Challenge 9: Revisiting InScentive

by baltringer

For this challenge I chose to revisit Challenge 4, where we were tasked to design a product to help combat procrastination. Originally, our product was InScentive, a device that reminds users with smells. The link to our original submission can be found here (http://desirabilitylab.com/2018/02/26/challenge-4-inscentive/). One issue I found with the first iteration of InScentive is that it didn’t serve a purpose beyond setting reminders. In general, I tend to believe that specificity is good–however, with a product like InScentive that is meant to be used habitually, I saw that users may often lose awareness of InScentive if there is not enough consistent exposure. Thus, in order to increase the usage of InScentive and to maintain the original use of associating emotions and smell, I chose to implement the reminder feature on a digital clock. This gives the device an everyday presence with the user, and the clock can also be associated with time management, playing into the theme of fighting procrastination. The core of the reminders remains the same: when the user sets a reminder with our device, it will emit a pleasant odor as a reward for the user feeling inspired and proactive. Later, when the reminder time comes, the device will emit the same odor in an attempt to invoke the same motivation in the user. However, instead of using a knob to set the reminder time, I chose to replace it with a circular dial to eliminate clutter. I would expect this iteration to have more presence with users. The risk to adding a clock is that users may associate InScentive as just another timepiece. A potential further area of investigation might be to experiment with how the shape of the device influences usage. I would expect that perhaps keeping a more unique shape, like in the original design, would help drive home the point that InScentive is meant for fighting procrastination. Given more time, this would be the first area that I would research.

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