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The Living with Schizophrenia (LiwS) project was initiated in 2014 and worked towards the improvement of wellbeing for people with mental illness. The project specifically aimed at designing DPS (Digital Peer Support) for people diagnosed with schizophrenia who have not been able to return to a normal life after the onset of the illness.
The goal with the project was to get users involved in collaborative design activities to innovate socially inclusive IT solutions. This involved a double challenge: first, symptoms of the illness, combined with possible, severe side effects from the medication makes it difficult for these users to engage in collaborative design; second, digital interaction and communication with peers can be seen as threatening due to symptoms of the illness, such as paranoia, which decreases the willingness to engage in design of artifacts for digital peer support.
There were several important outcomes of the project. The project developed methodological strategies for involving users in sensitive design situations. A number of design concepts and low-fi prototypes were designed based on workshops with the users. During 2017, the low-fi prototypes were developed further by students in the Digital Design and Innovation (DDI) bachelor program. Users were then involved in evaluating a mixed-fidelity prototype.
The prototype is a mobile application, which involves the use of anonymous posts to express feelings and connect with others. Through anonymous user profiles and a high level of profile access control, managing who can see and interact with one's profile, the intent was to create a feeling of trust between the users and the application. Posts are organized using simple tags in order to facilitate easy lookup and connectivity between users; users choose the posts that they are interested in and can contact the author anonymously to initiate a conversation.