Use the Human-Centered Design process to create a design solution for social good.
The problem I decided to solve was deaths from drug use at music festivals through the lens of harm reduction.
Harm reduction is an approach to drug policy that embraces the fact that humans will use psychoactive substances whether they're legal or not, and that empowering people that have accepted that risk to make choices that reduce risk— The ultimate harm reduction choice is to not use substances.
I researched the problem of drug-related deaths and injuries at music festivals, as well as solutions that have had an impact already. I also conducted a survey of music festival attendees, and out of 32 responses:
64.5% had taken an unknown psychoactive substance
41.9% had taken an unknown psychoactive substance and experienced adverse effects
87% would utilize an application that provides current, local information about substance purity, an medical alert system, and a substance log.
I began building paths for a user to take through the application. I organized each element of the application into its own space, and used UX best practices to make navigation clear and concise.
The audience this application is targeted towards is people who would be making the choice to use substances at music festivals— though this is a very broad idea, it comes down to phone users 16 – 35 that are relatively inexperienced in substance use. Though, the application is also useful for people who are experienced in their substance use.
The 3 functions of the application are:
1) Current Information Feed: Current, local information from user-submitted purity tests. This allows users to see if there are contaminated or unusually potent substances present at an event.
2) Basic Substance ID: Though not a substitute for a chemical field test, this function allows the user to perform basic substance ID from cosmetic cues. (For example, a common difference between non-toxic LSD and toxic 25i-NBome is perforations on the corners of a paper blotter).
3) Substance Log: This allows the user to document the time and dosage of a substance identified through the Substance ID function— this allows them to see what they've taken that day, and judge if antagonizing chemical reactions will happen if further action is taken. This also allows medical personnel to view an accurate account of recent dosage.
With the user path and audience in mind, I began sketching wireframes and building an iconography system.
From there, I took it into sketch and was able to prototype with InVision.
The final application is something that can hopefully be used to curb deaths and medical emergencies from drug-related causes at music festivals. The aesthetic is clean and unintrusive— it's meant to be functional and non-judgemental.
© Jake Gombis 2018