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Wenwen Tang

Wenwen Tang is a product designer currently based in London. Before her master's studies at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, Wenwen majored in Industrial Design.

She has built a multidisciplinary design practice in user experience, speculative design, and experimentation-oriented projects.


Degree Details

School of Design

Productivity Machine is an experiment-oriented project exploring how people with low motivation could maintain productivity under remote working.

It’s a remote sensing system using audience effect and co-action effect for the remote workers are willing to expose themselves to the audience. By doing so, the users are motivated by performing a self-image of competence in front of a specific audience, which compensates for the fact that they might have low self-regulation while working from home.

Advantage of remote working — Multiple research prior to the pandemic stated the underlying advantages of remote working. For society, it brings less pollution. On the personal level, remote working means fewer commute hours, a flexible time schedule, and the potential to increase productivity.
Challenges of remote working — However, according to the research and interview, it also brings procrastination for people with low motivation. With the promising future of remote work and lack of exploration from the market on procrastination, tackling remote workers' low self-regulation becomes the topic for the project.
Insights from the early stage experiments — When I compare all the effects of the devices, I found out that the experiment with me observing the participants, they report being better focused. Through interviews, they mentioned that this is because they want to make a good impression as self-disciplined people in front of me.
Experiment 1 — This is the application of the audience effect. The result appeared to be quite successful. The number of times the user picked up the phone was significantly reduced. Participants mentioned that they wanted to pick up the mobile phone several times, but when they think that if their movement can be known by others, a peculiar sense of guilt makes them control themselves to focus again.
Experiment 2 — The second experiment made the transmission of the working status mutual. So it’s a test of how the co-action effect could help the user focus and how observing each other could help the user control themselves. The result showed that the co-action effect and the audience effect are both contributing to help the subject to be more self-disciplined.
User feedback — Then, I used the prototype conducted multiple user tests. Users reported that they are less distracted by the smartphone. Most of them have a certain degree of productivity growth. Another interesting finding is that they gain more satisfaction when working with the device.
Mechanical System — The other part is the fluffy receiver, It’s worn around the user’s neck. It receives feedback through a rotating fur.
How it works — Zhou is a 23-year-old freelance graphic designer. He always procrastinates and ends up having loads of work to do at the last minute. This creates damage to his career and always makes him stress. He decided to ask Qin as his supervisor in order to gain external motivation to stay out of the phone and work on his projects. To use the product, first, he needs to place his phone into the slot of the ultrasonic detector. After turning on the device, he sets the working hours.
How it works — For Qin, She only needs to put on the fluffy receiver. And whenever Zhou is distracted by the phone, She will feel the rotation of the fur. She could interact with Zhou by pressing the button as a reminder.
Different scenarios — In the former scenario, Zhou seeks help from Qin. In another scenario, Li and Zhang have a similar problem with Zhou. So they build a mutual system. They are not only being observed but also work together, motivate each other.