Especially in these times it is important to be aware of your relationship with your screens. IDLE is a friendly break app on your desktop for the people who can get lost in their work and need reminders to move, drink or rest their eyes. The app is a digital wellness buddy who is a helpful reminder to take care of yourself. A little bit of self care to help you create the healthy screen habit you want. Keep the control while getting the nudges that you need.
There will be a presentation followed by a Q&A. Make sure to leave any questions or comments you have about the project in the chat window. I will try to react and answer them during the stream. The stream will be in Dutch.
As a designer I’m interested in digital wellbeing. The world is full of designs that trick our brain into doing things we never intended to do, but how can we use this power for our wellbeing?
Inspired by Google's series of Digital Wellbeing Experiments I started working on something to help with something I personally experienced problems with: work breaks. I tend to be very focused when I work. I forget the time and to take care of myself. I’ve seen and tried a lot of break programs but always got frustrated with the notifications, the general tone and the lack of smart design. My goal for my graduation project was to create software that makes you transition organically between work and time for yourself.
Eventually IDLE ended up somewhere in the middle of a commercial product and a design experiment. A metaphor came to mind that fitted perfectly with my approach: productivity is like sitting in the sun. It’s nice and energizing but if you are not careful and do not get out in time, you will start to get burned.
But how is IDLE different from other break software? The first thing I wanted to tackle was creating a visual distinction between work and selfcare. By looking at the most professionally used programs I wanted to create the big visual difference between IDLE and the rest of your work apps. This is where I stepped away from the perfect symmetric windows and found my color palette.
Next it was time to really listen to what my target audience needed. By talking to a therapist and conducting a bunch of in-depth interviews with people about their workflow, screen-usage and brake habits I found that there are three types of people that tend to get lost in their work:
Perfectionist, gets lost in the details.
Pusher, gets focused on work until it is done.
Pleaser, forces themselves to keep working because of the expectations of others.
Each of these three types has their own set of needs. Eventually I ended up focusing most on the Pusher and their need to get nudged to step away from their work.