IXDA Interaction Design Awards 18 Finalist
IXDA Interaction Design Awards 18 Finalist

Encuro Blocks

Awards and Acheivements:   

Interactions 2018 Awards Finalist, IxDA Global

Exhibited at New Desginers, 2016

Product Design Prize, University and Brighton

Awards and Acheivements:   

Interactions 2018 Awards Finalist, IxDA Global

Exhibited at New Desginers, 2016

Product Design Prize, University and Brighton

My Role:

User research, Journey Mapping, Visual Design, Product Roadmapping, physical product design engineering.

1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in their lifetime, it is an epidemic that is debilitating to all members of society.  Encuro Blocks are designed to communicate and visualise problems, both emotional and practical. It helps those around the sufferer understand what they are going through and help them help the user.

1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in their lifetime, it is an epidemic that is debilitating to all members of society.  Encuro Blocks are designed to communicate and visualise problems, both emotional and practical. It helps those around the sufferer understand what they are going through and help them help the user.

The Problem

1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in their lifetime, it is an epidemic that is debilitating to all members of society. The WHO estimates that depression and anxiety, the most common forms of mental illness will be the leading cause of global disability burden by 2020.

Solution in a nutshell

Depression can make everyday things such as cleaning or having a shower very overwhelming, support from family and friends were found to be the key to recovery.

Encuro Blocks are designed to communicate and visualise problems, both emotional and practical. It helps those around the sufferer understand what they are going through and help them help the user.

Discovery Phase

01 Understand the landscape

Desk research was used to understand the landscape in the UK of mental health services and to understand the high level question:

What are the major challenges faced by those with mental health problems?

Key Insights

  • Mental health problems both globally and locally in the UK. The most common being depression and anxiety, which affects 1 in 5 adults at any given time.

  • Help seeking for those who first experience symptoms of MHPs is a biggest hurdle for many users.

02 Gain a deeper understanding

Primary research was conducted to gain a deeper understanding into the act of help seeking through the lens of mental health professionals, users who have a history of MHPs and those around then.

First, an interview with a psychologist.
Research_0003_Expert-1024×685
Key findings:
  • Validation of the help seeking being very hard for many
  • Many suffer in silence before admitting to having a problem
  • Friends and family for those suffering are key to getting professional help
Then let’s speak with some people who have had experience with mental health problems. 

Interviews were initially considered, but it lacked the depth and objectivity, so two tasks were devised to go along with support the interview process.

Task 1 - Your journey

A customer journey map was modified and participants were asked to plot their experiences from when they first realised that they may have a MHP to the present, and to annotate key moments where appropriate.

This became a talking point for the interview, where participants were asked to elaborate on their “timelines”

Cultural Probe
Letter to your previous self

Task 2 - A letter to your younger self

Alongside the timeline, participants were further asked to write a letter to their previous self. This helped better understand the challenges and mindset when people are ill.

Key findings:
  • Participants often self diagnosed for a long period before they reached out for help
  • Without the push from friends and family, many would not have sought help themselves
  • Stigma and the belief that they could get through it alone resulted in the worsening of symptoms and isolation
So if friend and family are the key to getting better, and 1 in 3 people have a MHP, how equipped is the general public in recognising the symptoms, and do they know what to do next?
With this is mind, another group had to be researched: The general public.

Using case studies designed for mental health first aid training, a deck of scenario cards were made and given to groups of 4 participants from the “general public” group.

These groups were asked to discuss and come up with what they would do in these scenarios.

Scenarios
Key findings:
  • Participants were quick to identify symptoms depression and anxiety, but not more severe illnesses such as psychosis
  • Even though they knew something was wrong, they did not know what to do next
  • The topic of mental health is still stigmatised and many would rather wait for problems to escalate than to “do the wrong thing”
  • Worry about “making things worse” prevented the general public from reaching out to help

03 Creating Actionable Insights

Aggregated findings had to be translated into actionable insights in order to design a solution to the problem. 

Two personas, a virtural reality mood board and a user requirement specification were created. 

Ideation

Divergent, convergent, then divergent again. This was the process used to generate first a multitude of ideas in a short amount of time, elimination of the impossible ideas, and expansion of the ones kept. 

ideation

The mega mindmap that sparked the initial 29 ideas

The Final Five 

After using a varity of elimination techniques to weed out the non-feasable. These final five ideas were taken to all research participants (experts, those with a history of mental health probelms and the general public) for review.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 3.06.04 am
The Chosen Idea

After taking the final five to the research participants to review, it was decided that the blocks idea would be taken forward.

Futher along the line, both the physical and digital aspects of the product would change drastically.  

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 3.12.59 am

Refinement

A New Persona

The persona from the discovery phase was updated to define the audience for this particular product. It was decided that the primary user would have to be technologically literate and suffered from depression and or anxiety. 

The scales show the most important characteristics which would influence the use of the product. As it is important to be inclusive of people on both sides of the extreme, the two Xs show the extremes in which the product has to operate. Some characteristics, such has motivation, is limited due to the effects of depression.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 2.52.23 am

Journey Mapping to find pain points

cx-map

Test and Iterate

Both the physical and the digital experiences were evaluated and refined after rounds of testing to optimise fuctionality, usability and desirability. 

favicon

Copyright Chloé Fong 2018