My project is to design a smartphone application that provides anxiety treatment resources for patients.  The application requires user input to make decisions on anxiety treatment.  The affordances intend to make the application intuitive and easy to use.  The technical aspects are appropriate for a small scale design project.  The research phase included reading course materials to prepare.
The smartphone application takes input from the user.  Data includes user input like button clicks, text entry and usage patterns.  The data implications are that the user was able to read English and that they could operate a smartphone.  The data limits are that the user must be honest in their responses, they must able to describe their own feelings, and they must give consent for their data to be secured.  The data construction takes user input and creates an informed understanding of the patient’s personal anxiety condition.  This input allows the smartphone application to decide how to best provide anxiety treatment resources.
The smartphone application affords several interactions for the user.  Affordances include clicking on screen elements, scrolling on screen elements, listening to audio and viewing info graphics.  The affordance socio-political implications are that the user must have access to a smartphone, they must be experienced in technology, they must not be blind, they must not be deaf and they must read and speak English.  Almquist and Lupton explain the effect of adding UI elements on screen: “designers often embed artifacts with visual cues and indicators that suggest functionality; however, these artifacts still have multiple affordances—such as repurposing for use as a weapon, or as a doorstop, or as an icon for a social movement—that are not necessarily related to its intended function, or programmed into the object by its designer.”  They are suggesting that adding unnecessary UI elements may have a different effect than intended and so a minimal number of UI elements may minimize the chance for confusion with the simplest design.  They also explain the importance of using a standard presentation for UI elements on screen: “In a designed artifact, the intended use should be easily understood by the masses. According to Norman, if people do not properly interpret the message of the designed object, it has been poorly designed. This suggests that objects should embody some sort of universal language so that all people will be able to understand and interpret the message.”  This tells us to use standard UI elements.  This is one of the limitations of user centered design that appears when it is focusing on engineered users, rather than realistic users.  It is easier to focus on engineered users, who only require a standard presentation.  But if we were to focus on realistic users, then we might consider multiple presentations that would meet the needs of sub-groups.  This additional work can take more time for research and development.  These affordances describe the interactions between the user and object.
There are several technical aspects for this project.  The prototype will be done using the website with usability and user experience design in mind and the development will use the Android Studio or Unity environments.  The activities you could do include visit different pages, input data, show results, practice coaching, role play social situations, track progress, listen to meditation sounds and fill out CBT worksheets.  The interaction works on smartphone products.  These details will help realize the project concept.  Drucker explains the relationship between data and capta: “The graphical force conceals what the statistician knows very well — that no "data" pre-exist their parameterization. Data are capta, taken not given, constructed as an interpretation of the phenomenal world, not inherent in it.”  This tells us that information used for this project will be constructed by interpreting the user input as capta.
The smartphone application is designed according to course materials on data, affordance and capta.  These concepts help understand the role of information in the design process.  Understanding this role will help the project reach the largest amount of users and make improvements to their lives by providing anxiety treatment resources.​​​​​​​

 I have completed many use case scenarios and use case diagrams to validate that I am building something that my demographic can use. My target audience is individuals suffering with managing their anxiety. I know that many people have different levels of anxiety, some can be brought on from stress, and some can be brought on from trauma. I accept that my audience seems broad, but I do believe that I can build a website that will introduce these individuals to coping strategies. My project will focus on providing tools to cope and manage anxiety by practicing mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), self-soothing strategies and grounding techniques.
I have completed one interview in person. I spoke with Laura Grant a licensed behavioral therapist at Community Psychiatric clinic in Seattle, WA. Ms. Grant works with many patients that are struggling with panic disorders due to general anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Laura believes that Mindfulness is one of the most important parts of her therapy because it trains the patient how to cope with or stop an oncoming panic attack. Laura also teaches her patients cognitive behavioral therapy as well as dialectical behavioral therapy which is very commonly taught along-side mindfulness techniques.
I spoke with Ms. Grant about my project and showed her a competitive analysis that compares websites that are similar to my project. My competitive analysis focused on what features each site provided. This competitive analysis is to test that my project offers something different than the competitors. Ms. Grant gave me many different worksheets that are used by patients to manage and score their coping skills. I was also given a large packet of information on DBT and CBT.
I asked Ms. Grant what tools would be most useful for people that are having trouble dealing with panic attacks and general anxiety. Ms. Grant agreed that having a website with interactive CBT and DBT forms, video links to meditation, animated breathing exercises, information on mindfulness and other self-help strategies to cope with anxiety and panic disorders could be very helpful to those in need. She also enjoyed the idea of having a map of nearby walk in clinics for people in a crisis.
I am currently waiting on an email reply from Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) UCLA Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. I have asked permission to use their guided meditation audio files for my project. If I cannot secure these files, I will contact UW Seattle to see if they have any material that I could use for this project. Ms. Grant thought that the guided meditation audio files would be very helpful for the demographic that I am targeting.
I am also awaiting a reply from David J. Kosins, PhD. Dr. Kosins is a Psychologist in the Seattle area. I found him through the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Dr. Kosins uses CBT to treat his patients. I am hoping that he will be able to answer some questions regarding what CBT therapy works best for his patients and what could be improved through the use of technology.
Almquist, Julka, and Julia Lupton. "Affording meaning: design-oriented research from the humanities and social sciences." Design Issues 26.1 (2010): 3-14.
Drucker, Johanna. "Humanities approaches to graphical display." Digital Humanities Quarterly 5.1 (2011): 1-21.
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