A Design Exploration for Presenting Complex
Data in a Stress-Free Way
Sometimes clients approach Allovus with projects that are at early exploration stages. This is some of our favorite work, as it allows our team to flex their design muscles with the same goals of surprising and delighting clients we always strive for, with a little more freedom to play with concepts.
In this instance, our client specialized in the study of stress, and the impact it has on our daily lives. Their hypothesis was that in this era of human connectivity to digital devices there is a unique opportunity to help people better understand their relationship with stress. Their concept was both simple and profound—to create an app that runs seamlessly in the background across many of the devices we interact with daily, which then helps people measure and manage stress.
DASHBOARD TO A LESS STRESSFUL FUTURE
But the natural follow-on question was: how do you present complex data to a user in an easy-to-understand way that doesn’t cause more stress itself?
The challenge with extensive data is how best to interact with it. Daily interactions with cell phones, laptops, exercise calculators, watches, and applications provide a huge amount of data, currently spread across multiple apps and platforms. Finding the right types of displays that are informative but not overly complex was a core
challenge. Other teams our client engaged with previously had provided design approaches, but those solutions seemed data heavy and complex.
Our goal was to provide concepts for a wellness dashboard that was easier and more positive, providing at-a-glance visuals of the events and patterns that trigger stress, and tools that help the user take actions based on those findings.
Early explorations quickly bumped into the reality of information overload. How many views made sense without overwhelming the user?
Data displays needed to be approachable and invite user interaction and discovery on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Key information regarding highs, lows and opportunities for growth would be bubbled up to the user as they progressed.
A modular layout invites users to explore the information at their own pace.
Expanded “daily average” view
The expanded view enable users to decrease the amount of information provided when desired.
Concentric circles indicate the impact key events have on the user. More circles equate to greater impact. Hovering on these provide details users can consider in order to identify the true impact these events have on their day.
Detailed view of my day and key events associated with stressors.
Detailed daily views provide a chronological cause and effect view, enabling the user to see how previous events impact successive events.
Monthly view indicating low and high stress levels per day with averages.
Ability to zoom into selected areas to view details found within those days.
Zoom and location icon explorations for use within app.
BUBBLING UP DETAILS
As the user explored the information on the dashboard, we looked for ways in which we could invite deeper analysis of the data. Hover states allowed the user to gain insight into a module even before clicking to explore more.
Suggestions and analysis explained to the user what they were seeing. For example, by presenting a collection of the activities performed that helped to reduce stress, it positively reinforced those behaviors, and then encouraged the user to schedule more activities like this.
These details, when presented in fun, easy-to-parse ways encouraged users to make positive choices regarding stress management.
SHADES AND TONES
Once we had a handle on dashboard layout and presentation, it was time to shift gears into exploring color. Again, we realized that complexity was confounding. Initial thoughts of bright, dynamic, and multi-color palettes were quickly scrapped as too overwhelming. We settled on employing shades and tones of a calming color, violet. By pairing that with a single complementary shade of mint green as an accent color, we were able to thread the needle: a pleasant, non-activating color scheme that provided additional information to the user, without overwhelming them.
THE JOY OF DESIGN
Initial solutions and designs are often complex. In a good design exploration process, there is time and space to refine and simplify, ultimately arriving at an elegant and easy-to-use solution.
The client team was delighted with our work, from concept through execution.
How can we take the stress out of your life and bring you joy? Connect with us, and let’s get started!
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