Design Engineering
Showcase 2020


Keith Li
Design Engineering MEng
Prof. Rafael Calvo
Humanising Technology

FamilySense is a mobile app, which seeks to improve family wellbeing through integrating users’ existing digital and offline behaviours and seeks to align behavioural goals between parents and children within the same family. In a solution landscape where the majority of apps focus on parental control and internet safety, FamilySense presents a different proposition, where users are encouraged to contribute towards a collective family identity by building on autonomy, competence, and relatedness with their digital behaviour.

 — FamilySense
Evidence-based Frameworks incorporated into the design of FamilySense: top left: A spectrum identifying different motivation styles, from Self-determination Theory; top right: A spectrum of parenting "monitoring" styles (how parents obtain information from children); bottom left: "Five Ways to Wellbeing", a NHS-commissioned framework for mental wellbeing; bottom right: Different styles of "nudges" to be potentially implemented in interaction design.

Frameworks and User Activities for Digital Wellbeing

FamilySense incorporates multiple evidence-based frameworks from Design Psychology, and creates a user experience that aims to address the psychological needs of its target users – adolescent children and parents. Amongst these frameworks, there is a focus placed on how child and parent behaviours and goals can be closer aligned, by a spectrum of self-regulation behaviours and parental “monitoring” methods that are respectively adopted by adolescents and parents. User activities on FamilySense were also designed according to evidence-based sources, such as the inclusion of the “Five Ways to Wellbeing” framework for allocating activities, and using a variety of attention techniques or “nudges” to increase users’ adherence to completing their activities. By adopting these sources and combining them with qualitative primary user research, a set of design principles was formulated, which should be addressed by the final concept design.

 — FamilySense
Design Principles for designing an intervention.
 — FamilySense
“Activities” section - main dashboard for viewing user activities.

The FamilySense App

FamilySense allows users to complete a variety of digital and offline activities on a token-based ‘level’ system, where progress for all family members is visualised. Activities consist of those which are ‘native’ and do not require external input, as well as activities which work alongside third-party value-aligned partner apps or organisations, which focus on user wellbeing rather than attention. The token-based ‘level’ system allows for users to flexibly gain autonomy or control from their family members, which is dependent on users’ adherence to completing their activities. This is directly informed by the previously discussed frameworks, and provides a means for family members to interact in a guided manner and serves as a platform for negotiation. The eventual goal is for family members’ goals to become closer aligned, with adolescents’ self-regulation and an increase in relatedness between adolescents and parents.

 — FamilySense
Interaction Blueprint explaining interactions between family members and the app throughout the user journey.

Visit the FamilySense Website

A consumer-facing website was created to embody the value propositions and communicate to prospective end-users how FamilySense can help improve digital wellbeing for them and their family members. Learn more at

 — FamilySense
Visit the FamilySense website to learn more!


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