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Organization : Samsung Research America - Think Tank Team Date : May. 2015 - Sep.2015 Team : Sangwoo Han(Project lead, UX/UI designer, Game designer, Visual artist, Android / Unity prototyper), Ruokan He(Visual artist, 3D modeler, Unity prototyper)

1. Project goal

Garden is a new health app that provides a new way to promote caring one’s health.

While traditional health apps achieved their success through gamification by adopting video game’s competitive
nature, I came into this project with a different vision that could appeal for more general audience. In that sense,
I paid careful attention to the most successful video game ever existed – Pokemon.

Virtual pet simulators such as Pokemon and Tamagochi attract users with different kind of fun than other competitive video games. Rather than using compete-win-reward model, Virtual pet simulators make players get engaged with virtual pets with nurture-collect-reward model. Once they get hooked, people deeply care about their virtual pets, and happily spend their emotions and material resources as if they are real life animals. The beauty of this model I found is that the process of growing and collecting virtual pets becomes reward itself, which provides a strong motivation to keep engaging with the game.

From this design vision, the goal of Garden was to adopt this model to motivate users caring more about their everyday health activities. The goal of the project was to build a fully working prototype that has a quality that’s good enough to test and validate in order to pitch the project to Samsung HQ. Myself and our design intern formed a small project group to achive it.

2. UX of Garden

Garden app consists of two views – Garden view and Root view.

Garden view is where the flower grows. It is the core part in the world of Garden where the lives exist, interact with users, and are nurtured. The flowers directly react to touch and shake in order to make themselves feel more tangible.

Root view is accessible by swiping up from Garden view, and hosts all the health data and measurement features that take to grow the flowers. The root consists of smaller roots, and each small root shows different kind of health data. Once the user tap one of the small roots, that opens a full graphic view of the co-related data, as well as access point to start the new measurement.

3. Game Design

  • Garden measures user’s health activities like normal health apps. It tracks your steps, run, water intake, mood, sleep and heartbeat.
  • When you contribute your data, a flower earns growth points. As the flower gain the points it grows, when it’s fully  grown, the flower gets moved to Garden and the user gets a new seed.
  • Simpler activities such as mood input and water intake earn less point then running or sleeping.
  • The game is designed to reward more consistent activity cycle in order to help people build healthier measurement routine. For example, users can still earn points by measuring heartbeats multiple times in a row, but the point reward will eventually become zero. If you measure heartbeats same time every day, users will be rewarded with bonus points.

4. Outcome

The goal of the project was to pitch the design idea to HQ’s health team, and fully working, high fidelity prototype was necessary in order to achieve it. The prototype was created using Android and Unity. Garden view was written in Unity which was embedded in Root view that was coded in Android. The app was connected with Samsung Galaxy’s pre-loaded health app through api to sync the health data collected on Garden. Since I had little experience in 3D modeling, Ruokan helped me on it with Maya.
The prototype was tested internally with a total of 18 participants for a month. The feedbacks were positive. Although approximately a half of the group stopped using the app after 2 weeks, but the rest of candidates were heavily engaged with the experience throughout the entire time. I and S-health team saw there was a potential in this project.
Therefore I delivered the prototype with the results to HQ after going through few iterations. Since then, the project had been approved to move forward on being integrated into an S-Health’s basic feature.

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