Accountable gets people to achieve their goals with their friends.

Project Overview

Problem: It's hard to keep focused on goals people want to complete, especially when phones are so enticing as a distraction.

Solution: Help people use their phones to achieve goals through having friends hold you accountable.


UI/UX Designer, Software Developer


9 Weeks


Figma, Invision, React Native, Google Forms, Amplitude, Expo

Design Process


Literature Review

To become more familiar with our domain of interest and get a better understanding for work already done in our chosen problem space, we did a literature review of five different HCI or HCI-related papers. From each paper, we documented the main takeaways from each paper along with any gaps in information that we felt was missing.

Competitve Review

While completing our literature review, we also conducted a competitive review of three apps that exist in our domain of interest: Forest, Calm, and Moment. For each of these apps, we took screenshots of different parts of the app, took note of the positive and negative reviews of the app, marked down the pros and cons in the categories of user needs, interaction design, and visual design, and wrote down any features users were interested in adding to each mobile application.

After conducting this research, we identified five research questions that we wanted to answer based off our findings from our literature review and competitive analysis:

  1. Why do some people procrastinate with their mobile phones while others do not?
  2. How do people use their phones vs other instruments to facilitate productivity?
  3. What environment (time and place) facilitates people's productivity?
  4. Why is there demand for productivity tools whereas some people do not actively seek it?
  5. What has prevented people from using productivity tools (e.g. Screentime)?

We proceeded to try and answer these questions via a series of field studies over the course of one week. Those field studies include: a home tour with a Stanford student in their dorm that they usually conduct work in and four interviews and contextual interviews at the Blue Bottle, a well known café in the Stanford area.

Home Tour

First, we conducted a home tour with a Stanford student, Matthew, who mainly used his room and no digital devices when he was trying to get work done and stay productive, which helped us answer a part of question two and question three. We recorded Matthew in his workspace and asked him to describe how he got work done while using the think-out-loud protocol. We also asked if he could demonstrate a scenario where he would get distracted and what he would do to try and get re-focused on the work he was trying to get done.

Home Tour Video


Finally, for each person we interviewed at the Blue Bottle, we recorded the audio of each conversation. We created a screener to gauge if each person we wanted to interview met the criteria for our target demographic and a guide for each interviewer to follow in order to make sure we got the information we needed to answer our research questions. The guide included a series of questions about what types of productivity tools each interviewee had on their devices, how they used them, why they came to that specific environment to work, and their experiences with non-digital productivity tools. When asked about the digital productivity tools each interviewee used, we asked them to use the think-out-loud protocol to guide us through an example of how they use to device to stay productive and/or when a device has distracted them and how they got out of that distraction.

Participant Profiles

After conducting our home tour, surveys, and interviews, we made participant profiles of different participants in the study and wrote down each participant's working style and the challenges they faced in order to get a better understanding of the types of users we could be helping and how they help answer our previous research questions.

Participant Profile Example

Define and Ideate

Affinity Mapping

In order to analyze the data we received into different themes, we first transcribed all of our recorded conversations and noted down all the qualitative data from our surveys. We then went through the interviews and home tour as a team to try and find direct quotes that helped answer our research questions and wrote them down on individual note cards. Afterwards, we conducted an affinity map analysis in which we grouped different quotes into groups of five based on their similarities. We then wrote on post-it notes the themes of each group and tried to find the pattern amongst these themes. After conducting this affinity map, we brainstormed app ideas based upon the user needs and themes found from the affinity map analysis and the user personas crafted right after the home tour and interviews.

Brainstorm Meeting

Elevator Pitches

After deciding on an app idea, my team developed a three minute elevator pitch that documented our project domain, our research and key findings, our app idea and how it's derived from the data from our study, our target audience, and how we planned to reach out to our target market.

Elevator Pitch Video

With these ideas in mind, we moved onto quickly producing some usability tests with different scopes of fidelity in order to test out three key tasks we wanted users to be able to complete. These usability studies helped us find out if certain parts of the design were confusing and what we could do to make users have the best experience on our future mobile application.

Prototype and Test

Low-Fi Prototypes

We first did a round of usability testing with a low-fi prototype. We decided on four tasks that we wanted users to be able to accomplish and built out the screens according to those tasks.

Task One: Create a Goal

Task Two: Complete a Goal

Task Three: Reward Your Friend, John

Task Four: View the leaderboard

For each of the prototypes, we had one team member be in charge of running the prototype and one team member be in charge of taking notes while facilitating the test. From these initial low-fi prototypes, we found the following problems with our prototype:

Medium-Fi Protoypes

Next, we made medium-fi prototypes in Figma based off of our key findings from the previous usability test and did a second round of testing using Invision to make the prototype interactive. We tested these designs with two more participants.with the same four tasks.

For these prototypes, we had one person facilitating the experiment and another person taking notes about what users did during each test. Here are the key findings from our second round of usability testing.

Demo the prototype here

Minimum Viable Prototype

After reading through our key findings from our medium-fi usability tests, we started to code a minimum viable prototype that we could test on users in the real world. We coded the app over the course of four weeks using React Native and Firebase. Expo was used to test the app on our phones as we were coding it, and Amplitude was used to track the app's analytics so that we collect data on users as they were using our app.

Field Study

After creating our minimum viable prototype, we conducted a field study over the course of ten days to see how our app would be received in the real world. The goal of the field study was to answer the following questions: After doing a small amount of marketing through Facebook, we acquired a little over 80 downloads, and of those 80 downloads, 60 users made an account with the app. Using Amplitude

  1. Do accountability systems help people achieve goals better?
  2. Does a closed, private network beget the right amount of accountability from a variety of goals.

We did a small amount of marketing through Facebook and acquired a little over 80 downloads, and of those 80 downloads. Out of those 80 downloads, 60 users made an account with the app. Using amplitude. we tracked users' demographics, interaction flows, process funnels, and performed a retention analysis. We also did a content analysis of the types of goals created on the app alongside with 3 semi-structured interviews from users of the app.

Users Acquired Through Friends' Invitation

Check-In Funnel

User Demographics

Retention Analysis

Here are some of our main key findings from our study:

The rest of the findings from our study along with a more detailed explanation of our methods for this entire project can be found in a paper written by my research partner and I here.

Next Steps

Here are clear steps that can be taken to improve the design of this app so that users have a better experience and are more likely to continue to use the app:

After making these changes, I would see how our current userbase would react to the changes and continue to do more testing to try and figure out any more problems users have that I could improve or any additional features that can be added to the app to improve it.

© 2021 Jourdann Fraser