UX Design, UX Research

UX Research & Design

This case study is divided into 2 parts: UX Design & Visual Design

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Anocate was designed as a solution for one of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is a social network/messaging app for people struggling with substance abuse. This app lets users connect with others going through similar struggles within their community. Anocate prioritizes anonymity, with features such as auto deleting messages and hiding aspects of the user’s profile.


A large majority of young adults are abusing substances. It’s an issue that damages people physically and mentally. Young adults need a way to access support and guidance, since overcoming an addiction is very challenging on its own.


My task was to provide an app solution for Sustainable Development Goal #3 (good-health & well-being). I had to thoroughly understand this goal and the target demographic, so that I could design a working solution.

Research & Discovery

First, I needed to fully understand what SDGs are, and who they would effect. I also needed to learn about the target audience's interests, behaviours, characteristics and struggles.

What are SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are milestones which act as a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

I chose to help solve SDG #3; good health and well-being. This goal attempts to increase the overall health and wellness of people worldwide.

This project is centred around combating substance use & abuse.

Target Audience

The primary target audience consists of young adults aged 18 - 24. This demographic are the most prone to substance use and abuse. It is more common for people in their mid/late 20’s to use and overdose on illegal drugs. They are also more prone to drink and drive, use prescription drugs, etc.

Through research, I discovered that:

  • A large amount of people in this age group are interested in technology, alcohol and other substances.
  • Young adults tend to be moody, emotional and rebellious.
  • Young adults are self-aware and self-conscious.
  • Almost 70% of young adults suffer from anxiety and/or depression.

Competitor Analysis

I did a competitor analysis on 3 existing sobriety apps. The analysis let me draw inspiration from successful solutions; it helped me learn from and improve on their shortcomings.


User Personas

I developed user personas based on my market research; they were made to represent the demographic. They outline the user’s motivations, needs and frustrations. Personas help outline opportunities for improvements that can be made.

Empathy Map

This empathy map allowed me to see the user’s perspectives and emotions. It outlines the user’s pain points and needs.


Identifying the Problems

After research and analysis, I defined the main problems faced the most with users.

Solution Statement

In short — An app that allows users to create and join support groups anonymously.


App Sitemap

After brainstroming, I created a sitemap to show how pages are prioritized, linked, & labeled.

Task Flow

I created task flows for the main tasks a user will perform. I made 8 task flows, which I converted to paper wireflows. Below is the task flow for searching & joining a group.

Prototype & Testing

Paper Prototype

I sketched each of the 8 task flows as paper wireflows. Each screen had descriptions, which explained each step of the task flow. Below are sketches of the 5 main app screens:

User Testing: Paper Prototype

I recorded the feedback of 5 classmates who tested my prototype. Their feeback allowed me to see the pain points in the prototype and user flow. I could now make improvements so that the next prototype will flow better.


The main cause of friction was the iconography. The icons are too similar to each other, which confused users. There was also a lack of confirmations on certain tasks. I realized that it’s important notify users when tasks have been completed.


Icons will be designed to look more unique and obvious to their related tasks. The next iteration of the app will have more confirmations for tasks. Dialogs will notify users when a task has been completed. They will appear when something in the app has changed or is about to change.

Interactive Prototype

I took the feedback I received into consideration, and created a high-fidelity prototype. Afterwards, I conducted more user testing to identify possible pain points.

User Testing: Interactive Prototype

I asked 5 different classmates to test the new prototype. They were assigned the same tasks from the previous usability session. The prototype improved on the shortcomings of the paper version. However, important points were brought up concerning the app.

Raised Concerns

There were good points being made. With those points in mind, I developed new ideas that could improve my app, and better fit the user’s needs.


New Ideas

Listed below are ideas I have implemented in the current app.

No Friends & Posting Pictures

Facebook & Instagram are well established products; so I decided to get rid of the friends system and the ability to share photos. I wanted people to use this app specifically for sobriety support and anonymous communication. This also made the app more unique, and less like a Facebook clone.

No Personal Information Required

My goal is to make users feel comfortable using the app. The only requirements to create an account are a name and password (to keep the account secure). Other information can be shown in the user’s bio.

Anonymous Profiles

By default, all profiles are now anonymous. Users will feel more comfortable sharing personal information about themselves. The name and profile picture can be changed immediately, and the bio can be hidden away from others.

Auto-Delete Messages/Posts

Posts can automatically deleted within a set timeframe. Users can toggle auto-delete on/off from settings. A time (from 30 min - 24 hours) can be set for all posts to be erased. Nothing users do on this app is permanent; their history won't be recorded.

Condensed Pages

Instead of having 'search groups', 'search people' and 'create groups' as separate pages, I condensed them to improve the app’s usability. The search page has 2 tabs now; one that enables group search and the other for people. Users can view their group posts, and create a group from the same page.

Clean & Airy UI

I wanted Anocate to feel light and inviting. Users struggling with addiction may have a lot on their mind; so the UI should be clear and easy to use. The app will incorporate lots of white space, as well as new icons and colours.

Revised App Sitemap

I decided to let users search for people and groups on the search page. It makes more sense than having a page for each task. This enables better organization and app navigation.

Revised Solution

Implementing the new ideas makes Anocate feel organic; it also does a better job at solving the user's needs. The tab bar icons are more clear, and have proper icon labels.

Reflection & Next Steps

This was my first time designing a mobile app using proper UX methods. My market research helped me understand how the target users think and feel. Usability testing was a critical part of the UX process; without feedback from users, I couldn't improve the usability of the app.

At the time of this project, some UX methods weren't indroduced to me yet (such as interviews, surveys and data analysis). If I were to redo this project, I would include those methods in my UX process.

Visual Design

For more details on the visual design/branding, click on the button below!

visual design