About the Project

Recovering opioid addicts undergo a tough time in keeping themselves motivated throughout the process. Many lose motivation and relapse. The aim of this product is to provide a means to celebrate their recovery stages and help them regulate their lifestyle by staying in touch with care providers even after their return from rehab centers.

5 Weeks
Team Members
Suzy, Darshan
My Role
1. I conducted three out Seven interviews (Executive Director of Salvation Army Rehab Center, a recovered addict, and a family member of a late addict).
2. Prototyped and incorporated suggestions/feedback from team members and user evaluations.
3. Conducted user evaluation through think-aloud and observation. (1 Evaluation / 3 Evaluations)
4. Gauged potential user interface issues in the prototype using the cognitive walkthrough method. (2 workflow evaluations / 6 Evaluations)
The Challenge

The Prompt — How might we curtail opioid addiction in Indiana?

Drug overdose deaths in Indiana
averaging to five hoosiers everyday in 2017
$78.5 Billion
Estimated economic burden of opioid misuse
in USA per year
Our Solution
Help the recovering addict to maintain a motivated lifestyle by having consistent follow ups with the care provider and prevent relapse.
By providing a tool (Milestone Application) for extrinsic motivation which will encourage life changes eventually.
Achievements themselves are less important than how you choose to commemorate and celebrate the accomplishments.
– Sofia Quintero (Founder of Enjoy HQ)
The Process
User Research

To understand the opioid addiction treatment process, we scheduled interviews with rehab center officials, recovering addicts and support groups.

Observation Findings

1. Staffs were friendly and focused in providing a homely atmosphere to the recovering addicts.
2. Cleanliness and health of an addict is monitored periodically.
3. Availability of fun space for playing cards and other games.
4. Motivating quotes around the most accessible places.
5. Garden and meditation space are well maintained.
6. White boards and group therapy places were not sophisticated.

Interview Findings

1. Phases of treatment in the rehabilitation process.
2. Treatment costs.
3. Stigma for being an addict.
4. Inconsistent follow ups.
5. Relapse rate and potential causes.
6. Formal process and less appreciations involved.
7. Hard to build intrinsic motivation.

Quotes from user interviews
"75% of our consumers, graduate in the rehab process, even higher success rate, while 25% or less relapse"
-  Major K Kendall Mathews, the executive director of Salvation Army Harbor LightCenter
"Sober person has to want to be sober, you can't be sober for them, they need to feel badly enough, feel enough pain to want to change"
- Ryan, Mc Glinchey, Assistant Program Director of the Collegiate Recovery Community
"Seeing my mom's opioid addiction case, I would rather die than taking opioid for my upcoming surgery"
- Anonymous (member in the family of a late addict)
Rehab Process

From our interviews, we learned the phases an addict goes through in the recovery process. To define and figure out where there could be improvements to prevent relapse, we sketched out the stages they go through in the treatment cycle. As a result, we found that the follow ups were inconsistent after the in-house treatment (Dedicated treatment under care provider at rehab).

Affinity Diagram

From our interviews with rehab center staff and victims, we received valuable information related to our problem space. In order to categorize them, we used affinity diagram to form themes from the collected qualitative data.

Empathy Map

After Identifying codes from our qualitative research findings, we wanted to empathize the user on what they think, what they see around them, what they do, what are their pain and gains. So, we drew an empathy map to understand the perspective of our audience on the rehab treatment and societal challenges.

Gathering Key Requirements

From our above analysis, we chose the essential points that could help addicts, when addressed. Below are those,
1. Need for fun and motivation in the recovery process.
2. Easy mode for communication with the care providers.
3. Provide continuum of care (During and after treatment).
4. Recovering addicts should be able to receive timely feedback.
5. Find opportunities to engage in social activities.

Reframing the problem space

From our findings, we wanted to focus on improving the rehab process for addicts to prevent relapse.


To better understand our target audience, we contrived two personas.


How might we improve the effectiveness of rehab process to help the addicts in the process of their recovery ?

We began to brainstorm among ourselves and then brainstormed with people of different backgrounds. Out of all the ideas we shortlisted three ideas considering the social, economical, political and technical feasibility.

Idea 1 - A Journaling App

The Journaling application to document recovering addicts habits which would provide patterns to identify positive and negative patterns related to misusing opioids.

Idea 2 - Milestone Celebration App

The milestone celebration application that provide an opportunity for a recovering addict to celebrate milestones and small victories in the recovery process.

Idea 3 - Penpal Connection App

The Penpal connection application connects recovering addicts who are in the same vicinity to foster peer support.

From the above three ideas we chose our second design idea as it closely matches with our key requirements
1. Motivation through celebration and provide continuum of care after the in-house recovery process.
2. A gamified milestone tracker to inculcate fun instead of a formal process.
For understanding the use-case on how our design idea can work in a real world scenario, we sketched two storyboards
Low Fidelity Prototype
Iteration 1 - Defining the screen flow
Iteration 2 - Refining the components and workflow
High Fidelity Prototype
Room for Improvements

We evaluated our prototype with user of different backgrounds such as knowledgeable person in UX, novice mobile app users and highly skilled mobile user. The reason for testing with diverse group is to gather perspectives of all levels of user because it is feasible for an opioid addict to fall in any of the above category.

Apart from the user evaluations, we did cognitive walkthrough and heuristics to uncover potential issues from the users point of view.

Findings and Feedback
1. Users found it difficult to use back arrow button repeatedly instead of easy access to most-accessible features of the application.
2. User wanted to complete their goals without following the order it appears or in the order they add while setting their milestones.
3. Users liked the idea of SMART goals, however they wished it could have been more intuitive.
4. We could have used Infographics wherever possible.
Future Scope

Prioritizing the issues identified from user evaluations, we would also like to explore possibilities to partner with government or local organizations to develop a more definitive reward system that is above and beyond screen-based rewards (monetary, social status, or employment possibilities linked to the successful completion of milestones).

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