In our hyper-connected world, we often suffer from the inability to have time to ourselves. We spend so much time being social and "normal", we rarely remember to carve out spaces for solitary contemplation.
Honne is a tangible manifestation of a meaningful moment being alone. Honne captures and saves meaningful experiences of solitude, and allows people to get back to those moments. Details of those moments are captured by the Honne app to create personalized artifacts that represent the person's state of mind. It enhances people to connect with their inner self when they are feeling overwhelmed and when they need to take a break from the world and reboot. Honne was tailored to increase self-awareness and enhance wellbeing.
The idea was to design an immersive personalised experience with analog interactions. This includes designing both simple physical interactions and an entire system that translates and embodies experiences and emotions into a tangible object — a purposeful and de-technified product that is a nice-to-touch and easy-to-use.
The core challenge was crafting the system that translates experiences and emotions into a physical object in a way to create a bond between a person and the thing. Bonding is an important part of the experience as it allows you to immerse into a specific moment and evoke memories and emotions. Also, it was important for experience to eliminate friction and make interactions less intrusive in order not to interrupt moments of solitude.
With your permission, the system gets access to environmental and health data. Honne app captures experiences of solitude by a simple tap that allows the system to collect data about your location, weather, date, time zone, motion, heart and breathing rates. Algorithms use this data to generate a journal entry for each solitary moment. Journal helps people be more aware of their emotional health, track frequencies of having Me Time and save special places. Each journal entry can be converted into a physical Honne artifact that represents a certain meaningful solitary experience.
The Honneartifact is portable and easy to use. It was critical to balance technology and aesthetics with a simple analog interaction. Just touching it triggers a sound and immerses the person into their solitude experience. The form of the Honneartifact and the sound are unique and tailored specifically to a person. Honne helps people to improve thinking habits and emotional health.
Being lonely can disrupt sleep, increase stress and inflammation, and weaken a person's immune system. It's also associated with cognitive decline, heart disease, and greater frailty later on in life. But what is loneliness? Is it isolation, feeling, disconnection, void, or shame? Loneliness is definitely in the spotlight. In the media, it is called an epidemic and sometimes insinuating as a disease. However, there is a strong stigma about loneliness and it is still a taboo topic for a lot of people.
Through deep research, I mapped out loneliness through 5 lenses and a wide spectrum of what people can be connected to. After numerous interviews, home visits and co-creation sessions, I distilled the insights into simple experience drivers as the base for crafting the solution. Then I went through many iterations of concepting, prototyping, testing, and further improvements to hit the sweet spot.
RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
I used interviews with experts — psychologist, anthropologist, a robot designer and target group millennials — home visits and co-creation sessions to dig deeper and get a better understanding of the topic.I explored a complex concept of loneliness through 5 lenses: evolution, neuroscience, phycology, people's experience and society perception and 3 dimensions of humans connection: connection with things, connection with people and connection with self.
Humankind developed extraordinary social abilities to survive and develop more sophisticated types of cooperation. It is a biological mechanism that pushes people to find the social interaction that they lack and need. The brain will push the lonely individual to find someone to interact with because our brains still think we need to be surrounded by others to survive and thrive. The experience of loneliness is highly subjective, an individual can be alone without feeling lonely and can feel lonely even when with other people. However, people define loneliness not only as a lack of connections with others but also as a disconnection from self.
1. People build narratives and bonds with physical things to satisfy emotional needs;
2. People also define loneliness as a disconnection from self;
3. Me Time is a modern need;
4. People perceive loneliness as a void and solitude as a rich space.
I distilled the insights into a specific angle for the creative exploration and design challenge: Loneliness — Disconnection from self — Meaningful moments being alone — Solitude.
TESTING & FEEDBACK
Honne artifacts and the Honne App were designed based on real stories about solitary moments and specifically for 2 persons to test and examine the logic of translation and embodiment experiences into a physical thing, interactions, bonding with objects, and product design decisions. Also, testing phase included evaluation of the solution with the psychologist to ensure that it stays true to the main goal and has value.
"It is very nice to learn exactly what the system is recording and what is then defining the object. If you know exactly why the object is like that, you kinda have a secret knowledge about the object that makes you actually feel like you have a relationship with it. Especially when you know that this object is unique and made specifically for you." — Customer
"It is like separate language. When you understand how to read artifacts, it is very interesting to see objects as a phrases and reflect in different time points on it." — Customer
"Have an object to remember what happened is good as it makes these memories and emotions real. The connection between a nice object and the memory should be positively reinforcing each other. It is especially useful if a person can see and touch it. If a person keeps interacting with the object, he/she will keep replaying memory in their mind. In that way you can create a new mode of thinking." — Psychologist
People avoid talking about mental health. Being alone or being lonely is stigmatized by society all around the world. As a result, people cover up their feelings as they are afraid to be labeled "socially unattractive" or "unpopular". With this project, I wanted to disrupt the taboo around this topic and provide artifacts that will attract attention and help people be more open. User tests showed that people are eager to use Honne not only privately but also in work and public spaces to share experience and stories behind those objects.