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Sahara

A concept for a mental health check-in and support system powered by AI for domestic violence survivors

About the Project

Sahara is a mental health check-in system like a therapist or close friend, created to emotionally support domestic abuse survivors in recovery. The system is powered by AI, and learns from the survivor to create a personalized system of support and facilitates emotional healing and reflection.

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Sahara starts each morning with an emotional check-in to help survivors get in touch with their mental health and well-being. The system listens to the survivor and intelligently responds to the way they feel, suggesting ways to help them cope with their current emotions. Sahara learns from the survivor, understanding what methods they respond and don't respond to, providing a more personalized experience the more it is used.

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Role

UX Designer

UX Researcher

Illustrator

Team

3 Graduate Students

Duration

Sep 2020 - Dec 2020

Project

"Designing for Homes of the Future"

Human-Computer Interaction and Design Foundational Course at the University of Washington

Using affinity mapping, our team categorized our raw data from the interviews to create categories and find themes from survivor's stories. These themes included shame, needing help from others and having difficulties moving on from their traumatic experiences.

Creating our Solution

The Problem

1 in 3 women in the United States are victims of domestic abuse. We conducted interviews and contextual inquiries with domestic violence survivors, and synthesized our primary research to discover that there were certain key themes that arose across different survivors’ stories.

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Affinity mapping data from interviews

Research Insights

Abusers invalidating survivors’ emotions can cause survivors to downplay their abuse, leading them to neglect their own mental health.

Survivors are worried about disclosing their feelings through methods like using a journal, fearing a lack of privacy.

Survivors are reluctant to share their experiences with friends or family.

Problem Statement

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How might we facilitate private emotional support for domestic violence survivors in recovery?

Process

Our team collaborated virtually across different timezones using Miro.

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Brainstorming and ideation

More Exciting

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More Effective

Less Effective

Less Exciting

Downselection through matrix

Prototyping and User Testing

We prototyped a system with prompts that would be displayed on built-in screens across the house, letting the system gently nudge the survivor towards completing their journal entry for the day. After user testing, we chose to focus this mental health system to only be located in the user's bathroom.

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Paper prototyping and user-testing our journal prompts and their placement in various areas of the home

Final Design

Sahara starts each morning with an emotional check-in to help survivors get in touch with their mental health and well-being. The system listens to the survivor and intelligently responds to the way they feel, suggesting ways to help them cope with their current emotions. Sahara learns from the survivor, understanding what methods they respond and don't respond to, providing a more personalized experience the more it is used.

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