Catherine Bui

Case Study: Current

Current is a space to focus on recording your ideas and staying in a flow state while typing. A note taking app with a space for users to focus on jotting their ideas down without any inhibitions.

The Challenge

Design an app that motivates users to stay in their flow state while typing, and a reminder to keep them in their flow state that is not overbearing or annoying.

The Outcome

A notetaking interface that focuses the user by highlighting their most recent words, a subtle but effective "flow state" reminder, and a floating action button that allows the user to quickly start a new note whenever they want to.

Prototypes of flow state reminder

The prototypes below compare two different ways of alerting the user that time is running out after the user has stopped typing. Prototype 1 tests a reminder that is more obvious versus a more subtle reminder in Prototype 2. Initially, Prototype 1 seemed more interesting during ideation in Sketch. But after testing both prototypes, Prototype 2 proved to be more appropriate and less jarring.

Click into the text area to jot some ideas down. If you stop typing for 5 seconds there will be a reminder to alert you that you should resume typing. The current prototypes give you 15 seconds total to pause before the messaging screen appears to tell you that you are out of time. The user in the final product can adjust this time span to their preference.

Mobile users: For a better experience, the Framer prototypes have been hidden, please visit the prototypes directly from your mobile browser.

Try out these prototypes.

Prototype 1: Obvious reminder

Reminds user to resume typing with a slow fade in of yellow on the screen while keeping the already typed text visible until user runs out of time.

Prototype 2: Subtle reminder (Chosen version)

Reminds user to resume typing by fading the text they have typed and the keyboard away until both dissapears.

Floating Action Button

From a variety of contexts within the app, the user can quickly start a note, add a notebook or search within their notes. The button allows the user to jump to writing or reach any other main goals quicker and easier. If a user desires to type a new note they should be able to do so as efficiently as possible.

Branding and Identity

The goal was to achieve a clean, type driven design similar to traditional paper journals and diaries. To achieve that, classic serifs spoke for themselves in the headers and body copy against a neutral color palette. Meanwhile, using yellow as an accent color to carry an uplifting and creative mood throughout the app.




Display Type

Body Type

Secondary Type

The driving force to design this app came mostly out of my own desire to have a clean well designed space to jot down ideas and to focus on my writing instead of editing. The idea was also heavily inspired by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's, a Hungarian psychologist, concept of flow, a highly focused mental state, that allows people to find genuine satisfaction and happiness with their work.

Concept work, August 2016
Design and prototypes