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“That this concept is so obvious yet no one has built it makes it a winner. The open nature of its utility makes it just the kind of app that would surprise the market with emergent uses. Its conceptual hook into tracking New Year’s resolutions is effective, but the fact that it has a myriad of uses beyond this makes it feel useful—even desirable.” —juror Nathan Moody

“I appreciate the focus on being accountable to oneself, especially when resolutions are made and broken. This student’s concept app shows beautiful ways to stay on track.” —juror Libby Bawcombe

Overview: Whether shedding those pesky pounds or learning French, the resolutions that merrymakers set on New Year’s Eve always seem to wilt by spring. It’s a phenomenon solved by the concept app REKORD from Minhua Iris Zhu. Inspired by today’s wearables and apps, which manage everything from walking habits to stress levels, REKORD similarly helps people track their resolutions—and, more important, stay motivated. Users can easily set tasks from six predefined categories or customize their own. And after a user finally tackles guitar or runs five miles, the app distills the data into a neat graphic, perfect to share on social media with the hashtag #BOOM. 

•REKORD was an individual thesis project. 
•Statistics show that 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals.
•The project took six months to complete.

Comments by Minhua Iris Zhu: 
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “The navigation for each individual task includes calendar, status and pattern views so users can check their progress from different perspectives. The calendar enables users to see an overview of their progress over time, and the status view zooms in to a specific day and then shows each activity’s details.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Studying and exploring the app’s form. During research, target users mentioned that the app’s visual design plays an important role in their overall satisfaction with it. I tried various methods—from paper prototypes to 3-D modeling—to achieve the visual design I wanted. The final form is based on all these experiments and is an abstraction of both physical and digital.”

Was the topic/subject of the project a new one for you? “Coming from an engineering background, my ongoing interest is to combine technology and design and visualize the beauty of information. This inspired me to research the possible solutions of using data visualization to effectively solve this long-term problem.”

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