this unhealthy feeling better.

• If you don’t have a common topic to talk • Focusing on your own goal is the key to avoid envy, but it needs practice. about, you will feel very weird to begin the conversation.

• There may be no further connection after the meetup.

• Small talk is useless, while it is really 30

My Goal

My hypothesis

I would like to create a more innovative

If I can provide a space (digital or physical)

comfortable sharing their vulnerability and

able to be more honest and vulnerable in

way to let graduate students feel more

authentically with others, and potentially, another can provide some help or even

build a connection to help him/her to face their life.

At this stage, I decide not to touch the field

for lonely graduate students, they will be

their interactions with other students and therefore will form deeper connections

with the community and be able to face the difficulties with more confidence in their life.

of professional psychology disorder since it has more risks.


Matt is a graduate student who feel

His phone message / email remind him he can

environment, so he inputs his difficulties

student in this school who share the similar

it is difficult to fit in the new and hobbies in the kiosk.

exchange his loneliness problem with another

They keep deep connection with each other after the private talk.

interest and problem with him. They have a

deep talking in a well-decreated priavate room.

If you are suffering from stress problem, you can submit your hobbies, issues, previous experience in the kiosk at school. Our system will find somebody who shares a similar

situation with you (but not exactly the same) and to inform you by email or message. You can choose to schedule an appointment to talk in a private room or not. If you accept, you and that person will go to that room to have a deep heart-to-heart talk. The auto

speaker in that room will guide you when to talk about what at what time, so you know

how to start the conversation. This authentic talk can help reduce stress and help to build

connection. If they are lucky, they can keep this friendship afterward. Since their ages are

different, which can happen a lot regarding graduate students, sharing experience is more interesting than just talking with peers.

First, I used a small room in SVA IxD and use neo-pixel to create some solemn 32

atmosphere and invite people to talk with me and ask their feeling afterward.

Stress reduction is an interesting theme

so I focused my thesis on this for the 1:1

candles, arduino‌

experience. I need to list what questions are important in my concept?

I did this research with this question: will

people be willing to open up to a stranger and how does that conversation go?

How do these conversations start in traditional group therapy?

What is the most important piece for you to test?

Are you looking for 1:1 or group experience?

Are both people real-time? Human or AI TESTING 1:1 intake form for matching?

What does the conversation look like? Is there a discussion guide? Should there be an icebreaker activity? OR Encouraging deep 1:1 conversations together interesting in environment creation

The atmosphere of the space: we can use 33


“Everything we talked here will be

We “rent” a room and invite two

confidential. Each of you will get a chance to

seldom talk to each other even though

with it.

participants since I am interested that they

share and then talk more about what come up

they are from the same country in our

What is going on your life this week?


What hobby do you have in common?

intimate space and ask them the some deep

What challenges have you had this week? Any achievement?

Do you have any plan when you graduate> Do you have anything you are afraid of ? How do you manage that?”


What I found from the first user test:

Prototype Reflections


• Reconsidering the size of the room.

• We did help people to start the

• Try to use different kinds of

conversation, and they are beyond small talk.

Concerns: • How might we help two people

who are totally different to start the conversation?

• Will they feel comfortable?

• Make the time more flexible. • Add more questions in ice-breaking • Light questions, before we go to the real questions

• (Maybe) Light changes with their heartbeat.

• Are targeted users specific enough?



A Second Prototype Test Reflections • Maybe try to make yourself (the facilitator) invisible

• User tranquil music to make an atmosphere

How to create a more comfortable

atmosphere to encourage strangers

to speak? Instead of using the word

“gamification”, I want to make something

deeper, I am researching those example and some current study.

• See other people’s face a bit

And also research the post-experience.

• Have some feedback like physical

Secondly, I will research and collect more

question cards

• What about the post-experience? Some bodies can see a timeline in your mobile app to remind you this moment.

examples of how the current app collects

people’s personal info, while I think this is less challenging than the first one. I decided to make one prototype.

• In order to create a immersive

experience, I used colored light. Some people claim it was too strange, while some felt good.


Students’ painpoints

Feel school theapy is time-consuming

Insights from Therapiest

Students tend to quit in the middle

Insights from Immersive theather workers

Insights from Art Pieces

Bear too much pressure from different aspects

Bear too much pressure from different aspects

Don’t know how the insurance works, and they know it’s not cheap

Privacy protection is important

Students tend to set a too high expectation

A therapy never a a piece of advice but some resource

Don’t user AI therapy. It’s impossible at this point.

Need to know the reason that cause the worry

Translation could be a challenge

You never know what your audence want to do

Don’t force your audience to be someone else

Storytelling is a big deal

Set a rule, because rule means safety.

Test ASAP. Don’t think about budget first.

People need 1 on 1 talking experience

Creating an immersive ambience is important

Most of them are anonymous

It could be fun or deep

Human to human interaction is intriguing

People need feedback about their behavior


Don’t know how to find a suitable people to talk to

So, my initial design HMW statement is

HMW Build affordable immersive 1 on 1 sharing space/experience to help students to find connection and thereby unwind?


Chapter Five Initial User Flow

Second Design Entire Flow Digital Part

Onboarding Part

After adding both the digital part and the physical parts, my concept became clear,

even if the details still needed to be figured out.

1 Imagine you are a new student at school.

During the orientation, you are introduced this service. So when you feel down, you

2 All you need to do is just input your school code.

can use it to find someone struggling with the same things to talk to.


3 Then, you login your school account.

4 Participants can first choose their worries or even customize it, then they can

share availabilities based on their school

schedule. Finally, they can press confirm,

and our system will match this person with someone else with a similar situation and 42


After that, you can see your best match. You are able to see this person’s basic

information, his/her worries and then decide to invite them or not.


If you are lucky, you may also receive other

people’s invitation even if while you are not using this application. You can choose to

accept it or dismiss. If you dismiss, the one

who send the invitation will not receive any feedback.



Physical Part

6 For example, you and your partner book

a session in the immersive talking located beside school therapy room.

There will be a facilitator outside the room

with a walkie-talkie that tell them what will happen so that they will feel comfortable 44

and not be surprised.

Here is what the interior looked like at that I had 3 activities on the desk and the phase.

I decided to choose green as the color of the room since green is closer to nature

chair at that time: Puzzle Game ( with its

answer below the desk), some ice breaking questions as well as the challenge cards.

and calming and also will not feel like a

Also, I used my Mac to play white noise

of color on student emotion

immersive experience.

learning experience. —Source: The influence

and use hue-changing bulb to create an

More important, it can create immersive

talking experience. But I will also play with other colors as well.


Then, they need to select 5 challenge cards. First — Puzzle Game At first, you will be told by the facilitator

Some are Emotion Cards and others are Rational Cards.

that you and your partner have to assemble the puzzle game together.

If they can’t figure it out, I’ll tell them the hint, and after they finish, the dim green light will be a bit brighter.

After that, they will put the card —face

down—on the desk while the color of the room getting dim.

Second — Ice-Breaking Questions

Finally, light up, the facilitator will ask

questions on the sheet to get to know each

and answer the questions. This part will run

Participants just need to ask each other’s


other quicker.

them to face up the card simultaneously 5 times.

8 If you or your partner feels that he / she 7 After they leave the room and open the

wants to say something to you but he / she forgot, they can use our app to realize that by going to History page.

app, they can see school’s overall worry map. The bigger the circle means more people are worried about this issue. By

pressing the bubble, you can see who feels

the same way and you can choose to invite him / her or not.



9 You can see whom you have met before in the room and choose the one to send the message.

11 On this screen, you can use a variety of tools to draw or write something and

then send to the person your meet in the 48

immersive talking room.

Post Experience

12 Ideally, our service will print it out and send it to the receiver since we believe

paper is closer to heart and easier to create delightful feelings.

13 One day, when the student you met

sees the letter you sent him, he will feel supported.


Reasons why I use those tools Why Green Light

The purpose of changeable green light • It is more immersiveand according to a study will allow the participants to concentrate.

• Based on the task and the conversation

in the room, the brightness of this lamp is changeable, which can make them feel connected this space as well.

• Based on The influence of color on

student emotion by Aseel AL-Ayash,1

Robert T. Kane, 2 Dianne Smith,3 Paul Green-Armytage. Green are generally

considered cool, comfortable, relaxing, peaceful, and calming. And as a

designer, I think it can also create an immersive experience


Why Puzzle Game The purpose of this puzzle • Let participants first communicate

with each other by finishing a mission

together, so that they can have a sense of fulfillment and feel easier to talk in the next section.

• After they complete this section, the

brightness of this room will increase, so

they will feel more connected and ready to open their mind to talk.


Why Ice-Breaking Question? The purpose of this puzzle • I want to use them to help participants to find common topic to communicate and to kill dead air.

• To help people feel comfortable and get to know each other before we go the next part.


What about Challenge Cards? I set two kinds of challenge cards ­­­—

I set a rule that you can only answer the

Rational Cards and Emotional Cards —

question on the card instead of asking

one is closer to your real life while the other this question to your partner as you have is more like fantastic cards so that I can

no idea what this person has experienced

give more freedom to my user.

before. We don’t want to invoke any personal trauma.




Describe what’s the last time you cry.

If you have magic, what is the moment you want to make a change in the past?

At what part you think our school is doing a bad job?

What’s the moment you feel you’re close to the death?

Have you ever felt falling apart?

To what extent, money means in your life?

Have you ever felt guilty about something?

What is the biggest misunderstanding you think people project on you?

How far you think you are away from your original dream?

What’s the biggest problem of the current society you think?


Credit: @proxyclick


Feedback from My Users

• Interestingly, in my final user test,

some people loved the heavy questions, because they don’t have a chance to

talk about those things at school while

some people don’t want to talk about it

with a stranger. Some participants even suggest we wear masks and user voice changing technology, so that we can

focus on the conversation per se - that

is what they called pure conversation. I may think about it twice.

• Some users complain that the puzzle

game is too difficult. Next time, I can

print the name of this immersive talking room on the top of the puzzle so they will have some clue to solve it. • They all agree that I created a

wonderfully immersive ambient.

• People want to see the function of the facilitator clearer


Second Body Experience and Chat with Arlo

Coincidently, I got to know this project

and had a chance to experience and talk to

Arlo Hill, who used to be a Broadway actor, this person about my thesis project. now started his new business in immersive experience. Basically, the procedure of

Second Body is you have a partner go to

that place with you and you will be led two separate sealed rooms, and there will be

two different persons act as “Second Body” of you and your partner inside your rooms: they transfer every single word that you and your partner say.

He has tested this project in many places:

different countries, different cities, even at user’s home. He is at the phase of figuring out which audience requires this service most. Now, he thinks it is a couple.


Generally, he loves my ideas. Instead of playing with the cards on

the desk, he wants me to explore more interactive activities.

Maybe somebody can offer some help to students choose what can describe them most in the app in terms of feasibility.

My Next Step

I may need to test more regarding my

question cards in order to avoid trauma. I would find more opportunities in terms of hardware parts to support my experience.


Chapter Six Design Iteration

Psychological similarities study and how

There are some actions you can do when

it impacts my design

those two problems mix.

I did a desk research again and find

• Talking Therapy

some interesting insights based on Beth

• Medication

depression and anxiety are easy to mix.

• Exercise

Salcedo, MD’s study. Mental problem like There are up to 93% of areas of Medicare dollars are spent on patients with for or

more comorbid disorders. Many symptoms

• Relaxation Techniques • Check You Diet

are overlapped like sleep disorders.

• Get Support

Those kinds of people requires more help

• Get organized

than single mental health issues patience. And The National Comorbidity Survey

Replication claims that this problem can

• Make New Goals • Do something meaningful

decrease human lifespan.

• Be creative

Those mental health issues can be

My Immersive Talking Room will aim

associated with other diseases. They include to help create a unique and meaningful gender and age. experience for our students. Since use immersive talking room is the

core part of this experience and based on the previous user test, people seems to

have less difficulty in using the app to find another one , I decided to research and design this part deeper.


How I checked my questions with potential participants.

I refer to the book The fine art of small talk,

Then, I set my question cards with new two

you more comfortable or heavier? . I felt

Personal Questions.

and ask them how they felt, has it made

that choosing the right word was a big deal and tried to collected new ideas as more as possible at this stage.

For the previous questions, they didn’t

feel like there is a big different between Rational Card and Emotion Card. 60

categories: Lateral Thinking Questions and

Interestingly, I find that people from

different gender, or huge age gap. I can take

when they’re talking about a specific thing.

design the algorithm.

different countries have different mindset For example, there are culture differences and religious influence. Some people will

talk about death while some don’t. Thus, I

these differences into consideration when I I used paper cards for the question cards. You can see the questions I tested.

need to find a way to try not to offend any people.

Second, students tend to have more

tolerance when they face another one from a difference country, non-native speaker,



1. What would be the name of your tenth child?

2. What’s the most crazy thing you have ever done?

3. What super power would you want?

4. Do you believe in telepathy, or have you eve have similar feeling of telepathy?

5. Recommend a book or a film you like very much a tell why.

6. Imagine you’re an alien, landing on the Earth, what would seem weird to you?

7. What’s the earliest thing you remember when you are born?

8. Do you harbor any secret dreams for your life?

9. What’s the weirdest or most unique habit you have?

10. What rituals are important to you in your life

1. If you have magic, what is the moment you want to make a change in the past?

2. At what part you think our school can improve?

3. What’s the rosiest moment you have?

4. To what extent, money is important to you

5. What’re the most cherish the moment you want to share?

6. Please a story whatever you want you think is interesting?

7. What is the biggest misunderstanding you think people project on you?

8. What’s the biggest problem of the current society you think?

9. What’s the gift that you always want?

10. What’s the most beautiful thing you see in your life?


1. Imagine your are an astronaut living the space station for 3 months, what’s the first thing you wanna do when you’re back to the Earth?

What’s the thing that bother you most in the recent period?

Share a dream you have dreamed. It can be fun, odd or sad.


2. At what part you think our school can improve?

4. To what extent, money is important to you

6. Please share a story whatever you want you think is interesting?

7. What is the biggest misunderstanding you think people project on you?

8. What’s the biggest problem of the current society you think?

9. What’s the gift you want when when you are young but you never get?

10. What’s the most beautiful thing you see in your life ?

I contacted Student Center and posted some posters in our school campus to

recruit students from different departments to get various points of views.


Lateral Thinking Cards Questions I use Tarot design style to design my cards in order to give them a sense of mystery,

I try to refine it to differentiate from Real Life Cards.

Design of Lateral Thinking Cards


Real Life Cards Questions

Design of Real Life Cards


After I asked more people about their

opinions regarding my questions and the flow, many of them suggest that, instead of commanding people to do xyz, I

should give participants more freedom or some indication to guide them naturally.

Therefore, I designed a map to put all the tools in sequence.


First Prototype of Challenge Cards and Map


I was also thinking of how to utilize more technologies on my experience. I added a

projection in the immersive talking room to project the map’s information on the

wall so that our user will know what time to do what activity.


They will see this projection first because

Then they need to do the puzzle game

the tools on the desk.

information to break the ice.

the facilitator will tell to what to do with

Followed by the ice breaking sheet with a limited time.

first with no need to talk about another’s

Finally, they will talk about the questions on Challenge Cards.


User Test

I have done many user tests, and the feedback were as follow:

• Since the map has already given us

enough information, I don’t think we need that projection.

• Could you give participants some

options to change the color of the light?

• The triangle looks like it is a circulation. 72

Therefore, I change the design of the map to make it doesn’t like a circulation.


I used laser cut to remake the puzzle game

to make it more like a puzzle and also make it less difficult. Plus, I marked on the wood

with some words: You are CONNECTED to let participants feel warm after they

finish the game, and I also put some hints

on the wooden puzzle to tell them what to

do with the next game so they don’t need to always ask the facilitator.

I printed the question sheets out and

folded them with red ribbon to invite 74

people to unfold it.

Another round user feedback: • It’s very nice to get an option to change the light’s color.

• Projection seems to be not necessary,

the map has already contained enough information.

• The map doesn’t look like a circulation anymore.

• I may need to think about reverse the

order of puzzle game and ice-breaking sheets.

• You just let us talk about the thing but not our worries.


Talking About Your Worries Cards So based on previous hundreds of user test, I did design some “Worries Cards” to give

people a chance to talk about their worries. After all, that is the reason they come to

this immersive talking room, and that’s the point.

Share your story What do you

Let’s talk about

about your

know about

my foreseeable


getting a job?


relationship thing if you like

Why do you think How do I handle

What effort have

you still have

the overwhelming

you done to



deal with

even if we have


video chat with your family?


To what degree, you think your classmates are creating stress to you?

For Next Step This time I need to test the whole

experience instead of a single piece.


Chapter Seven App Design & Entire Flow Test

Logo / Branding I want to call this service InterLife, which means invite another one to your life. Below are my two logo design.



After getting some experienced designers’

logo on the right can hit my idea closer —

the right more as they think the circle

life. Also, this line-style logo can speak to

opinion, they tend to like the logo on

on the left is too much: the two “I” have drop shadow and the gradient of blue

happiness and invite another one to your my card ornament design.

color especially on the top left seems to be unnecessary, while the four - leaf clover


Current Entire Flow (Focusing on App flow at this point) Students can get to know how this service works by

• Orientation meeting, • School official website • School new email.

First, student will see the welcome page

. Stressed or isolated students will have a

basic idea about what this service about. By inputing school code, this app can know

what school you are at and the school logo will appear on the top of the app. 80

And then, Just simply login with your school account

Then, people can

People can see

home page,

settings to decide if

see their profile which contains their worries

and InterLife

Room Calendar

in order to match their needs and

their privacy

they wish to appear in other people’s visit history, or receive other

people’s message.


Then, people can see their profile home page,

which contains their worries

and InterLife

Room Calendar

By swiping up,

you can see the availabilities of InterLife

Immersive Talking Room.

in order to match their needs and availability.


Our system maths this students with someone who

share the similar

situations and the same availability.

• Then they get to know each other in a limited time

• They go to the final crazy card game to

talk about their real life and real worries.

Students can see the

Students can see the

after they leave the

after they leave the

school Worries Map room. The bigger the circle means more

people have this mental issues.


• They first play the puzzle game

school Worries Map room. The bigger the circle means more

people have this mental issues.

Students can see others’ profile and decide to

invite that person for

Go back to his home page.

next experience or not.

Users are able to see

If this person forget or

before in the room.

in the room, they can

whom have they met

want to say something

use message function to

write or draw something to that person.


Here is the artboard

providing various tools.

Students can choose to send by mail or email.

We give them snail mail option because even

though, lots of people

still agree that tangible

things are more durable and emotional.

It can create more

impact on d the receiver.


The Actual Test

the prototype to act like a real app walked

I went to New York University Game

Center to test to entire flow, and I used

“ I am confused about the ‘history”’page. Is that means the profile I have met before?”

through the entire flow and let them imagine there was the real room.

“ I don’t know how to open the scheduling

card. I keep tapping it but nothing happen.”

But I love the idea of sending letter to another as post experience.

“ I understand what the school Worries Map

“ The small invite cards on the two side on the

interesting to find another one to for the next

know the ‘Next’ button means.”

means as well as the size of the bubbles. It’s experience.”

screen seems to unnecessary since I already


“ We still feel a little strange to play a puzzle

“ I think you should also allow people to ask

know each other first. Plus, I don’t find a huge

Challenge Card part.”

game with a stranger first rather than get to difference between ”

“ It helps me re-center myself and think about the things besides my worries”

the questions to your partner during the

“ By using this service, it helped us opened

their mind step by step and start to each other. And they love talking about questions that they dear not to talk in the public space.”


Things they like

Things I need to concern

• Find someone who has similar worries

• How to make the schedule flow easier.

• Game on the map — but I figured out

• Change the color of light. I found it

that more people want the quick Q/A comes first.

• Immersive/unique talking experience • Indication on the map • More freedom

varied a lot. I would give users some

options to choose before they go into the room.

• Change the name of Lateral Thinking

Card to Crazy Card since this name is more different from Real Life Card.

• Dim light — never too bright light • Post-experience



I analyze and adsorb my users’ feedback and better my user experience.

Analyzed and adsorb my users’ feedback and better my user experience.

Deleted the unnecessary two side cards to diminish the confusion.

Add an interaction that tapping can also

invoke the calender card while you can also see something appear on the bottom to

indicate you can do something with that.


Also, I reverse the order of Quick Q/A and the Puzzle game as many people claimed that they wanted to know the people

they’re talking to first and then play the game.


Chapter Eight Final Flow & Conclusion and Next Steps

Entire Flow Now we come to the final design and you

can see the change I have made after many

When students feel gloomy, they can use InterLife to find someone at the same school to talk to.

user tests as well as the entire user journey. Students can get to know this service by school orientation lecture, school

newsletter and school official website. They are told that this InterLife Talking Room is located beside the therapy.

Students can use the application InterLife to find someone that resemble them to

schedule a meeting with that person. And Orientation Meeting

this experience is different from traditional therapy.

School Newsletter

School Official Website 91

Sean inputs the code to know the school’s

name. School’s logo will be

showed on the top of it.

Here is the story of Sean, when he feels down, he downloads InterLife to find

someone who share the similar situation to talk to.

Sean logs in

with his school account.


After that, he is able to view his profile.

Sean selects his worries.

He can always

Then, he see the

change this

Calender and

checked and

Privacy Settings to decide if he

wants to appear

in other people’s

InterLife Room chooses that one works best for him.

acquaintance history or

receive others’ messages.


They go the InterLife Room and will have a basic idea of this room with the help of a facilitator.

InterLife system matches him with someone who has the

similar situation with him and has the same availability, who turns out to be Nancy.

They find that there is a map on the table to 94

indicate to them what to do next.

At first, they need to select a dim color in the room, which has fragrance and

white noise to create immersive talking experience.

Here is the map

I design an InterLife Challenge cards box to make it more tidy and mysterious


The participants first unfold the Quick Q & A and get to know each other in a fun and quick way.


Then they see the scattered puzzle pieces.

Instincts tells them they need to assemble them and they do. They see the words, “Your are connected� and feel warm.


Finally, they open the InterLife Challenge Card Box, which contains crazy

cards, real-life cards as well as Talking About Your Worries. They also see a hint, “the rule is on the previous game.�


They then start a lively conversation‌


When they leave the room and open the

app, they can see the overall school Worries Map and see other people’s profiles.


Sean can see

(I neglect going

their similarity to

but just jump to the

Fausto’s profile and decide if he wants to invite him for next

back to the list part home page).

experience or not.

He visits whom he

It occurs to Sean

the room.

say something to

has met before in

that he wants to Nancy, while he didn’t.


Sean uses

various tools to draw his wish and send to Nancy.

We allow the user to select send by mail or email. We give those

the snail mail options because it’s closer to heart.

Then a new experience circle can begin.


Sean decides send by snail mail, so one day, when Nancy check her mailbox, she feel delightful to recall this memory.


Next Step

• This service can indeed help stressed

• Different schools will provide different

students especially isolated students to find someone to talk to.

• Finding someone who shares the

similar situation and talk about their

worries together can give them a sense of power.

• Proper guided interaction is the key to help people to begin the conversation.

• Questions on the card should be

designed carefully in order to avoid trauma.

types of room for me, so I need to tailor my immersive talking room for that.

• Showcase my idea to more schools and some potential investors.

• Thinking about leveraging more

technologies on the map to make it more compelling.

• Do more user tests and consult to more professional therapies in order to get more appropriate questions.

• People tend to know each other first, then cooperate.

• Post-experience gets great feedback on this project.


References and Credits

DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition by Marsha M. Linehan Flow experience and the fundation of optimal psychological by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi What Mental Health Statistics Can Tell Us https://health.usnews.com/conditions/mentalhealth/articles/what-mental-health-statistics-can-tell-us Mental Health Crisis for Grad Students https://www.insidehighered.com/ news/2018/03/06/new-study-says-graduate-students-mental-health-crisis Frankenstein AI: A Future Shaped by Many by Rachel Ginsberg https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=tIKmShMgZkI 2019 Immersive Design Industry Annual Report by 2019 Immersive Design Industry Annual Report The fine art of small talk by Debra Fine The Influence of Color on Student Emotion, Heart Rate, and Performance in Learning Environments by Aseel AL-Ayash,1* Robert T. Kane,2 Dianne Smith,3 Paul GreenArmytage4 Computer are Theatre by Brenda Laurel Second Body Project by Arlo https://secondbody.co/ What Is Text Therapy, and Does It Work? by Shannon Palus https://thewirecutter.com/blog/ text-therapy/ PostSecret by Frank Warren https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostSecret Story Corps https://storycorps.org/ Playback by Jonathan Fox http://www.playbackcentre.org/training-program/faculty/ The Viewpoints by Anne Bogart & Tina Landau 104

Inscape https://inscape.life/pages/studio

Thanks Pete Vigeant & Eric Forman This thesis project cannot be possible without your help

Rodel Oiga Thanks for your tremendous technical support

Special thanks to: Jacques Foottit

Rafael Wagner Poloni Shuchen Wang

Leanne Carroll

Kenrick Ramsay Gwen Kurtz

Rachel Balma Shruti Arora

Sophia Deng

You (Seth) Zhang Bowen Shen

Scott Zachau

Tianci (Frank) Gong Kaitlin Carano

SVA POD and DIS Students NYU Game Center people

And anyone who have helped me with the research and the user test