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My Golden Time

A research project to learn how a mobile app can help busy people in reclaiming their time and staying focused on what matter most.



My GoldenTime is a mobile app that helps busy people in reclaiming their time and staying focused on what matter most.


The user research and design phases were completed in 6 weeks by me myself.


The Problem

  • People find they are difficult to maintain a work-life balance

  • They have no good method to manage tasks

  • They cannot focus on working on important tasks

  • They find they are having low efficiency when performing their motivations

Users and Audience

These are the primary characteristics of the product’s users and audience:

  • Age 18 to 50

  • Work for >30 hours a week

  • Have experience or express interest in using web or mobile app to track time or management tasks

  • Manage their tasks easily

  • Make a dedicated time to tackle their tasks

Stay focused on conducting the tasks of their motivations


6 weeks


Helps busy people in reclaiming their time and staying focused


I was the lead user experience researcher and designer and I was undergoing mobile app product development by researching how people are facing the issue of freeing extra time daily and performing tasks that they think they’re meaningful and designing a product that would resolve the issues for them.


My role in this project include:

  • User research & synthesis

  • Design & ideate

  • Personas

  • Storyboards

  • User flows

  • User journey map

  • Wireframing & sketching

  • Style Guide

  • User interface design

  • Prototyping

  • Conducting usability test

Image by UX Indonesia


Process and What I Did

I follow the five-stage Design Thinking model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford ( that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems.

It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing.

Image by Icons8 Team

HMW simplify the task management process for users like Trello but with better reminder function?

HMW provide useful reminders for users in a less annoying way?

HMW help users to plan and execute their motivations?

HMW help users form a habit to keep on performing their motivations?

HMW help users to stay focused on their important task?


My research synthesis and design processes include:

  • Defining the scope and problem space

  • Conducting user interviews

  • Persona

  • Journey

  • Use Cases

  • Wireframing, low-fidelity and high-fidelity mockups

  • Interactive prototyping

  • Conducting guerrilla usability tests

  • Conducting usability tests

In this research project, I planned and conducted 5 interviews and 15 moderated usability tests and 20 unmoderated usability tests with potential users.​

Primary & Secondary Research

Three Main Areas

Area 1

I was interested in learning how people are currently spending their time daily, and any pain points or problems they are experiencing against the use and management of time.

Area 2

I wanted to understand the motivations behind why people want to perform some meaningful tasks out of their busy time.

Area 3

I wanted to learn about people’s habit of relaxing, waking up and exercising.

The research would lead to generating insights to facilitate the direction of the upcoming website or mobile app planning and production.

Heuristics analysis and competitive research were also conducted.

Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design

3 of Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design are applied to guide the evaluation.

  • Visibility of system status

  • Consistency and standards

  • Aesthetic and minimalist design

User surveys and user interview were conducted in order to learn more about:

  • How people are currently spending their time daily

  • Any pain points or problems they are experiencing

  • Understand their motivations

  • Learn about people’s habit

  • Generate insights to facilitate the direction

  • Fitting the product to the market

The Discovery

I tried to start making design decisions and visualizing a solution based on what I’d learned from my research during this Discovery stage.

An overview of my users

I’d conduct interviews with five of my users to understand the pain points and behaviour towards time, tasks and focus management. Each participant session will last for 30-45 minutes and will include a short briefing, an interview, and a debriefing.



Videos were be recorded using the video conferencing channels’ function with the interviewee’s consent.


The interviews help me gain a deeper understanding of my users’ behaviour and their reason why they do what they do.


Affinity map

To better synthesises my users’ quote, pain points, feelings, thinkings and to facilitate me to have a better organisation of my ideas, I used sticky notes to record down every key points from the user interview sessions and created an affinity map.






































Empathy map


I came up with two empathy maps as a visual way to organize my insights, observations, and quotes I’d collected from the user interviews to better understand my user’s pain points, goals, feelings, thoughts, and behaviours.

There are basically two types of users finding difficulties in:

Managing their tasks

  • Pain: Don't want to spend time looking at and managing the to-do list

  • Pain: Not good at prioritizing tasks (Urgent vs Important)

  • Wish: Make a dedicated time to tackle the task (Feel satisfied on completion)

  • Wish: quickly record tasks (with due dates and priority)

Staying focused

  • Pain: Main distraction are phone notification and from social media. Limiting distraction is a big challenge

  • Wish: Self-development, increase productivity and perform their interests

  • Wish: Feeling satisfied when they’d completed the important tasks






















I’d created two types of personas representing two particular types of users. As a UX designer, these personas facilitate me to answer the question, “Who am I designing this product for?”


Personas also help me to move forward and identify goals that need to be met to provide a good user experience for specific user groups and to make user-centred decisions during the various steps in my design process.





Defining the problem

I decide to tackle the pain points of my users.  The most important two pain points I decided to redefine are:

Pain point #1: People are too busy and it’s difficult to for them manage the tasks and to make time to perform their motivations

Pain point #2: People are being distracted and it’s difficult for them to stay focused performing their motivations


Highlights from my user story process

Higher Priorities (for MVP)

  1. As a user, I want to manage my various tasks into list easily so that I can have better understanding of my to-do items.

  2. As a user, I want to prioritize my tasks so that I can perform important tasks on time.

  3. As a user, I want to get friendly reminders so that I can form a habit of sticking to complete my tasks.

  4. As a user, I want to stay focused when performing my tasks so that I can increase my productivity.

Lower Priorities

  1. As a user, I want to work with peers so that I can be motivated during my focus session.

  2. As a user, I want to review my focus sessions so that I can understand my work performance.



User Story Map

Before sketching out the specific designs, I created user a story map to facilitate me identifying the functional needs of my product. It also helps to get a better idea of the product requirements of my design and defining a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).




Evolution of my Design

Mood Board

Later on, I create a mood board that helps me to compile inspirational elements (like colours, images, and patterns) that will help me in defining my ideas, setting the tone of my product and acting as a guided reference throughout the design process.



Style Guide - Typography & Color Palette

A style guide was created to keep my designs unified as when I make design decisions and build mockups.  I choose the colours of Moody Blue and Sunset Yellow as the main colours because I like these colours representing the mood of my products and also it is natural and matches with the meaning of my project named My Golden Time.


For typography, I chose Raleway as the heading font because it is friendly but prominent. I chose Lato because it is being displayed clearly and naturally as body text.


Low Fidelity Mockup & User Wireflow

It was the time for me to start sketching.  Sketching is a quick way to make my ideas tangible so that they can be tested and adjusted before I make higher fidelity versions of my designs.


Guerilla usability test

After sketching out the various screens of my design, I conduct guerilla usability tests with 10 users to get initial feedback on designs I’d made. For me, I think it’s a quick, cost-effective way to learn what users like about my designs and what aspects of my design are a bit less intuitive. The result helped me flag certain aspects of my work that need to be adjusted.


Here is a summary of the follow-up items from my guerilla usability test result:

  • Streamline the task management workflow to be more simple

  • Enhance the Call-to-action 

  • User Interface to avoid confusion

  • Enhance the Focus Timer User Interface


High Fidelity Mockup

I create the high fidelity mockups which contain all kinds of UI decisions like colour and typography to make my product looks similar to what it is when it's completed.
























I created the first round of high fidelity prototype for my mobile app in order to get ready for the first round of usability test. It facilitate me to identify aspects of my product that could be improved in other rounds of design enhancements and ensure that my product meets the needs of my users.


















Usability test

The first round of usability test was conducted as evaluative research that would help me to understand the kinds of problems users might run into when interacting with my product, as well as how satisfied my users will be with the product.


The goal of my usability test is to:

  • The participants would perform the tasks from signing up to managing tasks and starting a focusing session

  • Discover and potential defects of the prototype and provide us feedback on the flow


Both Remote Unmoderated Usability Testings and Remote Moderated Usability Testings will be held remotely with 10 participants (unmoderated) 4-5 participants (moderated). Each participant session will last 20-30 minutes and will include a short briefing, a few instructions and tasks to be provided to participants for performing against some prototypes and to eliminate the potential for misunderstanding.


A remote prototype test link via the Maze platform will be shared with the unmoderated participant during the session.


A remote prototype test link via the Lookback platform will be shared with the moderated participant during the session.



  • Issue #1:  Users like the “Tasks Management” functionality but many of them also find it difficult to use; also, some users think the time of the Due Date is important for them

  • Issue #2:  Most users like the timer in the Focus Session and but think the timer control icon is not big enough

  • Issue #3:  Some users can’t load the onboarding screens promptly; some users thinking the onboarding screens are redundant and actually they would skip them

Usability Issues by Priority


The Refinement

After refining the design of my prototype based on the first round of usability test, I conducted the second round of usability test with another five participants.



I got good feedback from the second round result by asking a few follow-up questions to my users:
My Golden Time - Slide Deck - Ricky Tam.
My Golden Time - Slide Deck - Ricky Tam
My Golden Time - Work-in-Progress Presen
My Golden Time - Work-in-Progress Presen
User Story Map - My Golden Time (2).jpg
My Golden Time - Work-in-Progress Presen
My Golden Time - Work-in-Progress Presen
My Golden Time - Work-in-Progress Presen



Outcomes and Results

During the 6 weeks conducting this research and design project, I consolidated key research themes, participant quotes, users’ pain points, users’ wishes and analytics findings. I also worked on creating conceptual wireframes, mockups and interactive prototype for key parts of the product experience.


Learnings and Retrospect

I am going to write an article in my Medium blog section about this project because I learned so much about user experience research, design and some challenges I had to solve.


The design of the My Golden Time mobile app has had a positive impact on the task management and focus timer experience. The overall ratings from the latest round of usability research indicate that it is designed as good enough to further evolve into t a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).


However, as users' behaviour, habit or culture might change over time, research and design interaction should be continued to be applied to the further development of the product. I'll continue to conduct such an iterative design process by applying the Lean UX methodology to make the process to be more efficient and the outcome to be more effective.

My Golden Time - Ricky Tam - Guerilla Us
My Golden Time - Ricky Tam - Guerilla Us
My Golden Time - Ricky Tam - Guerilla Us
My Golden Time - Ricky Tam - Guerilla Us
My Golden Time - Ricky Tam - Guerilla Us

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