Inside the mind of someone with ADHD
SquirrelBox started as an assignment for the UX Writing Academy and evolved into a passion project. It was born out of the recent realization that my brain wasn’t built by the standards the world viewed as “normal”. Diagnosed with ADHD at 37, I quickly became aware that I was far from alone. There’s a movement happening of people, mostly women, discovering this about themselves later in life. And when people with ADHD are suddenly made aware of the fact that they have ADHD, this beautiful pattern emerges of self-discovery, self-awareness, and the drive toward self-care.
The road to proper care for ADHD is long. ADHDers are often on a search for solutions to help mitigate the most challenging parts of the condition such as inattention, getting easily distracted, forgetfulness, inability to focus, losing things, and difficulty organizing to name a few.
I aimed to develop a product that would deliver a collection of tools, toys, and creative solutions to adults that live with ADHD. Its contents as well as every touchpoint with the brand are meant to inspire, encourage, and aid with symptoms of the condition in order to enhance the quality of life.
To build a compelling, data-driven prototype that results in individuals in the target audience asking, "where has this been all my life?"
Research & analysis
I started by sketching a rough battle plan of what I wanted to learn in order to build an effective data-driven product and not one just built based on my own preconceptions since I am within the target audience. I began by conducting a competitor analysis of similar products where I also collected inspiration for features and content strategy.
I was already armed with my knowledge from previous research done on the condition due to my own diagnosis journey and was able to pull from the article on accessibility for neurodivergent disorders that I wrote a few months earlier.
I took it a step further and performed extensive conversation mining where I tracked customer reviews of the competitors' products. I also studied the dialogue of the target audience engaged in a discussion regarding the creation of a subscription box for people with ADHD where I was able to glean opinions, attitudes, and phrasing that would later influence my writing. I conducted an expert interview with Dr. Dale Archer, a psychiatrist, bestselling author, and leading expert in the field of ADHD. My interview with him influenced the development of the framework and purpose of the product.
Dr. Archer's input impacted a questionnaire I designed which I then used to survey 41 individuals with ADHD. This allowed me to better understand their wants, needs, goals, and pain points which gave invaluable insights into what would later determine the flow of the product and the design of the content.
I used the data I gathered to produce insights and personas which would drive the next phase of the process.
Once I had my data, I was ready to rock it old school with some 3x5 index cards for some card sorting exercises which I then translated into Miro. This gave me some direction on which features to prioritize and I started to sketch out some user flows drafts.
Only focus on the features most relevant to the user's main goals: understand the product, subscribe to the product, manage the product. All the rest is gravy.
Content Style Guide
Switching focus then to the content, I developed a mini content style guide that distilled all of the research into a universal mission statement and voice for the brand and product.
I now had established a voice that was supportive, cooperative, and witty.
User Journey Map
I again returned to my trusty (multi-colored) pens and paper to build a comprehensive user journey map to identify other pain points and opportunities at certain touchpoints along the way. In translating it into Miro, I wanted to illustrate the highs and lows of the experience of discovering a major, life-changing thing about yourself and trying to understand and fix it by any means necessary.
It allowed me to clearly outline the pain points broken down by which stage the user was in. I also got ideas for more products, features, and resources that I had not already considered that would positively impact the user journey.
Writing & prototyping
My work in the research and ideation stages taught me that I needed to focus on certain aspects of accessibility such as the user's sensitivity to:
- Overwhelm from overstimulation
- Financial commitment anxiety
- Impatience for long signup processes
- Not being talked down to
- Feeling supported and understood
My goal here was to develop a subscription service that is easy to cancel or skip and allows the user to choose either an opt-in or opt-out style delivery method. It must contain features that deliver clear and supportive direction all while remaining true to the playful and witty aspects of the brand voice.
Copy docs & product screens
User is either presented with this screen upon signup or may return later via an empty state screen.
The user will see the current subscriptions screen when they go to their account details.
The user will be presented with clear but witty error messages when registering their email address.
Squirrelbox is currently undergoing user testing in order to validate the effectiveness of the user flow and copy. Results will be shared here in this case study as soon as they are finalized.
Based on the findings from the UX research and the ideation process, I was able to design a feature set that I believe addresses the major pain points of the ADHD community without sacrificing value.
Based on the minimal feedback I've had so far from my peers and colleagues, I believe I have a strong starting point for the development of an MVP and look forward to what further testing will reveal in order to continue to iterate on its design.