Principal is a mobile app platform where users can submit, share, discuss, and read articles on topics they care about. The mechanics of the app are designed to provide users with a healthier, alternative environment for social media. Users are encouraged to spend less time worrying about social metrics and more time on creating meaningful discourse.
Principal began with the question 'how can design help support adults in avoiding anxiety due to social media?' Using user questionnaires, journey maps, scenarios, and workshops — I dove deeper into people's past and current experiences with social media. Analyzing the data from more than 25 participants, I came key realizations which helped me ideate questions to keep the scope under control. For the full research process, you can see the Principal Poster here: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1fvXwEAAW8ibALzez6V5adBS6vbWnMPif
Users tend to open social media apps frequently in short bursts out of boredom. To discourage this behaviour, Principal delivers content only once a day, refreshing the cycle of articles, removing the temping actions behind infinite scrolling feeds. Principal also uses a cost system associated with the reading times of articles — users have a maximum allotted reading time, using this reading time as 'currency' to choose from a list of article headlines.
Principal utilizes a mechanic of creating discussion rooms based around highlighted text blocks. Toggling the discussion mode view in articles, users may react, provide feedback, critique, or debate in 'chatrooms' surrounding the focused text. Users are able to connect with others, however are limited to sharing articles and discussion rooms. This was a conscious decision to avoid instant messaging features to encourage users to spend more time creating discussion.