Other Team Members: Anne Zheng: Lead UX Researcher, psychology consultant & Developer
Deliverables: Persona; User Journey Map; Interactive Prototype
Tool: Sketch; Illustrator; Protopie.
Accept Your Urge, Not Avoid it.
The research shows that users avoiding thinking about urges or using distraction ways may end up developing more urges. Our treatments help users accept their urge and realize that the urge is just an urge. 
By practicing through several treatments, users will gradually reduce fear towards urges and build confidence on defeating urges. 
Rewards & Motivations
Report & Analysis
Setting & Night Mode
Additional Channels
Users can also access the treatments via tablet or laptop.
Understand Users & Define Problems
Before we start the design, we spend time learning target users' behaviors, pain points and needs.
User Research
Initially, we conducted 1 focus group, 5 user interviews with smokers, and 1 survey study to understand the target users. Based on the research results, we defined our target users and their problems.
Target Users
1. Heavy smokers who want to quit smoking due to the concern of their own health.
2. Heavy smokers who want to quit smoking so that they can spend more quality life with their families and friends.
3. Smokers who cannot afford expensive smoking cessation methods such as nicotine replacement therapy or traditional psychiatrist therapy.
1. Nicotine replacement therapy often result in withdrawal symptoms like physical sickness or mental disorders. Eventually, smokers would smoke again to relieve those symptoms. In addition, smokers often find themselves mentally crave for the cigarette, and therefore the nicotine replacement therapy does not work for them. Some smokers also cannot afford those therapies.
2. Many smoking cessation treatments ask smokers to avoid triggers of smoking. However, the more they avoid thinking about the urges, the more urges come up in their mind. Many users hold negative feelings and thoughts about themselves for their substance use, resulting in anxiety or depression which leads to more cravings in a cycle of abuse.
3. Smoking often triggered by smokers’ environment and social community. If their family members and friends also smoke, it will be very hard for them to quit smoking. 
Based on the previous research, we come up with 2 personas: 
Persona 1
Persona 2
Brainstorm & Ideation​​​​​​​
User Journey Map
Affinity Diagram
By doing the affinity diagram and reading the research scripts, we find several common insights:
1. Building confidence and avoiding negative feelings such as self-accusation after slippery is extremely crucial to heavy smokers.
2. Avoiding environmental and social smoking triggers could reduce the chance of having an urge. But to quit successfully, smokers would also like to receive support and encouragement from social groups. 
3. Letting smokers accept their urges rather than avoiding those urges will reduce their fear and shame towards the urge and help them build a more positive feeling on quit.
4. In post-quit sessions, smokers' motivations wane gradually. 
5. Smokers want to see more practical steps that can help them quit, and also need some ways to help them deal with the physical or mental withdraw symptoms. 
Secondary Research
After doing the affinity diagram and going through the user journey map, we also read some academic articles related to quit smoking and find a therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It's an empirically based therapy that can help patients accept their negative feelings, and as a result increasing the psychological flexibility of patients. 
According to the user research, smokers who tried to quit smoking several times have a fear of their own urges and lack confidence on defeating them. We think that the ACT can help smokers defeat smoking urges and gradually build confidence on quitting by letting them accept rather than avoid their urge, and eventually quit smoking. Therefore, we decided to use ACT as the primary content in our design, and also apply ACT thinkings in our design.
After going through all research data, we decided to focus on the first stage of the user journey map: smoke / slip > motivated by others (awareness) > start to quit > during quit > smoke / slip. This is the most common stage when people tend to slip or give up, and we want to pull smokers through.
Instead of telling users to avoid the smoking triggers and ignore the urges, we want to help users understand that having urges is common and not a big deal, and thus they should just accept their urges. By stopping demonizing their urges, they will gradually build confidence on defeating urges. Moreover, slippery is common in quitting process. We want to reduce users’ guilt when they slipped so that they will not smoke more to cope with the guilt and self-accusation.  
Besides, we want to provide various motivations of quit to users. Users can encourage each other by posting their quitting experience and success stories on the online community. Moreover, we can show users their urge resist and smoking history, and health benefits by quitting smoking.
Users would like to easily access to the therapy anytime in anywhere, as urges may come up anytime. To achieve that, we plan to design a mobile app.
In addition, some ACT therapies (such as meditation) requires users to close their eyes. Some blind users will also not be able to read the contents. Thus, it is crucial to allow users to hear the contents.
First iteration:
Feedback from initial usability tests
Second iteration
Based on the first usability tests, I redesigned the workflow and information architecture of the whole app. In the new design, the treatments become the main page of the app.


Workflow of wireframs

Future Actions
We plan to run several usability tests on the current design. We will also start designing and adding more treatments to the app, and test the contents once finished..
My Takeaway
Fully understand the actual user needs and pain points is a necessary and crucial step before the actual design.
Before designing more detailed content, test the workflow and sitemap with target users to avoid the waste of time and effort.
Expect to have multiple iterations (design & test) before the final design.

You may also like

Back to Top