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Bearly Friends - Self help and management tool for users with Social Anxiety Disorder

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Completed

August 2018

Roles and Responsibilities

User Research (Qualitative and Quantitative)

Requirement Gathering

Data Analysis and Ideation

Wireframing

Visual Design 

High Fidelity Prototyping

Tools

Adobe XD

Overview

Location based social networking app for people with Social Anxiety Disorder with assistive features

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Design Process

User Research and Analysis

Ideation and Wireframing

Visual Design and Microinteractions

Retrospection

User Research and Analysis

Research Goals

This  was a course assignment inspired by a gameplay called The average everyday adventures of Samantha Browne. The player is required to go the kitchen and make a bowl of an oatmeal while experiencing the world and the emotions from a perspective of Samantha who is affected by Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

The goal of my research was to better understand SAD and brainstorm possible solutions that provides some assistance to the affected people in managing their symptoms

Research Method 

  • Survey 

  • Interviews with two licensed therapist

  • Competitive Audit

Interview responses

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Interviewee 1

Highly discouraged such applications as in her experience and opinion, patients are often susceptible and sensitive to misinformation and often end up incorrectly diagnosing themselves which may in turn increase their anxiety. She highly recommended meeting a therapist first.

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Interviewee 2
Couldn’t really say if these mobile applications are useful because her therapy does not really involve CBT. However she highly encourages the ideations of platforms that make the rehabilitation of mental health more accessible and referred to a long waiting list in the UK where they are too many sufferers and not enough therapists to assist them.

The survey did not yield a lot of useful response as all participants did not have SAD. However the survey indicated that majority of the respondents experience anxiety in public situations where there are more strangers.

After finding the direct competitors, I reviewed the customer feedback on the app store. Furthermore, after choosing three direct competitors, I used their application and registered myself as a patient to explore the user experience of their application.

Competitive Audit

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  • Users connect to a licensed therapist who actively partakes in rehabilitation

  • As per the user review, the therapists are not always available

  • The services are paid

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  • After survey, users describe their feeling and  a diagnosis along with a disclaimer to get in touch with a doctor is generated

  • Users were able to talk to the bots as they felt that they were not wasting anyone’s time

  • Can be used alongside professional treatment

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  • After a brief survey, user is connected to a bot and then a listener

  • The licensed therapist are paid however the listeners are available for free

  • The app offers no treatment

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Analysis - Affiniti Mapping

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Takeaways from the Affiniti Mapping

Treatment

Variations of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seem to show promise

Gaining trust

Users can freely open up under the cover of anonymity

Situations

Public situations aggravate the anxiety

Proper Diagnosis

Proper diagnosis is needed from a professional

Accessibility

Users experience neglect when therapists aren’t available

Ideation and Wireframing

The Product

  1. Help users in initiating conversations virtually and anonymously to give them a sense of confidence and control

  2. Provide in-app journaling and mood monitoring to track progress.

  3. Provide professional counselling by allowing users to connect to the professional counsellors.

Low Fidelity Prototype

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User flow and the wireframe

Features that this app can include

  • Journaling 

  • Mood tracker for self evaluation

  • Anonymous chat with other users affected by extreme anxiety

  • Allowing the real time access of mood tracker and the journal to the therapist under the user’s discretion

  • Initiating a reward system for meditation and exposure therapy exercises

  • Allowing a user to set daily goals and reminders to log in their food

  • Connecting the app with the native health app of Google or Apple to track a user’s health data under the user’s discretion

What to watch out for 🚨

Giving any form of diagnosis to avoid thinking traps and letting the users communicate

Visual Design and Microinteractions

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User Onboarding before signup

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User Onboarding after signup

Text fields and Buttons

Typography

Colors

Design components

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Illustrations

Taken and modified from
undraw.co/illustrations

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Retrospection

Takeaways

  • This project allowed me to explore a lot of literature on SAD however a special care needs to be taken in designing solutions in a healthcare and accessibility domain.

  • Collaboration with therapist and experts in necessary throughout the design process 

  • The onboarding and the app needs to convey a lot of trust to the users in terms of data security and anonymity 

  • Prospective users suffering from Social Anxiety need to be observed (in a form of remote interviews or surveys)

The next step

  • Review the prototype with licensed therapists 

  • Conduct a design sprint based on the feedback

  • Iterate and test

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