The ubiquity of laptops and smartphones has allowed for an unprecedented ability to access knowledge, share information, and connect with others. Many workers and students rely on these devices to conduct their professional tasks. At the same time, these devices are also used to access information that are enjoyable and entertaining (e.g. social media, video content, etc.). Because of the multi-functional nature of these devices, users spend large amounts of time on their devices. At times, they may experience a tension between deciding to use their devices for ‘productive’ activities (e.g. work and studies) or ‘enjoyable’ activities.
In certain situations, an uncontrollable desire to only engage in “enjoyable” digital activities could be thought of as “technology addiction”. In fact, it is well known that many social media websites actively work to “hook” their users. In response to technology addiction and the ethics of technology creation, some technical solutions are available. For example, Coldturkey aims to restrict users' digital usage as a means to change their usage habits. Technology companies are also beginning to offer some services to build awareness around digital activity, like Apple’s Screen Time. However, through our user research, we uncovered a new user need: to understand how time is spent online and how this impacts mood and other health factors. In our landscape analysis, we discovered many tools exist to track one’s digital activity. Separately, many other tools exist to collect mood and health information. This led us to believe that there is a product gap in helping users easily understand what their digital behavior is, and how their behavior may impact their emotional state (or vice versa).
Based on the above mentioned issues, we developed Opus – a mobile app designed to reflect digital behavior and mood trends. Our intent is to provide a neutral reflection on behavior, so users are empowered to make shifts to their habits as they see fit. The name, “Opus” is inspired by the Latin word for “work”.