This graduation thesis is a continuation of a previous thesis written for Somnox BV. Somnox Mini was developed to help stressed millennials cope with stress through guided breathing exercises. Several benefits can be gained from daily usage (i.e. better sleep, stress resilience and mood). This project, therefore, focused on the research question: how to design the user interaction with Mini to ultimately form a habit of performing breathing exercises?

Inspired by meaningful gamification (Nicholson, 2015) and implementation intentions (Gollwitzer et al., 2010) a redesigned concept for Mini’s companion app was formulated. This app allowed users to track their breathing performance, select exercises from a meaningful sequence and make implementation intentions. Functional prototypes of Mini and its companion apps were developed and tested in a longitudinal study of 10 weeks (n=8).

Following the longitudinal study, explorative data analysis was performed on the gathered data (i.e. exercise logs and survey answers). This revealed phenomena and questions that required in-depth questioning. Semi-structured data-informed interviews were conducted to gather information on the user experience and motivations of the participants. Thematic analysis was performed on the transcriptions of these interviews to identify points to iterate with.

The final iteration of Mini’s companion app allows users to freely choose their exercises. When formulating a custom exercise users are asked to make an accompanying implementation intention. For these implementation intentions, users receive early reminders. Logs provided by the companion app contain actionable insights for the user to improve with. A new community tab provides users with a source of inspiration for exercises and indirect social pressure to nudge them to perform an exercise if they haven’t done so yet.

Master Thesis: TU Delft repository