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RESEARCH + UX/UI DESIGN 

FocusPilot: Navigating ADHD/ADD with Daily Motivation & Task Management

FocusPilot is a digital solution to empower adults with ADHD/ADD to effectively manage their daily tasks, reduce stress, and maintain motivation. By offering Focus Mode, customisable feedback, and a rewards system, FocusPilot creates a supportive environment that makes daily productivity easier. The project's research-driven design aligns with current academic studies and industry standards.

Research Requirements 
  1. Secondary research

  2. Generative primary research with adults diagnosed with ADHD/ADD

  3. Iterative research with prototypes

Successful Output

A high-fidelity prototype, tested with adults diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, outlines the solution and demonstrates 2-3 user flows of key features. 

Considerations

When designing FocusPilot, several critical considerations were taken into account:

1. Ethical Considerations - User Consent and Data Privacy: Consent forms, screener forms, and transcripts were used during formative evaluations to maintain ethical engagement and protect user privacy. Clear guidelines ensured that all collected data was stored securely and used solely for improvement.

   - Transparency: Users were informed of data usage and feedback implementation processes to maintain trust and transparency.

2. User-Centric Design - Accessibility: FocusPilot's design considers various accessibility needs by including customisable notifications and high-contrast modes. The goal was to create a tool that can be navigated by users with different ability levels.

   - Personalisation: The app's onboarding process provides options for personalised recommendations, ensuring users receive task suggestions and productivity strategies tailored to their needs and goals.

3. Inclusive Design Principles - Diversity of Personas: By creating diverse user personas like students, full-time workers, and parents, FocusPilot was designed to address a wide range of needs and challenges.

   - Iterative Feedback: Iterative prototype evaluations helped refine the app based on diverse user input, ensuring that FocusPilot remains adaptable and beneficial to a broad audience.

4. Sustainability and Long-Term Use - Integration with Existing Tools: The app integrates with popular productivity tools and external calendars, providing seamless synchronisation to enhance usability and promote consistent use.

Project Timeline
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Design Process

The design process for FocusPilot followed the Stanford Design Thinking methodology, emphasising empathy and user-centred solutions. The screening form continues with in-depth interviews and focus groups to understand the unique challenges faced by adults with ADHD/ADD, the process moved into the Define phase, where key insights guided the formulation of specific problem statements. During the ideation phase, brainstorming and affinity diagramming generated creative features like Focus Mode and gamified rewards. Prototypes were then developed and iterated in a round of user testing to refine the solution based on feedback.

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Emphasis

The Empathize phase, the first step in design thinking, involves understanding the user's emotions, motivations, and challenges through interviews, observations, and surveys. It aims to gain deep insights into their experiences to inform user-centred solutions.

Secondary Research

The secondary research involved an in-depth analysis of existing literature and digital solutions to better understand the current landscape of tools available for individuals with ADHD/ADD. Key findings include:

1. Prevalence and Challenges:

   - Studies reveal that ADHD/ADD affects approximately 2.5% of adults worldwide. Common challenges include impulsivity, procrastination, and difficulties with focus and time management, often leading to work and relationship problems.

2. Existing Solutions:

   - Digital Productivity Tools: Popular apps provide basic task management and gamification features. However, they lack personalisation for specific needs like reducing distractions and providing emotional support.

   - Therapeutic Interventions: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and group-based programs have been effective in improving self-esteem and symptom management in adults with ADHD/ADD.

3. Design Principles:

   - Inclusivity and Accessibility: Research emphasises the importance of designing for neurodiversity, ensuring that apps can be navigated and personalised by individuals with varying needs and cognitive abilities.

   - Feedback and Motivation: Rewards and habit-forming incentives are proven to reinforce positive behaviours and help users sustain engagement with productivity tools.

4. Gaps and Opportunities:

   - Personalisation: Existing solutions often lack customisable feedback loops and features for maintaining motivation. Personalising strategies based on user goals can enhance their effectiveness.

   - Emotional Support: Addressing anxiety, stress, and self-esteem issues in productivity tools can provide more holistic support for ADHD/ADD users.

 

Overall, the secondary research reinforced the need for a comprehensive tool that integrates productivity management, emotional support, and user-centric design principles to create a well-rounded solution.

Primary Research

The primary research involved conducting Screening forms, interviews and a focus group to gain firsthand insights into the challenges faced by adults with ADHD/ADD. Five individuals participated in one-on-one interviews, where they shared detailed information about their struggles with task prioritisation, procrastination, and maintaining focus. Additionally, a focus group of three people was organised to facilitate a group discussion on how stress and anxiety compound these issues, leading to patterns of avoidance and guilt. These qualitative methods provided a comprehensive understanding of the daily challenges and needs of adults with ADHD, shaping the design of a productivity tool that caters to their specific requirements.

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Methodologies

The methodologies employed for the primary research included one-on-one interviews and focus groups:

Screening Form:

  • Purpose: To identify suitable participants based on specific criteria relevant to the study.

  • Approach: A screening form was distributed to potential participants to ensure they met the criteria and provided their consent for participation.

Interviews:

  • Purpose: To gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges faced by adults with ADHD/ADD.

  • Participants: Five individuals were interviewed individually.

  • Approach: Semi-structured interviews allowed for open-ended responses, ensuring a rich collection of data. Participants were asked about their daily task management strategies, challenges with procrastination, and ability to maintain focus.

Focus Groups:

  • Purpose: To facilitate group discussion around ADHD-related challenges and support strategies.

  • Participants: A group of three people was selected for the focus group session.

  • Approach: Moderated by a facilitator, the focus group explored how stress and anxiety impact productivity, encouraging participants to share personal experiences and discuss effective coping strategies.

 

These methodologies provided comprehensive insights into the needs of adults with ADHD, revealing key pain points and patterns of behaviour that informed the subsequent design and development.

Screening form key findings

Challenges:

  • Participants highlighted difficulties with prioritising tasks, getting distracted, losing focus, and managing their time.

  • Additional challenges included struggling with complex tasks, losing track of time, and staying motivated.

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What are your biggest challenges in managing daily tasks and staying motivated?

ADHD/ADD Diagnosis and Management:

  • 70% of participants confirmed a diagnosis of ADHD/ADD from healthcare professionals.

  • Most participants used digital task management apps, digital or physical calendars, and alarms/reminders on devices to manage their tasks.

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How do you currently manage your daily tasks and stay motivated?

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How often do you use mobile applications to assist with task management or motivation?

Intreviews key findings
  1. Procrastination and Prioritisation: Many participants struggle with prioritising tasks and tend to procrastinate, often delaying more complex or less enjoyable tasks due to anxiety and overwhelm.

  2. Distractions and Focus: Most individuals reported difficulties staying focused on tasks without getting distracted, especially when switching between different projects or activities.

  3. Time Management Issues: Participants frequently lose track of time, often becoming engrossed in certain tasks while neglecting others, leading to challenges with time management.

  4. Technology Usage: While participants use digital task management tools and calendars, they often find them ineffective due to a lack of personalisation or features that cater specifically to ADHD/ADD-related challenges.

  5. Motivation and Engagement: Sustaining motivation is difficult, with many participants expressing the need for tools that can offer rewards, reminders, and positive reinforcement to maintain engagement.

  6. Desire for Improved Tools: There is a strong desire for a comprehensive tool that blends effective task management, focus enhancement, and motivational features specifically designed for adults with ADHD/ADD.

 

These key findings reveal the gaps in existing solutions and the specific challenges adults with ADHD face in managing their daily tasks.

Focus group key findings
  1. Stress and Anxiety Amplify Challenges: Participants highlighted how stress and anxiety significantly worsen their productivity issues. They often find themselves avoiding tasks because of the fear of failure or the overwhelming pressure to succeed.

  2. Need for Simplified Task Management: The group expressed a preference for simplified task management tools that prioritise tasks and reduce clutter, helping them focus on what matters most.

  3. Distractions and Interruptions: Frequent interruptions, both internal (thoughts and impulses) and external (notifications, people), hinder productivity and cause task-switching. Participants need features that minimise distractions.

  4. Importance of Motivation: Motivation is a major concern, with participants noting that rewards and positive reinforcement play a significant role in their ability to stay on track.

  5. Customisation and Flexibility: The group stressed the importance of tools that allow for customisable workflows and schedules. These tools should adapt to their unique routines and daily fluctuations in focus and energy levels.

  6. Desire for Community Support: Participants believe that tools that integrate social support networks or allow them to share successes with friends could improve their ability to stay consistent with goals and routines.

Empathy mapping

Empathy mapping is a critical process in design thinking that helps us understand the users' needs, motivations, and pain points by placing ourselves in their shoes. The empathy maps here represent four primary user groups: Full-Time Workers, Students, Part-Time Workers and Parents, and ADHD/ADD Experts. Each map aims to capture what the users see, hear, think, say, and do in their daily routines, and how these insights impact their productivity.

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Affinity Diagram

This affinity diagram visually organises participant data, providing insights into their demographics, daily routines, tools in use, challenges, and strategies for managing ADHD/ADD.
Key takeaways include:

Pain Points:  

Common struggles include planning tasks, avoiding procrastination, dealing with distractions, and managing self-esteem. Some participants find it difficult to start tasks or maintain productivity due to impulsiveness or multitasking.

Daily Routines and Habits:  

Participants often rely on specific daily routines like morning stretches or focus music to stay on task. Tools such as Outlook, Google Calendar, and digital reminders form a part of their daily routines.

Current Tools in Use:

Digital calendars, task management apps like Todoist, and fitness trackers help participants maintain productivity. Many prefer simple, well-known tools that can be easily integrated into their existing workflows.

Strategies for Managing ADHD/ADD

Strategies like prioritising tasks, linear planning, multi-sensory techniques, and medication are used to improve focus and organisation. Gamification elements and colour-coded task systems provide a sense of achievement and structure.

Desired Features and Solutions: 

Participants expressed a need for features that blend focus enhancement, positive reinforcement, and clear prioritisation. A focus on health and wellness, social connections, and progress tracking is desired.

Insights:

Structured schedules and reminders help participants stay organised.

   - Background noise often aids concentration.

   - Nighttime productivity, multitasking, and overcoming challenges with detailed tasks are essential considerations.

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Define

In the Define phase of the project, user personas, empathy maps, and customer journey scenarios were synthesised to capture the unique needs of different users, including students, parents, and full-time workers with ADHD/ADD. Narrative scenarios and storyboards revealed key pain points like procrastination, prioritisation difficulties, and guilt. Customer journey maps highlighted emotional touchpoints, emphasising the importance of integrating a productivity tool that effectively addresses focus challenges and helps users achieve their goals. This phase provided a clear understanding of user motivations and challenges, forming the basis for tailored solutions.

Personas

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The Young Adult

  • A university student balancing multiple courses, extracurriculars, and a part-time job. Katie experiences high levels of anxiety and struggles with procrastination and organizing her study schedule.

  • Challenges: Often delays starting assignments and loses track of deadlines. Overcommits to projects and activities, leading to burnout and a lack of motivation.

  • Needs: A tool that provides motivational prompts, gamified rewards, and a clear schedule to prevent procrastination while promoting focus and consistency.

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The Juggling Parent

  • A parent managing both family responsibilities and personal projects. Sara often feels overwhelmed, as interruptions from family make it hard to stick to routines.

  • Challenges: Finds it difficult to carve out focused time for personal projects amidst childcare and household chores. Frequently forgets tasks and struggles with time management.

  • Needs: Personalised routines and reminders that align with her family schedule, plus clear prioritisation to make sure she spends focused time on her goals.

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The Expert

  • The ADHD Expert values efficiency and seeks to help others effectively manage their ADHD/ADD. 

  • Needs: Help others with ADHD/ADD reach their full potential and encourage them to explore new strategies,  and become a leader in her field by implementing innovative techniques.

The Young Adult, Juggling Parent, and ADHD/ADD Expert represent distinct groups, each with unique challenges and goals. Together, these personas provide crucial insights into designing productivity tools tailored to varied needs and motivations.

Customer journey map

The customer journey maps illustrate the unique user journeys of the different personas as they interact with the app, moving through stages of awareness, consideration, acquisition, service, problem resolution, and loyalty. Users become aware through ads and peer recommendations, then evaluate its features via testimonials and guides. After an easy onboarding process, they customise the app with help from in-app tutorials and support, resolving issues through FAQs and customer assistance. Their emotional journey shifts from curiosity and scepticism to empowerment and loyalty, driven by positive experiences. Cross-functional teams work backstage to improve onboarding, marketing, and user support, ensuring a seamless experience that fosters satisfaction and long-term engagement.

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Point of view statements 

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User stories

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Ideate

In my project, the ideate phase involved an intensive brainstorming session where diverse solutions were generated to meet the specific needs outlined in user stories. Potential features like Easy Start, Task Funnel, and Focus Mode be reviewed, using criteria checklists and tables to prioritise those that would most effectively support task management and mindfulness. The user personas and competitive analysis guided the filtering process, ensuring the solutions aligned with the unique challenges of ADHD/ADD-friendly productivity strategies while offering a distinctive edge over existing market alternatives. This process refined the concepts into a cohesive set of features for prototyping and further testing.

How might we questions

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Ideation techniques

The ideation techniques employed to develop creative productivity features were brainstorming, rapid idea generation and Crazy 8s. Brainstorming generates diverse ideas, while Crazy 8s rapidly explores unique approaches to features like Focus Mode and rewards. Together, these techniques quickly refine productivity tool concepts emphasising customisation, gamification, and user engagement.

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NUF test

The NUF test (New, Useful, Feasible) evaluates potential features by ensuring they are innovative, valuable, and practical. Innovative features like adaptive focus modes and community challenges offer unique approaches. Habit trackers, gamified rewards, and distraction blockers address core ADHD challenges, making them valuable. Feasibility considers resource availability and technical requirements, prioritising features like focus timers and notifications over complex analytics. This test guides feature selection by balancing innovation, impact, and practicality, ensuring the final set best aligns with project goals and user needs.

Competitive analysis

This comparison chart analyses Tiimo, Inflow, Habitica, Headspace, and Calm, revealing their unique strengths and weaknesses. Tiimo and Inflow excel in visual daily planning and ADHD coaching, scoring high on accessibility. Habitica stands out for gamified task management but lacks the professionalism needed in work environments. Headspace provides comprehensive meditation content but faces repetition issues, while Calm offers stress reduction and sleep support, with limited updates. Overall, this analysis highlights opportunities to improve productivity tools through enhanced customization, educational resources, and innovative engagement strategies.

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Prototype

The prototype phase focused on visualising and refining the features and user flows. Initial sketches explored different layouts, navigation structures, and key features and personalisation settings. The paper prototype provided insights into various user journeys. Feedback from early designs informed more detailed wireframes, which were further refined to clarify navigation paths, engagement points, and interface components. Visual identity, brand elements, and user personas also helped align the prototype with the target audience. This phase was essential in identifying gaps, fine-tuning features, and ensuring a cohesive, user-friendly experience.

LowFi Prototype

During the low-fidelity paper prototype phase, initial hand-drawn wireframes were created to visualise the app's key features, navigation paths, and structural layout. The sketches showcased important functions like Focus Mode, task management, and user settings. The Marvel POP app was used to convert these static sketches into dynamic prototypes.

 

How it was Evaluated:

- The prototypes were tested by three people using the Marvel POP app, which enabled them to interact with the paper sketches as if they were real app screens.

- Feedback was collected from these users to assess their understanding, ease of navigation, and overall experience.

Insights Gathered:

Positive Aspects: The Focus Timer and integrated features were well-received.

Areas for Improvement: Suggestions included clearer task prioritisation, more intuitive
onboarding, and improved customisation options.

Paper prototype link

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MidFi Wireframes

The mid-fidelity prototype bridges the gap between basic wireframes and high-fidelity mockups. In this mid-fi prototype, the design presents a detailed yet simplified layout of the app's core features and user flows. 
The prototype offers a balanced level of detail, allowing for usability testing and refinement while leaving room for adjustments. It highlights logical navigation paths and coherent onboarding. 

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Styleguide and branding

The design system used for the app focuses on colour schemes, typography, and components:

1. Color Scheme and Accessibility:

   - The colour scheme incorporates purples, pinks, yellows, and black to create a consistent visual identity.

   - Colour contrast ratios were tested for accessibility, ensuring colour blindness safety and legibility with ratios like 8.42:1 and 7.52:1, providing clear distinctions between text and background.

2. Typography:

   - Fonts like DM Sans are used across titles, subtitles, and body text for consistency.

   - Sizes range from 14pt for body text up to 26pt for titles, creating a clear hierarchy.

3. Graphics and Icons:

   - Graphics include task-related icons like stars and clocks, along with reward badges, to visually reinforce achievements.

   - Feather and IconScout icon sets were used for essential actions, enhancing navigation clarity.

4. Components:

   - Buttons, toggles, and user avatars are standardised for ease of use.

   - The style guide ensures consistent branding across components like progress bars and profile images.

 

This design system ensures visual consistency, enhances accessibility, and creates a cohesive user experience that aligns with the brand’s goals of productivity and focus.

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HiFi Prototype

The high-fidelity prototype phase involved refining the app's user interface and features to ensure they aligned with the needs of users with ADHD. This phase prioritised clear colour schemes, intuitive navigation, and an engaging layout to maintain consistency across the app.

Prototype link

User Testing

Two participants tested the prototype, exploring the app's onboarding process, focus mode, and gamified features such as rewards and task mixers. Their tasks included setting up new tasks, experimenting with focus mode, and navigating through different sections of the app. 

Insights

  • Positive Feedback: Users appreciated the focus mode's ability to minimise distractions and maintain productivity. The rewards system was found engaging and motivating, while the dynamic task mixer effectively organized tasks based on energy levels.

  • Areas for Improvement: Suggestions included adding vibrant colours for important buttons and providing concise descriptions for key features.

  • User-Centric Insights: Daily routines, including personal hygiene, were emphasised as critical for ADHD management. Features promoting fun, clarity, and daily habit tracking were highly valued.

  • Actionable Insights: Refinements were suggested for task prioritisation, real-life rewards, and personalised habit tracking to ensure the app continues to align with user needs.

Final deliveries

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