Jayanth Prathipati

Jhana: An exploration of the Experience Sampling Method

Learn insights about how focused you are throughout the day.

About This Project

With the advent of wearables and smart phones, tracking your physical activity has been getting easier. However, tracking your mental focus has not changed. we wanted to explore how we could use the devices that are in our pockets and on our wrists to help us better track what we are doing and see how that could change our behaviors over time.

Domain: Mobile Health/Quantified Self
Skills: prototyping, usability testing, contextual inquiry, interviewing, illustration, iOS+watchOS development (Obj-C)
Tools: Sketch, Xcode
Role: Lead Researcher, Designer, and Back End Developer


We built an Apple Watch and iPhone app called Jhana that allowed users to self-report their attention. Users get notifications to fill out small 5 second surveys throughout the day on their watch and their phone and get to view graphs and additional insights on their surveys in the corresponding iPhone app.


We performed a literature review on quantified-self technologies as well as doing some competitive analysis on what is currently on the market.

We also interviewed students who tracking them own activity in various ways such as using Fitbits, Apple Watch, or even manual diary entries like MyFitnessPal and used this data to construct an affinity diagram as well a hierarchical task analysis.

We gained some key insights from this research:

  1. Primarily, we found out that user’s felt that entering in activity in apps like MyFitnessPal had a lot of mental strain and felt stressed out when filling out this information.
  2. In addition, we found that once users settled into a routine, they didn’t find these devices as important anymore as they already knew what insights the Fitbit or MyFitnessPal app would tell them.


We built low-fi paper prototypes and built a marvel prototype to test our interface. We quickly found that our data entry process was fairly straight forward and didn’t get many complaints. We then moved to a higher fidelity prototype so that we could test some of our interactions on iPhone and Apple Watch. We wanted to make extensive use of swiping on both of these devices since it is a natural and intuitive gesture.

In addition to intuitive gestures, We wanted to make use of the hardware features of the Apple Watch, such as the digital crown (knob on the side of the Apple Watch) and make the app feel at home on a user’s home screen rather than a research project.

To bring these ideas to fruition, I designed a swiping leikert scale to make it easier and delightful for users to select how focused they were. Here are examples of this interaction on iPhone and Apple Watch.

We built out our iPhone app using the interactions we learned from these interactions. We used Core Data to create a local database and made use of a lot of App Kit features such as storyboards and auto-layout to make our app compatible with all screen sizes.


We ran a 2 day user study to study how using a wearable device would change user’s attention. We did pre and post study interviews to understand our users and get their opinions on the product. In addition to that, I integrated Flurry Analytics into our iPhone and WatchOS app in order to log usage information of the app such as how long users took in order to fill out a survey. We initially thought that users would favor having the combination of an Apple Watch and iPhone and would be able to perform tasks faster. However, we came to some interesting conclusions from our findings.

  1. We found out that users “felt” that the watch app was much easier to log entries with….however, from our Flurry dashboard we found that the time difference between the watch and the iPhone apps was very small
  2. We found that users were in fact changing their behavior based after using our app. One user reported to us that she changed her studying habits after getting notifications from the app.
  3. We also found that users were not yet acquainted with Apple Watch. Most of our drawbacks came from lack of Apple Watch education. If we performed the study again, we would spend additional time prompting users on how to use the Apple Watch and teach them additional functionality on how to use it.