An image of a tablet, with a smiling emoticon face next to text that says "THEA".
Why do this project
Daily tasks of living can be problematic for neurodivergent people, including the basic tasks of scheduling and/or remembering medicine, doubly so if a household has multiple neurodivergent members. 
How can we remove the burden of remembering a schedule in a way that’s friendly to neurodivergence and disability both on a single user scale and multiple user scale?
Initial data that informed my project
The initial survey was conducted via google forms, and spread primarily through word of mouth and email, netting 22 participants. 
The follow up interviews were done using Zoom with 8 people, to go deeper into their personal mental health management.
 The initial demographic data concentrated on a specific set of experiences. This is likely due to the fact that the participants were pulled from a pool of students at a predominantly female, white university.
Preference testing
I began to design the interface of THEA using preference testing with rough sketches, primarily to test the homepage and overall idea of the concepts before I dove into the main design. 
The roughness of the sketches were actually an asset to this process, as my testers were less focused on the visual design and drew their attention to the concepts.

Concept A focused on a more traditional calendar system, oriented towards family management of multiple neurodivergent users, giving users a view of both their own routine and the routine of other peoples. 
The interactions would be swipe based, mimicking common smartphone interactions.
Both concepts rely on a system of the users setting their routine and then the system speaking them out at designated times, with the option to expect a response from the user, if the user finds a call and response helpful to transition them to the next task of their routine.
Concept B was referencing virtual pets of the 90s with a visual representation of a virtual assistant, to serve as an easily accessible friend an individual user could bond with and was just for the,
Concept testing results
62.5% users said that they would prefer Concept A, as they feared they would get distracted by the cuddly characters. 
Others felt mildly infantilized by the idea of the virtual pet  "telling them what to do.", however, some praised Concept B's potential application for children. This implies that it could be a branching product in the future.
the final recommended concept is Concept A. Its simpler, sleeker, and appeals more to the neurodivergent adults. The interactions mimic common Apple and Android phone gestures, providing an ease of transition into using THEA.

Element collages
Following my concept testing, I did element collages, testing potential UI styles and colors for the app in order to establish the proper brand guidelines. I also had potential users review them via digital sticky notes for what emotions and attributes they brought up in the users. It ended up that all of them had brand traits I wanted THEA to have, so I had to combine a bit of all of them.
the UI Kit
The UI kit is designed to be both friendly and soothing, with the goal a reduced cognitive load on the user.
Being aware of the cognitive load on the user is especially important when serving the mental health of users, as mental health concerns activate the mind to overexert itself.
Final Product and Impact
In the process of working on this project, and going through multiple rounds of testing and critique, the final product evolved from the original concept into a balance between the clinical and the cute, resulting in a complete concept for an AI chatbot and personal life manager that is friendly and easy to use.

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