Sanctuary is an application designed in response to the increase in depression, quarantine fatigue, and other mental health issues brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. By conducting user research and through the use of integrated thematic graphics, Sanctuary focuses on creating a safe space for those who need it. 
Software used:
Adobe XD,   Adobe Illustrator, procreate
Our objective for this project was to prototype an application that tackled a social issue. The app had to have three different tasks that worked to achieve our goal. The different elements would have to come together coherently and address our target audience.
Brainstorming stage
In this stage, I began thinking about what I wanted the users to achieve and how that would be relevant to my overall intention of the app. Starting with a SWOT analysis, I tried to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that my app would take on. This preliminary stage allowed me to understand the needs and opportunities so I could approach my design with a plan.
Target Audience Research
My primary target audience was primary upperclassmen college students although the overall usability of the app took into consideration many other people struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research was based on a series of interviews with upperclassmen and lowerclassmen students, which allowed me to create these personas to help guide my design process.
Task Flow
Creating a task flow for the basic functions of the app allowed me to see potential ideas for each individual task. I eventually narrowed down the tasks and stylized different elements as I went along, but the majority of the initial framework stayed the same. 
Graphic DESIGN Process
As I came to a phase where I could start designing elements I thought of many ideas but eventually landed on a space theme. This idea of a world beyond the current situation on Earth was really interesting to me. I considered doing themes like ocean, jungle, mountains, nature, but I wanted to push beyond that and go for something abstract and unknown, but also comforting. 
Usability Testing
After prototyping my screens, I tested the overall effectiveness of the Sanctuary app by testing it amongst users in my target audience demographic. Through my usability testing, I hoped to learn about how people perceived the feeling of the application. I found that for the most part, the application was aesthetically pleasing and delightful for most users. There were some minor problems with type hierarchy and size which distracted from certain key areas that the users might need to interact with. Interacting with the Sanctuary application came fairly intuitively due to the design and boldness of the buttons. Minor color changes, and interact feedback had to be changed as well to really distinguish between different states of the application. 

Usability testing helped to understand the needs and problems that users brought up. Since I was working so closely to the app, it was difficult to see the full scope of the project itself. But after bringing in users to take a look and work their way through it, I was able to improve upon my initial design and intentions.
Final Screens
What I learned
This project was my introduction into the field of UI/UX and I learned a lot about the nuances of the field. For instance, certain things like micro-interactions, personas, usability testing, wireframes, prototyping, etc. I learned about how important certain processes are in order to effectively create an application. Micro-interactions in UI/UX are small elements that can go overlooked in design, but once you start noticing them, it becomes part of a routine to check all the small details when designing. 
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