Echo : Journaling with Sound
Sound triggered deeply held emotions, yet it is in the background and often taken granted. Can we try to close our eyes and retain the memories with our ears?

Overview
Echo is a sound journaling app that aims to transform our life into a collection of personalized sound tracks. The goal is to encourage users to take sound as a formant of journaling and document daily moments to reflect and treasure. Maybe you are a mom who whats to document your baby's growth. A traveller who whats to memorize your journey along with your adventures. Or a student who wants to treasure your daily moments. Echo will guide you to start celebrating the sound around you.

Timeline / Roles
Timeline:  1 year
My Role:  User Researcher / User Experience Designer / User Interface Designer
Primary Users: Anyone who is interested in mindfulness and wants to keep the memories in a different form
Concept Video
Core Values
How does it work?
1. Record Daily
Start by listen actively and find a piece of sound that resonates with you.
You can start recording through the app every day. Press and hold on the record button when you are ready, and simply save or delete right after recording.
2. Reflect and Treasure
By the end of each year, listen to your yearly wrap-up to hear back those beautiful ordinary moments as well as those special unexpected sounds.
3. Immerse in your original concert
By the end of each year, listen to your yearly wrap-up to hear back those beautiful ordinary moments as well as those special unexpected sounds.
4. Go back to a special moment in your life
If you want to go back to those special moments in your life, you can label any of the recordings in a folder and get reminded of those sounds whenever you desire.
5. Enhance your relationship with sound
The app also encourage you to enhance your relationship with sound by taking challenges to practice your sound awareness. The feature also allow you to access any challenges in any stages of the process, which is a perk when you want to know what you have done and what have not been done. 
Concept Development

Background Research
Studies show that the same part of our brain that is in charge of processing our senses is also responsible for sorting emotional memories. Sound triggered deeply held emotions, yet it is in the background and often taken for granted, which our relationship with sound has become largely unconscious.
How do we document our daily moments? How do we feel when we look back to those memories? We can all probably agree that nowadays photo and video taking have become the common way of documenting our daily moments. Even when we are looking at those pictures, we usually don't feel like we are re-experiencing the memory, but rather looking at the documentations.
So the question I have for all of us is, when can we start closing our eyes and keep the memories with our ears?


Market Research
Market Research Insights
In order to better understand what is similar on the market, I took a deep dive into four apps, a journaling app, a voice recording app, a video journal app, and a meditation app. All of them have different kinds of sound interpretation. However, none of them focus on the values and emotional aspect of sound. The other interesting insight I found is that all of the journalling apps focus on social motives, which means they encourage users to post their journals on social media. Since I really want to keep my sound journaling app personal, I think it would be interesting to see how my project will differentiate from the others.


Interview Insights
Interview Insights
After some serious secondary research, I decided to find out more about how people think of sound. I interviewed 5 people in different stages of their life by asking them what sounds means to them, and what is their relationship is with sound. The result was interesting. The international student think sounds is a form of expression, however, for a new mom, she thinks it’s a form of love. These answers they had really reflected on their own unique experiences, values, and background, which I think it’s really important for me to embrace on my app.


Probe Design Insights
In order to test out the concept, I designed a probe that ask participants to bring home and practice recording. As well as a series of sound awareness practices that encourage them to listen actively to their surroundings.
The insights I gathered was rewarding. Before the recording practice, a participant said she have not paid much attention to her feelings toward sounds.
However, after three days of recording practice, she truly felt nostalgic and had found out the power of sound.
In my probe, I also included some sound awareness practices. In this one, I ask participants to listen to individual channels in an open space and write down their thoughts. Participant C felt homesick when he started to separate the sound in his apartment. He got reminded of those little sounds around him that felt like home. And this truly made me believe in how sound is connected our memories.
Secondary Research
Quotes about the importance of sound

* The same part of the brain that is in charge of processing our senses is also responsible to for sorting emotional memories. - Rachel Petlner 
* Sound acts as our first line of self-defence when we are sleeping. - CBC
Sound triggered deeply held emotions, yet it is in the background and often taken granted. - Seth Horowitz
* Sound is like a touch from a distance. -CBC
* Our relationship with sound has become largely unconscious. - Julian Treasure

Research of Julian Treasure 

Ways to practice sound awareness

Empathy Maps
Personas
Wireframe / Prototype Iterations
A Final Note

This is my graduation project born under the COVID-19 pandemic. During the development of Echo, I've also grown with the project, I started to appreciate the little moments in my life, not only the delicate sound around me, but also the smells and tactile senses that made me feel wholesome and grateful. UX designers know that our designs will never be perfect, but I am proud of how far I have come. Echo is a project that perfectly represents a milestone of me finishing my degree at Emily Carr University. It is also a perfect project that represents me as a human and a designer. Hopefully, this project can let you echo your emotions, your memories, and your life.
  Thank you.

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