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Desktop Task Manager


Five Weeks


Zachary Drucker

Evelyn Johnson

My Role


Brainstorming & Sketches

User Testing



Problem Space

For a course project, teams were challenged to develop insights and generate design concepts based on personal behavior reports from undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University.  We chose to focus on college students since many students multi-task which leads to an inability to concentrate.

Our Concept

Based on personal behavior projects conducted by undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, students will have the ability to increase their productivity by using the Desktop Task Manager. This software encourages the user to focus on specifc assignments by isolating each task while avoiding distracting windows, therefore increasing productivity.

Concept Generation

As part of our team strategic meetings, we independently brainstormed for five minutes intervals, writing our ideas on sticky notes and formulating the ideas on a whiteboard.  We created an affinity diagram allowing us to break down and segregate our research and distinguish common themes.

We concluded that:

1. Solutions need to be based on problems, not goals.

2. Time + productivity leads to sustainability.

We noted that many students are distracted while working on assignments, particularly due to digital distractions.  Our concept was designed to combat this problem. 


Our initial design consisted of pop-up windows which encourages the user to increase productivity by redirecting their desktop to a designated assignment. 


We continued to iterate on that design after conducting user testing. We chose to implement isolated tabs on a task bar designed to aid the user’s concentration on an assignment. Isolated tabs challenge the user to determine if they purposely choose to suspend their progress. This extra measure encourages the user to continue working, therefore increasing their productivity. 


Our prototype consisted of an animation I created that displays the Desktop Task Manager’s functionality and capability. The user is able to create personalized tasks within their task bar. Within each designated task, specifc applications are incorporated only if they are necessary for the completion of that task. Consequently, the user is able to concentrate on a task since the relavent applications needed will be grouped together. The user has the ability to add or delete applications when working in a task.

I Learned...

...importance of user testing in the design process. User testing allowed me to identify which aspects of the design were most beneficial and which were least valuable. Without testing our design with users, I would not have been able to accurately iterate our design.