Foneship is a service focusing on ‘Relationship’ and ‘Phone’. It is a self-help tool for smartphone users to build a healthier relationship with their smartphones to ultimately achieve their personal digital wellbeing.

Nattanun Sainont
Jiajia Huang
Jihyeon Park
Deepu James
Creating your digital wellbeing through a healthy relationship with your phone
Nomophobia - a fear of being away from the phone - has become a universal truth affecting people at all ages since it has permeated every single aspect of our lives. Most of us have been experiencing a moment living with our phones from the beginning to the end of a day. This endless social phenomenon is going to worsen, especially in the Covid-19 situation that could lead to further dependency on phones. Smartphones undoubtedly bring great benefit to our lives, but also come with the undeniable drawback of causing excessive use such as sleep deficit, anxiety, stress, and depression. Now it’s time to find a healthy balanced relationship with your phone that could prove to be the right wellbeing for you, before these physical and mental health problems are exacerbated.
The user's voice matters.

The underlying causes were found in the real voices of smartphone users . The findings suggest that... First, it’s realistically impossible to stop using a smartphone as it is a primary tool for our daily lives. This indicates that people cannot be without a smartphone at all costs, reflecting how important smartphones are. Second, achieving a personal wellbeing goal that is based on individual lifestyle is key to overcoming nomophobia. Reducing time spent on a smartphone is just a quick-fix solution that will not bring about a long-term effective result. Lastly, compulsive behavior could cause an unnecessary journey, which mainly leads to smartphone addiction. People find it very hard to stop checking their phones due to their compulsive behaviour. Based on these findings, we came up with.. How might we help smartphone users with nomophobia achieve their wellbeing through a healthy relationship with their phones?

This is just the beginning..

Foneship is aimed at helping users achieve their wellbeing through daily activities on-phone and off-phone. We are currently examining all digital activities happening within the phones first. Our strategy is to provide a tailored support for self-control over the use of applications to tackle the root cause, compulsive behaviours, by offering a healthy balance that is right for individuals to reach their desired lifestyles. In the next phase we will apply this idea to other digital activities on other electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, smartwatches to make a complete 'digital wellbeing'. Moreover, in the future, we also plan to quantify relationships and make a balance between productivity and intimacy to make our service a comprehensive platform supporting a wellbeing for life.

Learn fast, fail fast..

We conducted several workshops with end-users and professionals to improve our service. During 3 rounds of prototyping, we proved some ideas and also removed some parts according to users' feedback and technical feasibility. We found that Greyscale, our core service feature, is scientifically proven to be a quick cure to smartphone addiction - by stripping away all the neuron-stimulating colours on smartphones, users will be less motivated to use their phones. To ensure an effective idea of greyscale, we used metaphors such as paper alarms for the validation. The participants liked the grayscale screen since without the color they loose interest, and find the provocative text helpful to reconsider the usage of smartphones. After all, this is how our final service, Foneship, comes in.

We're here to help...

Foneship is a self-help tool to help users build their digital wellbeing with their phones through just 4 steps – register, onboard, use, get a report and tips. Users need to register when they first access Foneship. Onboarding will then help them set up their preferences and wellbeing goals with two options as a facilitator. Users who are not clear on their goal can take a short survey covering their habits and desires. Those who are can set it up manually. Foneship will then automatically create modes and relative apps according to the survey and users’ previous screen time report. These apps are divided into priority apps standing for users’ priority tasks and optional apps, meaning apps of distraction under a certain mode. Users only need to go through registration and onboard, then they can continuously use our service, and get reports and tips.

This is how we help..

To help users focus on priority tasks, Foneship constrains the time that can be spent on optional apps. The algorithm behind it is based upon the users’ willingness from the survey, and the time they spend on priority apps, indicating users’ behavior. While users are using optional apps, the screen will gradually become greyscale and then completely white. When the time reaches its limit, provocative text and notifications will appear to remind users to be more aware of unhealthy behaviour. Foneship will record their smartphone behavior in 2 types of reports: first, a multi-dimensional data report where users can check their behaviour in diagram format from different perspectives; second, visual animations, called a 'status tag', showing their behavior with real-time change through a transition of color and shape. The result will be displayed in both our application and a physical globe, aiming to help users to check behavior more conveniently.

special thanks

Special thanks to..
Andrea Edmunds - our all-time supportive tutor, Melinda Smith, Executive Director at HelpGuide - our great partner, and David, Nienie, Lin, and Big male - our dearly beloved participants & friends.

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