I knew going into my BrainStation program that social justice and health care were problem spaces I wanted to explore. Something I found attractive about UX Design was the opportunity to create meaningful solutions with significant impact.
Although this project was conducted using a human-centred approach, I disclaim that as a white woman I will never truly understand the lived experiences of BIPOC and this is privilege.
Systemic racism in Canada is nothing new. The events of this past year however have shed a blinding light on the mistreatment and brutalization of BIPOC in Canada and elsewhere.
Oftentimes this occurs when police respond to mental health calls. Police are inadequately equipped to assist in these moments of crisis; and this can result in tragedy.
Secondary research brought me to my goal for Haven:
How might we better connect BIPOC with mental health resources in order to minimize police intervention and improve patient outcomes?
Participants were interviewed and strong themes emerged. All participants stated they would not feel comfortable calling 911 or police in a crisis, and find it difficult to find Black or Indigenous health care professionals and resources. Themes drawn from the interviews led me to the following insights:
There needs to be safe alternatives to emergency services for BIPOC.
Black and Indigenous health care professionals and resources need to be more accessible.
Support form BIPOC mentors and peers is beneficial to patients' mental health.
BIPOC need continuous and consistent care due to lasting effects of racial trauma.
I came up with user tasks for Dominique based on my research insights, persona generation and experience mapping. I narrowed my focus to the epic of mental health tools, and decided to intervene by creating a digital solution that helps BIPOC in Canada find and book a consultation with a therapist.
Two rounds of user testing and iterations were completing with the greyscale prototypes. This process was a massive reality check on the importance of not designing solely based on my own intuition. Test participants found many of Haven's elements confusing and difficult to navigate.
Approaching Haven's visual identity; I wanted to emulate happiness, comfort and community. I drew inspiration from bold and colourful images; which I ended up injecting into the app.
I designed a responsive website to support Haven. I chose to boldly display the same images used in the app design to communicate brand identity and aspirations.
Haven aims to help BIPOC struggling with mental illness find resources quickly and easily. Haven aims to minimize police intervention by providing a space where users can access comprehensive care.
Although I believe Haven's features accomodate this goal; I wanted to explore opportunities using Tarot Cards of Tech. I examined Haven using the 'Scandal' card. My greatest fear for Haven is contributing to the very reason it exists; causing a mental helath crisis to end in tragedy. This could occur by not correctly connecting users with the help they need; resulting in police intervention or emergency.
I aim to mitigate this risk by ensuring Haven's resources reflect the number of users and making crisis support within the app as accessible as possible.
My time at BrainStation has been a challenging journey, but ultimately a validating one. When I entered this course, imposter syndrome set in at the jump. But learning the process and tools, executing this project and others, and getting honest feedback from my educators and peers has made me believe I can do this, and I will.