AVA Routines

A routine-building app that caters specifically to the needs of those with ADHD.


Project Span: 6 months (2021)

My Role: Lead Designer (UX + UI, Concept Dev, Research, Testing, Behavior Design, Project Management)


Project Focus:

Our startup team took a major pivot from our original app which was focused on goal-setting. After testing our first app, we concluded one of the largest factors our ADHD-testers were still not reaching their goals was because they were lacking solid daily rituals. Our aim became to create a routine-building app that could be paired with our original app to meet the needs of those with ADHD.




Early concept video:




We started by conducting interviews with people inside our target audience to discuss the topics surrounding their struggles with ADHD, Routines, Mobile Apps, Habits + Productivity. Alongside qualitative interviews, our team was deep into reading science-backed studies and books around the topics of ADHD, Habits, Human Behavior-Change, Productivity, and Gamification. Additionally, we identified who the biggest players were in the marketplace of routine building apps to highlight their best features. We did take the ideas from some of the top apps with a grain of salt, because our target audience was not mainstream (great features of the top apps didn’t necessarily mean they would be great features for someone with ADHD).


Because we had previous app prototypes about goal-setting under our belt, we also applied original insights from testing these (topics such as Motivation, Resilience, Tracking, Social & Community aspects). One was a paper-prototype for routine building we had tested a couple years back that had left us with some core lessons on the biggest struggles of creating and adapting routines.



After sorting our key insights from our research, we narrowed our main ADHD-friendly features to include:


  • Time-awareness Tools
  • Flexibility
  • Visualization
  • Gamification
  • and room for Failure**


I began exploring features by creating mockups at various fidelity levels and quick prototype videos to show the possible flows of stepping through the experience. I focused in on the following key areas:


  • Main Navigation
  • Creating a Routine
  • Adaptable Routines
  • Time-Pacer
  • Gamification
  • Onboarding



Once our MVP features were narrowed down, I started documenting the details of our first prototype with mind maps, flows and wireframes:



Our features of creating/adjusting routines was custom and unique from what users might experience from mainstream apps. Because of this, we made sure to test the UI of both creating and adjusting routines.





After our UI testing succeeded, we began an overarching UX test to explore the following:


  • Are the core features of the app ‘useful’ for a 1x experience? How? (Can users setup and complete evening routine – just once?)
  • What are the barriers for completion? (mental barriers, behavioral barriers, usability barriers)
  • What’s the overall appeal?


We screened and selected testers that matched our target user group, and scheduled an evening to test a bed-time routine with them. There was two qualitative interview sessions, one pre-test to grab feedback on the overall concept with visual design, and a second the day after their test of creating + completing their evening routine. Additionally we compared data analytics to their interview responses to get a bigger picture of how the app was actually used during the test.



Top Insights:


Our testing revealed some major roadblocks. Creating a routine took a large amount of time and mental energy for our ADHD target group. Not only coming up with a plan for their routine, but to then add each step into the app was too taxing. Choosing between a target “end-time” vs “duration” was also confusing and paralyzing. Additionally, our overarching idea of visualizing their daily cycle into 3 phases was not understood to the level we were expecting.


This left us in another position to pivot again. Our next prototype was simplified much further. We decided making the app extremely simple, but also adaptable was key. We needed to meet our users where they were at, and to allow the app to grow and evolve as our users did in real-life. The next app prototype started with tracking just their sleep, and later allowed them to “level-up” into adding in their morning and evening routines. This allowed them to focus just on one aspect of their daily cycle at a time, allowing them to grow into their routines at the pace that they needed.






Collaborators: Jamie Lubowich, Ashwin Rajan