This was a five-week project set to challenge the issues of mental health. My team developed a mental health application with social aspects that provides men and women who are veterans to build a strong community of like-minded individuals where they are able support each other with their struggles of being reintegrated back into society.
We don’t always recognize it, but people are hurting, especially veterans. The Pew Research Center reported in 2011 that there were 2.2 million wounded vets in the U.S. that were seriously injured while serving in the military. That figure has increased to a staggering 4 million, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017.
Chances are, you probably know an injured veteran, maybe they’re even one of your loved ones. When injured vets come home, they have a hard time readjusting to civilian life and seeking help when they’re in trouble or suffering. Veterans are dealing with trauma, especially want to avoid people. This causes them to become socially isolated and makes them more susceptible to too many health risks, namely suicide. In fact, in some years the number of vets killed by committing suicide outnumber those killed in combat.
Our teams process for tackling this challenge was first obtaining the input from our stakeholders in which some teammates have contact with some veterans who served. Our team looked used competition analysis to understand the current platforms available.
1. They were limited and didn't provide enough functionality to incentivize people to use their application.
2. Filled with old school redundant application design systems.
So our application sought to fix these issues in which we make it easy for people to search for people who were in their squad and be able to connect with them or with other veterans who are open to meet new people.
When creating the storyboard was that first step of exploring what issues we want to first tackle and the overall focus toward developing an application for veterans. How current applications for veterans are few and far between due to the few information, poor treatment, and lack of benefits they are given because of government apprehension to compensate for their service. To combat this issue, as a team we developed Co-Op, which is shorthand for a community of operatives. Unlike the stereotypical image of people in the military just displayed, at Co-Op we understand injuries and trauma affect all kinds of vets. Co-Op is for many veterans and we aim to connect them with each other and society by rooting them in local, active communities. In doing so, we help veterans foster and restore a sense of camaraderie and purpose that they may have lost since coming home. This helps veterans rebuild their health and wellness by finding people in tight-knit communities they can depend on.
When developing initial sketches for this community-based platform for veterans we wanted a forum like platform for them to create discussions and gather people together. One other focus we had initially set in our design process was to have the access to contact a service care provide (i.e. a therapist) as a quick contact if they are ever in the need for one. We overall felt that our focus should be more on the community and forums side of the application since that was out main goal we had set to accomplish.
This Design although displayed great layout schemes it overall lack how we wanted out users to interact with the application and where items where placed.
For our Figma prototype, it was getting to understand how might the layout structure of our application is important for user interaction and understand that our community feature is our leading feature for our users. Other integrations that were present and came at the hand of the community feature was allowing users to create events and adding that to their calendars since it would be likely that camaraderie leads to wanting to meet in person to support each other.
Members were to conduct usability testing of our prototype's current build to obtain feedback to gain a standing of our design system. Using this feedback some changes lead our decision to redesign some of the layout, user interface, and color scheme. The overall main functionalities of our application remained strong due to support for what our application was set to tackle.
Veterans who are trying to reintegrate into our society very much need people who are within similar position. Our main focus for our solution is through developing communities within this application where they can find that support and community.
There where many challenges which my team and I have face throughout this process. Initially loosing track of implementations within the design and what features had to be cut from the design. This my team's and my first time uses with both the Figma platform and going from the initial design sketch into Figma was something we have to learn in a short period.