Maintaining and enhancing the long-distance relationship of oversea student families [Read more]
Close.ly is a emotional connector that allows close but separated families to feel like they are still a part of each other's life remotely.
Close.ly is an innovative communication tool designed to maintain and enhance the long-distance parent-child relationship for Chinese oversea student families, through providing information sharing, reminders and the 360 degree live video function.
The app utilizes built-in 360-degree camera, mixed reality combined 360 Virtual Reality and Augment Reality that providing families with an immersive, interactive communication experience.
Going beyond active communication, Close.ly provides basic information sharing to each other in real-time: local time, weather, location and status.
The app visualises the dynamic of communication frequnency through emoji. Establishing empathy with remote family members that reminds users to stay in touch.
Positive and continuous interaction is essential for bonding of the parent-child relationship to maintain internal stability and individual’s well-being. Oversea students and their parents face new roles and challenges when separated, while yearning for maintaining closer interaction with each other in long-distance communication.
The post-Covid19 era based on lower contact interaction and tighter travel restriction will fundamentally shape the way of people communication habits. Remote communication that requires better convey feeling and enhance the interactive experience needs a revolution urgently to face the new normal.
A research strategy was developed based on preliminary secondary research data. Method included:
41 survey respondents that gained a general understanding of target users and what opinioned they hold towards long-distance communication.
10 semi-structured interview with 5 groups of families. Since the target users were students and parents, the interview outlines were designed in two to understand the different needs and pain points.
6 culture probes that asked 3 groups of families to self-document photos or notes based on instruction, to look for behaviour, user goals and emotional triggers.
Data were collected and analysed using affinity mapping. Key insights included:
A two-way concern is in a result of lack of information. Most of the current remote communication is an active way of obtaining information. The transmission of information is incomplete and untimely, total reliance on each other's initiative. Long-distance communication lacks the 'sense of occasion' and interaction compared face-to-face communication
The parent-child relationship is close but tense. The child yearns for close ties while pursuing independence. The ambivalence of parents that desires to know children's condition but are afraid to disturb the child.
Distance objectively makes parents and children feel less involved with each other. Parents have a great sense of curiosity about their children's lives in a foreign country and hope to have access to their children's life.
Togetherness is the keyword. The concrete manifestation is about food, travel, holidays and shared interests. These specific and longing behaviours were wished to be accomplished under the premise of spending time with family.
Insights were turned into opportunity statements and “How Might We?” questions were generated to came out with divergent solutions.
Then brainstorming diverse ideas using the digital trend matrix and finally refined into the 4 detailed ideas based on 'Now, How and Wow' matrix.
An early remote user evaluation with 3 participants was made to identify user acceptance of technology, which ideas meet user needs and the priority of user goals. Finally, the concept statement was refined.
Two participants were recruited in a co-design session. Card sorting activity was used to understand the meaningful information categories to users. The initial sketching was evaluated further.
Close.ly provides a dedicated space just for family interaction and communication. The homepage presents remote but close family information: status, local time, weather and location.
An atmosphere of homelike is established, with parent-child photos as the chosen background that family member could feel the affection and sense of togetherness around them. The location page provided location sharing.
360 videos and photos were taken and shared by family members are presented in a Shared album page for users to recall and record memory.
Close.ly also provides a ‘Reminder' feature to assist with users to remind them contact with their distant family members.
Provide a 'moment' button on the homepage that allows users to share immersive 360 photos and videos with their families at any time.
Visualizing the communication frequency with lovely emojis to build empathy and encourage users to be continuous communicate with family members.
360 Live Video
Close.ly provides an innovative 360 Live video feature to bring an immersive interactive experience to people, allowing family members to participate in each other's life remotely.
The live screen provides multi-view. The facial recognition is tracking by the camera to allow parents could communicate and see children’s face directly. Parents could scroll the main 360 view interface or swipe the phone to control and see the surrounding.
AR Enhanced information and real-time translation help parents more involved in children's surroundings. Parents could take pictures or video to record the views. It also provides the multi-mode that allows the user to enjoy the views on different platforms.
I am a user-centred product designer who aims to create better emotional experiences for people
I came from Beijing in China and my first degree is in Product Design. With the past study and work experience, I combined my skills in research, abilities of team cooperation, communication and integrated design capability of software and hardware. My design strategy is exploring innovative ideas based on new technology to evoking emotion in digital products.
Maintaining and enhancing the long-distance relationship of oversea student families
Best Client Relationship Award at UXathon19