Shin Young Lucia


UX Research, Visual Design, Prototyping

Exploratory design to promote solo travelers’ mindfulness

cover of ColorAway

ColorAway is a tool that helps solo travelers practice mindfulness through interacting with modified personal photos from their past.

With an advisor, my friends and I began this side project to explore design space in mindfulness. As we found the correlation between mindfulness and solo travelers from a larger study, we experimented a way to promote their mindfulness.

We put our findings into a research paper. It was accepted to and presented at the CHI 2018, a top-tier academia HCI conference and the 2018 UX convey, an annual UX professional event.

Mindfulness ≠ Meditation

The meanining of "mindfulness" has more than "meditation." Mindfulness, drawn from Western psychology and Buddhism literatures, has two key aspects:

  1. Recollection: remember or recollect past learning experiences
  2. Evaluation: contemplate one's thoughts and feelings to distinguish beneficial from harmful qualities

Designing Mindfulness Tool

Using the insights from the literature interview, my team ideated, designed, and prototyped a tool that promotes the key aspects of mindfulness as the following:

1. Recollection by revisiting memorable photos

The prototype asked travelers to go through and pick the three most meaningful photos taken during their trips.

2. Evaluation by imaginating and making meanings

Selected photos went through various photo processing techniques and were given back to their owners. By providing new photos to interact, the prototype aims to trigger user’s imagination and meaning-making.

To arrive at these concepts, we first analyzed the interview data from the larger study and gathered solo traveler's needs.

Testing the Concept with Solo Travelers

To test our concept, we recruited and provided a personalized prototype to each of 6 solo travelers. The images shown here are the cover of our prototype followed by sets of original and modified photos placed side by side.

ColorAway sample prototype
ColorAway sample prototype

When the travelers finished with the prototype, we interviewed them to study their behaviors and thoughts interacting with the prototype. The interviews were transcribed and coded to gather insights.

ColorAway candid team photo
Candid photo of our team during interview analysis


Our research paper has accepted to 2018 CHI conference, a top-tier academic conference in HCI field, and 2018 UX Convey Seattle, an annual event for user experience professionals. I also shared the takeaways with my co-workers in a GE Healthcare UX monthly Community meeting.

Prior to presentation, our team gathered to outline and create a presentation. We wanted to communicate our work as digestible as possible as the concept could find highly philosophical. My primary role at the time was creating visual aids that supported our goal.

ColorAway presentation cover
ColorAway presentation deck cover
ColorAway presentation pg 8
Quote from a solo traveler's interview revealing the aspect of mindfulness
ColorAway presentation pg 9
Another quote from a solo traveler's interview showing the aspect

Moving Forward

Our research shows that solo travelers prefer digital and private experiences. I hope to move this early phase of paper prototype forward to a digital app in future.