People with busy schedules and preoccupied minds often forget to drink enough water throughout the day, even if they know how important water is for their health and for maintaining proper body function. Some people have tried to manually track their water intake or use alarms to remind themselves to drink water periodically, but these methods are inconvenient and intrusive to daily life. Our challenge is to create a design that promotes hydration for a healthier life and changes people’s relationship with drinking water.

This was a collaboration project with Cindy Fan, Maggie Liu, and Ethan Zhang.

Role & Tool
UX/IX Designer
Contextual Inquiry,
Primary & Secondary Research,
Usability Testing
Contextual Inquiry

We conducted four contextual inquiries to gather data and understand more about our potential users: people who are busy and have a packed schedule. We observed and interviewed participants in their working environments, and shared our interpretations with the participants for immediate feedback.

By analyzing the data collected from contextual inquiries, we set up two primary design questions that are most important to our audience and in the meantime can guide us in the ideation phase.

How can we let users track their water intake with minimum effort?

Almost all the participants have a variety of drinks and beverages to choose from in addition to plain water, and their selections are very personal. Sometimes that makes people be reluctant to record their water intake because it could be a time-consuming and annoying activity. The design should segment and customize people' drinking plan and provide a smart way for users to record data.

How can we provide an non-intrusive way to remind users to drink water?

Most people do not want to be reminded regularly. Three of our interviewees pointed out that they do not want to be reminded to drink water all the time since they already have enough interruptions in their life. Therefore, we need to design a better way to "remind" people so that they will not feel interrupted and begin to ignore or disable the reminders.


We sketched several drafts and picked two as our initial designs, which are a smartphone application that allows users to track their water intake and a smart water bottle with special sensors that can log users' drinking behavior.

Design Concept

Eventually, we combined these two designs to provide a robust and complementary system. The smartphone app can record water intake by getting data from the sensor inside the connected water bottle automatically or from the user input using the app UI manually. The app also provides functionalities of displaying visualizations of recorded data and reminding users to drink water based on the predefined timetable by changing the color of the smart water bottle.

Prototype & Evaluation

The focus of the design is on the phone application with the water bottle as a major supplement to its functionalities.

We created a paper prototype to evaluate the design concept. With this prototype, we conducted a heuristic evaluation and an expert review to find out major usability problems. After that, we recruited 3 participants and conducted usability testings to refine our final design.

From the evaluation process, we identified several critical issues and made corresponding improvements to enhance the overall user experience.

In order to remind user in a non-intrusive way, the app provides an option to synchronize with user's online calendar. In this way, the system can analyze user's schedule and notify user in a proper time slot. We iterated the design of this setting several times because some first-time users got confused when they tried to activate this function. Based on the feedback our participants provided, we changed the wordings and screen arrangement to smoothen this user flow.

We also adjusted the content and layout of the bottom tab bar to match user's behavior several times. We put the recording button, which is the most used function, in the middle with a larger icon to let user trigger this function easily, and also removed other less used functions from this tab bar to keep it concise.

In order to guide the first-time user to be familiar with our major functions, we created a tutorial screen to introduce the capability of each item in the tab bar.

We also produced several variations of the visualization charts to test the practicability. We chose timeline table and category pie chart into our final design because they are more useful than others according to the participants' feedback.

Final Design
Record Water Intake
Beverage Category Chart
Water Intake Timeline
Tutorial Screen
Home Screen
Smart Reminder