Just For Today App
Providing alcoholics with easy access to tools based off of 12-Step recovery with a focus on positive reinforcement and real-time connection to their support system.
Personal passion project
App Design · Qualitative Research · Quantitative Research · Observational Research · User Interviews · Information Architecture · Personas · Market Research · Opportunity Analysis · Wireframing · Prototyping · Design Systems · Usability Testing
The current transition process from treatment to the real world is precarious and lacks structure and consistency.
No consistent way to shift a pro- drinking and drugging social network to a pro-abstinence social network.
Parole officers are punitive and current methods for sending addicts to 12-Step program are ineffective.
No means for an alcoholic's support system to know if they are participating in the activities that keep them sober or to see early signs of relapse.
No means for those in early and long term recovery to visualize actual progress and consistency.
Design & Strategy Process
4 Female Recovering Alcoholics
7 Male Recovering Alcoholics
Therapist Specialized in Addiction
2 Parole Officers
Specializing in Addiction Cases
Exec of a Treatment Center
Mapping Key Players
The key relationship in recovery is between the alcoholics and their sponsor. Sponsors are A.A. members who have worked the 12 steps of A.A. as a way to attain sobriety and are often in the best position to share their experience, understanding of the A.A. program, and outline the 12 steps.
Personas were developed based off of a speaking format used in meetings. Individuals are asked to present their recovery journey first by how it was before recovery, then what happened to get sober, and how is it now.
Behavior Based Research
One of the biggest elements in the research included understanding the psychology of addiction in terms of how people become addicts, how they become clean and sober, and then how they manage staying in recovery. To understand the process of how individuals create habits, you must understand operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning is a behaviorist theory based on the idea that behaviors that are reinforced will continue while behaviors that are punished will eventually end. Through operant conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behavior and a consequence. This theory was developed by behaviorist BF Skinner.
Behavior which is immediately followed and reinforced by positive consequences is more likely to be repeated, and behavior followed by negative consequences is less likely to be repeated. Positive reinforcement immediately following a desirable behavior is the most powerful and long lasting of the four types and a key factor in shifting undesirable behaviors into desirable and sustainable new behaviors. In the field of behavioral psychology, if a behavior can be repeatedly, constantly, and precisely reinforced over time, the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated crescendos. Basically, every discipline, no matter how small, is an opportunity to apply positive reinforcement to a recovering alcoholic for taking steps in choosing to be sober
Understanding The Skinner Approach
Skinner stipulated two instances of adding a stimulus:
1) Reinforcement for correct behavior (ex: getting a message of support from your sponsor for attending an A.A. meeting)
2) Reinforcement for incorrect behavior (ex: getting a notification that you did not attend a meeting that you had committed to attend)
Although not necessarily intuitive, both are adding a stimulus to increase a behavior; and therefore, both are instances of positive reinforcement. Skinner advised that positive reinforcement for incorrect behavior only increases that behavior to meet minimum requirements, and as a result, is difficult to sustain in the long run.
Skinner also proved that repeated positive reinforcement for correct behavior engages discretionary behavior where the participant chooses to repeat the behavior because they want to, and not because they feel they have to repeat it. This is a key feature of operant conditioning – focusing on giving credit for what is done correctly.
Human and system reinforcement is applied immediately after completing as discipline then enabling successful operant conditioning
Gives users an overview and history of their progress letting them know where in their program they are succeeding and where they can make improvement
Ease of Transition
Brings more consistency to the transition out of treatment and back into everyday life
Convenient Program Management
Human and system reinforcement is applied immediately after completing as discipline enabling successful operant conditioning.
Micro Social Support
Shifts pro drinking and drugging network to pro abstinence network.
Engaging Discretionary Behavior
Repeated reinforcement for correct behavior engages discretionary behavior where the user choses to repeat the behavior because they want to, not because they feel they have to.
The app provides a calendarized, customizable menu of 12-Step daily disciplines which the alcoholic completes on a daily basis. A menu of the daily discipline options allows them to add and edit to build their day.
Home Page: Daily Discipline Management
Adding a Discipline
The successful completion of most of the daily disciplines can be sensed by the app and the smartphone’s sensor and data technology. For example, the technology can sense that the user called his sponsor on the correct time each day because his sponsor’s phone number link was activated in the app.
Discipline Completion and Details
Completed Daily Disciplines
Human and System-Driven Reinforcement
This key feature of the app enables a micro social network with intention and capability to be supportive in a way that goes beyond what currently exists. It transitions the app from being punitive to supportive and dispels Big Brother concerns by catching users in the act of being primarily correct rather than incorrect.
Support system members will be prompted to share positive reinforcement in the form of text, voice message, or even a phone call immediately following the completion of one of the daily disciplines. Over time, as the user becomes consistent in completing the daily disciplines, the app asks the support system to reinforce less frequently.
The app knows if the daily disciplines have been completed or not completed on time, which allows the app to provide the behavior reinforcement messaging in real-time. System-based behavior reinforcement has the advantage of providing impeccable reinforcement timing at the moment of completion which is a key aspect of the mechanism of operant conditioning.
Sponsor home page tasked with providing positive reinforcement to sponsees
Example of system positive reinforcement
Progress & Accountability
Within each discipline is a color coded accountability meter to help users visualize progress. This color score is also present next to each calendarized discipline within the home screenThe app also offers an analytics page that provides a history preview for each discipline to show improvement or decline over time.
Home Screen Accountability Indicators
Discipline Details Accountability Meter
Discipline Progress Analytics (showing progress changes over time)