Wake is a mobile app that aims at a higher degree of freedom of customizing personal alarms. It also supports sleep tracking, which aims to help users regulate their sleep habits. The ultimate problem I tried to tackle was to create an alarm clock that can let roommates live in harmony.

This project was done for Des Inv 98: Human-centered Design, a 12-week class that focused on fundamental design theories and methodologies. 



“If I’m up studying until 3 am, how am I supposed to wake up at 7 am?” -heavy sleeper roommate 1
“I wish I didn’t have to wake up to your alarm at 7 am” -light sleeper roommate 2

So the essential issue is: How might we design an alarm that does not disturb other people?

needs & significance

There are two major needs that I want to fulfill with such an alarm:

  • Consideration: to try to keep your noise level to a minimum and respect the sleeping habits of others
  • Usability: to function efficiently as an alarm that can help people, especially heavy sleepers, wake up easily


After conducting interviews with 12 people, I was able to extract two personas that represent our target users.

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Grace:  makes a lot of effort to wake up every morning. She uses three different alarms But still constantly misses them because she sleeps so heavily. Her roommate is very upset

Greg: Roommate wakes up early because he has class in San Francisco Greg frequently pulls all nighters.  Wishes that he could not be woken up early in the morning


phase 2: ideation

During the divergent thinking phase, I tried to come up with as many ideas as possible. Then after the brain dump, I began to compare the pros and cons of each proposal and finally came down to 4 ideas:

  • Vibrating alarms (such as vibrating pillows) 
  • Activity alarm that requires the completion of certain tasks
  • Wristband alarm
  • Artificial sunlight alarm

In the end, based on the feedback from user interviews, I decided to design an app that can help people wake up with greater ease an allow freedom for customizations and special settings for those living with roommates. In addition, I decided to incorporate functions that can allow people to keep track of their sleeping schedule, which can also contribute to a more pleasant wake-up experience.


phase 3: prototyping









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1. mode selection

In Wake, users are allowed a greater degree of customization of their personal alarms. Three choices are given: regular music, vibration, and light. Users can choose any combination of these features to create a best-fit for themselves.

2. roommate mode

Living with a roommate is a bit of a concern when it comes down to morning alarms. If the user turns on roommate mode, then the alarm will not go off wildly for 5 minutes as it regularly does. Instead, music will automatically be adjusted to vibration if no one turns off the alarm in 1 minute, so that if the user him/herself does not wake up to the sound, we can try our best to ensure that his/her roommate won't either.


Want to get up faster and stop snoozing and eventually sleeping through every alarm? Then pick a task to complete in order to turn off your alarm. Available options include shaking your phone for a certain duration of time, making certain faces according to the instruction, and solving some math problems. 

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