Studies say 91% of New Year’s resolutions end in failure.

Clearly, our goals need more support, so Odyssey tackles the challenge of sustaining a skill-based practice amidst the chaos of everyday life, enabling people create and execute a life-proof plan for any desired skill.

As a UX, UI, and Visual Designer, I designed Odyssey’s learning framework and executed it across systemized visual design and user interface design.

Dive into the case study below.
Or, explore the final prototype here.


UX Designer
Visual Designer
User Researcher

UX Research/Testing
Education Design
UI Design

2 UX Designers
1 Copywriter

10 weeks


Transformative learning, disguised as a whimsical journey

By immersing users in a compelling narrative, we integrate evidence-based learning strategy and self-reflection in the construction of a personal self-development plan. This journey is further grounded in educational psychology and tested for maximum efficacy by busy undergrad students. 

My contribution spanned conceptualization and execution: paving the user journey’s path with psychology research and adorning the journey with the necessary whimsy✨ for users to achieve their daunting goals with gusto.

Onboarding unfolds in just 5 steps:

1. Defining the Goal

Users are encouraged to get clear about what they want to achieve through time-based constraints and future-self visualization. Self-reflection increases motivation by aligning users with their inner values and what really excites them to start this journey.

2. Breaking Down the Goal

Users are guided through deconstructing their long-term goal into milestones and tasks, step by step. Milestones anchors the journey with measurable, intermediate actions crucial to achieving the desired skill.

Each milestone is achieved through completing smaller tasks, symbolized by flowers, and engaging in routine practice sessions, represented by petals. As users track their progress, the blossoming flowers serve as a satisfying indicator of their growth and effort.

3. Anticipating Setbacks

After planning the itinerary, users construct a robust support system prompted by self-reflection. In their readily-accessible virtual notebook, users can note prior concerns and explore potential resolutions. This emotional scaffolding proves especially valuable during challenging phases of the learning journey, where users often face setback and give up.

4. Integrate it into your Daily Schedule

With all aspects of the journey considered, Odyssey seamlessly syncs with users’ daily schedule through Google Calendar integration. Its built-in intelligence ensures that practice sessions fit into the user’s existing life, with additional customization capabilities.

5. Embark on your Odyssey

The main dashboard becomes the user’s eyes into their journey: consisting of a short-term and a long-term view for users to stay motivated and focused on practicing, with adequate perspective.

The daily view allows users to log practice sessions, especially as it relates to the relevant tasks and the current milestone. The map view presents a full depiction of the journey and how far they have progressed.

Daily View (short-term)
Map View (long-term)

You’re never alone during your Odyssey.

Meet Tori, the wise tortoise. Tori removes any ambiguity in the process by providing definitions, examples, and advice in the form of accessible tooltips and popups.

Follow our journey of creating Odyssey:


What makes learning hard?

Our non-linear process of creating Odyssey came from our team’s shared passion for lifelong learning. We knew sustained learning was important, but in many ways, difficult.

To break down this incredibly open-ended topic, we crowd-sourced and affinity-diagrammed questions about learning. ︎ Out of the infinite things to learn, we sought to uncover mechanisms of personal interest and sustaining them.

Mapping stakeholder categories and points of affinity and opposition,  ︎ we identified undergraduate students as our focus area.

Why? Learning can be plotted on several spectrums: internal to external motivators, flexible to rigid structures. Key assumption to note: focusing on college students would eliminate most confounding “competition” in learning such as rigid school schedules, work, and most adult responsibilities. 😵‍💫


Is watching Netflix considered a personal interest?

We conducted 7 initial interviews to understand students’ relationships with a personal interest. Almost all our interviewees brought up leisure time like “watching TV” or “working out” as necessary, though they didn’t actively contribute to any longer-term goal.

This made us reconsider what a “personal interest” even meant. We took at stab at defining it better by comparing current/preferred states to generate areas of potential struggle. ︎ This led us to investigate everyday, short-term factors that may prevent students from making progress on longer-term pursuits.

Learners struggle in 3 main areas:
Getting started 🙄, sustaining motivation 🐢, and

managing time ⏰.


Quantitative surveys reveal the struggle of balancing life

We surveyed another 27 students to uncover why long-term goals are hard for students to achieve.

Through process of elimination, we ruled out areas students felt confident. At last, the struggle lies in students’ ability to apply and integrate long-term goals into their daily life.

How we synthesized the results:

Unexpectedly, participants scored themselves highly on self-efficacy towards goal achievement, self-awareness of personal needs, frequency of self-reflection, and knowledge about time management strategies. People felt pretty confident in methodologies and what they wanted.
The majority of participants scored the importance of their long-term goal 4 or 5, out of 5. People didn’t need to be reminded of the importance of their long-term goals.

︎ The biggest challenges students faced were lack of time and lack of priority.


Educational psychology hints at solutions to user challenges

Who knew designing for learning required us to learn ourselves... 😅 We turned to the experts and studied pedagogical theories, especially ones that address chunking goals, learning over time, mastering a skill, self-reflection, and feedback.

I led several whiteboarding sessions to bridge our pain points with these solutions. The goal was to extract specificity and usability from abstract models.

Workshopping learning theory fit towards our problem space and user needs


Supporting long-term and short-term perspective

Our initial design ideas addressed mindset reframing and reminders to pursue their long-term goals. We especially liked the idea of physical postcards or modular posters that reward progress—physical representations of progress as a means of motivation.

︎ Our research insights led us to ideate solutions with motivational progress indicators that connect the users’ day-to-day with perspective of the grander goal.

A promising direction was dedicating mapping goal-achieving to a journey interface. 
Spoiler (?): We ended up choosing this idea!

Our later design ideas biased towards digital products as they had stronger stakes in peoples’ everyday lives. As users of Google Calendar, we were curious if goal-setting could be integrated into a calendar interface.

In total, we used 4 research and testing methods to align our solution with user needs


Bridging learning and the user journey with a metaphor 

Uh oh... A troll emerges...
We prototyped some plug-in designs that integrate goal-measuring in Google Calendar, but struggled to work with the rigid site architecture. ︎ This struggle led us to clarify our end goal: help people better themselves through understanding their reach goals, and figuring out how to get there.

We pivoted back to the journey, and truthfully had a lot of fun thinking of ways we can reword “textbook” concepts into something more immersive, and potentially more actionable. For example, instead of engaging in a cycle of practice and feedback, we’d call it a singular orbit around a planet, or the blossoming of a flower.

The user flow incorporates all elements of our learning framework


We full-sended the narrative!

Committed to refining storytelling to the last word, we experimented with different metaphors to articulate a journey: ideas like space, clouds, and even a staircase. In later iterations, we incorporated illustrations and building systems to house our metaphors, managing consistency and logical flow.

As the metaphor became more real, and the idea of a map grew into flowers, petals, islands, destinations, and more, our confidence in the story-centric approach grew too. 🌷 One of our greatest learnings in this process was to stay true to our unique mission even in a landscape of amazing competitors.


Friendly and supportive, with a touch of whimsy

To paint a picture of continued support, we balanced visuals that were thoughtful yet motivational. Clean layouts and natural tones helped integrate our content-heavy design with illustrated environments.

Experience our solution in full here.

Also, more on our process here.


Our lessons come from the journey, not the destination

Despite the meta challenges we faced during the process, our team was determined and inspired to reframe big goals to be achievable and thereby promote a positive feedback loop of greater self-confidence, self-efficacy, and a stronger sense of identity. I’m proud of our result achieved in 10 weeks, but even more so, the discoveries we made along the way—unsurprisingly, we did a good amount of learning in this process. 🧡

Tori (and me) in all our glory...

Some great learning moments:

People know learning is important. We spent a lot of time strategizing how to communicate that self-development is important. With research, we realized the biggest learning gap was making time for and recontextualizing a long-term goal.

The power of narrative. At first, we prototyped ways to instill learning in the Google Calendar UX. Pursuing the journey direction helped us realize the efficacy of a story that resonates, especially when combined with researched and tested tools. It was wonderful to witness the power of a less-direct, playful approach to learning.

When in doubt, research or test. 
Self-explanatory :’)
If given more time, I would:

Build and test the dashboard experience. The real test for onboarding efficacy is how it lasts weeks and months into an odyssey. I think the 2 view-states is a good start, but I’m curious how we could incorporate reflection and rewards to build out a more robust dashboard UX that compounds the prep work.

A/B test style and explore personalization. We did some experimentation with writing style, but we can’t guarantee the same tips and framing resonate with everyone. Testing with users would help validate our metaphor. Further, it could be fun to see how increased customization can promote more autonomy and motivation in the process!