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Designing a Mobile App for Individuals Recovering from an Opioid Addiction

This was a collaborative research project with UT Dell Medical School. The goal was to design an mobile health application for opioid users who were recently released from incarceration so that eventually it can decrease their fatal overdoses and improve the recovery process. My role in this project was a UX Researcher, assisting the design team in analyzing interview data and discussing main features for the app. The project was presented at 2018 UXPA Conference Student Poster Competition and was selected as a finalist.

The project team included the following members (from left to right in the picture): Joseph Wilkinson, Yoomi Cha, Andrea Gutierrez, Hannah Levin, Xinyi Xu, Yung-Sheng Chang, and Eric Nordquist (Supervisor, not in the picture).

Competitive Analysis
  • Initial design features of the app was based on competitive analysis of existing mobile health apps and previous substance abuse research.
  • 9 semi-structured interviews were conducted with opioid users to determine user journey and features of mobile health intervention.
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Main Features

The mobile application was redesigned based on insights gained from the interviews. The app had three main features:

Journal & Motivation
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Suppot & Mentor
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Learn & Education
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Lesson Learned
Best Practices for Conducting UX Research with Sensitive Population
  • User their language:
    • Consult with professional in social work to learn respectful language. Avoid stigmatizing language. Use the phrases that the participants use.
  • Work around their schedule:
    • Understand the participants' schedule and accommodate. Meet with participants where and when they are most comfortable.
  • Understand the power dynamics:
    • It is especially important to make participants feel comfortable when they have a history of being degraded and minimized. ​
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