4 weeks, Fall 2018


Crafting an unboxing experience of a new device to facilitate behavior modification and result in specific emotions.


Design Research, System Mapping, Prototyping, Branding, Storytelling, Video Production


Sketch, Principle, Keynote, Adobe CC 

What behaviors do I want to change?

I have spent my entire life living in cities. Ever since I moved to California, I've always fantasized about going on a road trip away from the major cities. I still haven’t crossed it off my bucket list.

What stops us from going on adventures?

nature notes


I conducted interviews with five people about their experiences being in nature using the questions on the left.


Design Opportunities

"Indoor people" are more reliant on digital devices when they are outdoors, yet "outdoor people" tend to escape from the virtual world by spending time in nature.

HOW MIGHT WE engage the physical experience (especially, of "indoor people") in nature through minimal interaction with digital devices?

Venturing into nature requires a lot of planning, and physical, mental and skills preparation, which makes it hard to manage with busy schedules, especially with school and work. 

HOW MIGHT WE help busy students and employees overcome their concerns and efficiently prepare manageable trips?

People who are inexperienced in nature are more inclined to go outdoors if they have someone to go with.

HOW MIGHT WE connect inexperienced people with their peers who will potentially motivate them to leave their comfort zone?

People who are inexperienced in nature are more inclined to go outdoors if they have someone to go with.

HOW MIGHT WE connect inexperienced people with their peers who will potentially motivate them to leave their comfort zone?

A change in the environment and activities helps boost mood and release stress, especially when stuck with work.

HOW MIGHT WE remind and encourage students and employees to take short breaks outdoors?

Nature has positive impacts, like helping get away from mental baggage and stress, connecting friends with one another, and giving people inspiration. 

HOW MIGHT WE maximize people’s takeaways from nature, and ensure a relaxing experience?



I came up with 30 ideas to tackle the problems stated above, and gathered feedback from my classmates. Finally, I narrowed the ideas down to four.


After analyzing these four ideas, I decided to combine these two ideas, incorporating them in a physical object.


For those who live in urban areas, it may be difficult to go out into nature due to the lack of time and skills. How will one stay safe? How can one find his/her way without GoogleMaps when there is no reception? These are major concerns.

The goal of this project shifts from encouraging urban residents to go out into nature to explore outdoors. In addition, another objective is to teach them how to discern their cardinal directions.

NORTHEAST is a digital watch with a corresponding app. This product encourages urban residents to explore the outdoors by helping them plan activities that fit their schedules, while the watch provides guidance on the four cardinal directions. Additionally, users will get a physical customized map that suggests potential outdoor places to visit according to their locations and activities of preference.

I then explored and fleshed out the concept through sketching the product and packaging and developing a storyboard.




Packaging Design

Packaging Design


Final Prototype

Final Prototype

UI Design


Experience Map



In order to shoot a video, I drew a storyboard for the key shots based on the experience map. 


In order to shoot a video, I drew a storyboard for the key shots based on the experience map. 

Video Script

“Being stuck at work is stressful. Sometimes you just need to get some fresh air and reconnect with the physical world. That’s why Jason’s roommate got him NORTHEAST, a smartwatch that comes with an app that encourages him to go outdoors.

There is a digital screen, along with a green dot on the watch that points north, as a compass for navigation. We also sent him a customized physical map of his neighborhood according to his address and places he wants to visit. After Jason’s roommate linked his account to the app and set it up for him,  NORTHEAST checks his schedule and sends reminders through the watch.

Now he can plan a trip with NORTHEAST. After selecting his preferred time frame and activity, NORTHEAST shows possible places to visit, and suggests new parks to explore. After planning it, NORTHEAST gives him the option to cut off all notifications from his phone to help him focus on the walk.

But how can he get to the park? NORTHEAST will tell him which direction to go with the help of the compass physically on the watch. When Jason is walking the wrong way, NORTHEAST vibrates and changes its color to alert him. Find a spot with a great view? He uses the map to find the location so that he can come back later. The route will automatically change as Jason explores around.

He has arrived. Now he can absorb his surroundings. Oh, his phone is still locked according to the set timer. So he can still people watch, and breathe calmly and deeply.

Finally, NORTHEAST will remind him of his coming schedule and resume his phone notifications. The trip is now marked as completed on the app.


Interview Notes

Final Prototype


The biggest takeaway from this project was all the unique stories I heard from my interviewees. Some of them I haven't talked to in a while and it gave me the opportunity to reconnect with them as well.

The picture was when Cassie was excitedly showing me all the national parks she has been to on her map, and we ended up talking for almost 2 hours. It was encouraging when she told me that a stranger she encountered during a road trip by herself said that "it would be great for my granddaughter to see such an independent woman like you". She gave me a lot of advice on road trips and would love to lend tents and supplies to me if I ever went for an adventure. My road trip dream rekindled. 


Gabe brought me to a community house after we finished filming. I have never known that we have such a place in our neighborhood. The view was amazing! I appreciate Potrero Hill even more now.

 Will Liang  ✿  2019