Project RESeT

Visual & Interaction Design

ToolsFigma, Sketch, Premiere Pro, Unreal Engine, Bodystorming, Whiteboarding

Methods: User Testing, Ideation, Prototyping, Interaction Design

Funding: National Science Foundation + University of Washington Reality Lab

⚠️ This page is currently in progress. 🚧

Team Size : 15 members 

Duration: Dec 2019 - Present

Location: Momentary Experience Lab (RESeT), Human-Center Design and Engineering, University of Washington

Project RESeT (Relaxation Environment for Stress in Teens) is the design and development of a self-administered, school-based stress intervention aimed to increase access by minimizing school personnel and student burden. Through a participatory approach to human-centered design, we have collaborated with teens as co-designers to design and develop mindfulness-based intervention components into interactions in a virtual environment. 


Eighty-one percent of teens report school as their primary stressor. Recent evidence shows the cumulative impact of everyday sources of stress is highly prevalent and impactful on teens. Chronic stress is a known risk factor for both physical and mental health problems. The developing adolescent brain makes adolescents especially vulnerable to the cumulative insults of chronic stress. While effective stress reduction interventions for adolescents exist, most are cost-prohibitive and burdensome on staff and student time, especially for under-resourced schools

Literature Review

Virtual-reality (VR) has been shown effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and pain due to its immersive experience. The following paper presents a participatory, human-centered design process utilizing teens as co-designers to develop a VR interaction intended to reduce stress.


We describe our co-design process including research, storyboarding, group interviews, and prototyping of our thought disposal interaction. In addition, we discuss our design of an immersive measurement tool to capture the immediate effect of the interaction.



Clay Activity


Talk out loud session

Utilizing the data learned from research, we then engaged teens in the ideation of an interaction that would reduce their stress. First, using storyboarding, we asked a group of teens to work in pairs to illustrate an interaction to reduce their stress. Interestingly, many of the interactions captured involved a thought disposal like concept.

Second, teens worked in pairs to modify nature sounds and images until they formed a relaxing environment. From these data, we (1) confirmed that a forested nature environment in winter was preferred, (2) nature sounds needed to be subtle, but realistic and diverse, and (3) thought disposal was a salient and desirable interaction for teens.


We also learned that in VR, teens prefer to be active in nature, enjoy being attentive to auditory sounds, and prefer a realistic as opposed to fantasy or cartoon design style. 

This led to our research question~

How effective is virtual relaxation at reducing stress for teens over time?


We began the preliminary design of thought disposal as an interaction in VR involving burning thoughts in a fire through white boarding, body storming.

Web page construction in progress 🚧. Visit back soon 💁🏻‍♂️