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Designing for Mental Health

Nearly one in five Americans experience mental illness, yet many UX designers lack the necessary training to effectively design for those struggling with mental health.

UX practitioners Jen Smerdel and Marli Mesibov want to change that.

Smerdel and Mesibov have spent the last year researching and exploring the field of mental health alongside experts to identify gaps in design knowledge. They have developed a set of guidelines leveraging behavior change recommendations for increased engagement with a population that struggles to access their motivation.

Join them at a workshop on Mental Health Design on March 8, 2018. No design skills necessary – just curiosity, empathy, and an interest in problem solving.

Why Don’t Designers Understand Mental Health?
We are inadvertently discriminating against people struggling with mental health issues. We do this in large part because we lack the necessary knowledge around their conditions and needs. Even well-meaning UX designers can often go wrong, simply because their apps are not well tested, or contain inaccurate information.

“Discrimination is also about the conditions in which our patients live, mental health budgets and the priority which we allow these services to achieve.” – Peter Byrne, BJPsych Advances

Take for example:
• iBipolar (an app now off the market), which advised people in the middle of a manic episode to drink hard liquor to help them to sleep. Alcoholism can be a major problem for people with bipolar disorder.

• Wired has reported on numerous apps that lay marketing claims to “cure depression,” but have no clinical backing.

• Many apps base that tone on inaccurate assumptions, such as the myth that people with mental illness are dangerous, irresponsible, or childlike and need to be cared for without autonomy

How Can You Get Involved?
If you’re a UX designer, a strategist, or working with patients struggling with mental health, it’s your responsibility to get involved and practice designing for mental health challenges.

Join Smerdel and Mesibov at a workshop on Mental Health Design on March 8, 2018. No design skills necessary – just curiosity, empathy, and an interest in problem solving.

Sign Up for Designing for Mental Health Workshop!

 

 

By: Jennifer Smerdel, Marli Mesibov


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Contributed by:
Jennifer Smerdel Experience Strategist

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