Party Safe

An app with a harm reduction approach for recreational drugs users focused on positive change and reduce risks .

Party Safe

How might we ensure that recreational drugs users receive enough information about drugs so they can actively reduce risks and take decisions being aware of them.
Market research, Surveys, User Interviews, User Personas, Affinity Diagram, User Journey, Mindmap, Moscow, User Flow, Wireframes, animations
Miro logoInvision Studio logo
David Morales
2 weeks sprint
UX Researcher, Interactions Designer & UI Designer
work brief

Our first individual project at Ironhack was about creating a wellness app with the aim of tracking something related to people’s health.

I wanted to avoid common subjects and I decided to go creative and put into practice my previous knowledge and job experience.

The context

Facts & approach

Source:  EMCDDA, 2019.

In the case of recreational drug use, harm reduction is put forward as a useful perspective alongside the more conventional approaches of demand and supply reduction. Harm reduction approach is grounded in justice and human rights as it focuses on positive change and on working with people without judgment, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support.

Bias & initial ideas

The inspiration on making this app comes from my previous work experience working for an NGO as Project Manager. One of our target groups were drug users and while I was working there I have the opportunity to create leaflets and booklets focused on safe drug use for male sex workers or transgender sex workers adjusting health advices to their context and specific situation.

Also from my personal experience, I have always seen people losing control, getting the situation out of hands or getting sick at events or parties. In the other hand, there are also people aware of the risks and taking measures in order to avoid overdoses or undesired effects.

My initial idea for a tracking wellness app was to create a dose timer that would allow users to keep track of time and avoid overdoses.

Design Thinking Phases



  1. Market Research
  2. Lean Survey Canvas
  3. Survey
  4. Intervew

1. Emphatizing

Market research

I analysed 5 different competitors with a market research by looking for apps where to find information about drugs or to keep track of their doses. This ones were the ones that I decided to compare in my analysis, keeping a variety of features related with the app that I had in mind.

UX research

In 24 hours I conducted 5 interviews and got 40 surveys answered but I was able to collect lot of insights on drug consumtion behaviour, risks that users take when taking drugs but also the measures that they take and how the learned about the different substances, it effects and side effects. The main results are the following:

Most common drugs used are alcohol, cannabinoids, MDMA/Ecstasy, cocaine and speed and 80% of the participant mix different drugs when partying.

I could identify certain risk reduction behavior like drink water, eat food before or during the party and space time between doses. But asking deeper about how they measure time between doses 62% just figure it out, what means that they just follow their body feeling when deciding if taking another dose. People that take GHB usually are more aware of the risks so the set alarms on their mobile phones, check the hour, take a screenshot of the hour or don't mix it with drugs like ketamine or alcohol.

The main source of information about the substances and it effects is their own or other people experiences but also google in it.

2. Defining

User persona

From the quantitative and qualitative data collected, I defined two users personas to better empathize with my users goals, needs and frustrations:

Having a primary and secondary personas I decided to create a user journey map for Eva but incorporate Diego in Eva’s journey. In my opinion, it helped me to create a stronger and trustful story, easier to understand but also to make the context wider with both users and engage and empathize more with the story.

3. Ideating



In order to identify the MVP, I brainstormed different solutions and I used the Moscow methods to priotize possible features into 4 groups: must have, should have, could have and won't have. After this I had a clear idea of necessary or "must have" features based on main Eva's paint points. Also I identified other possible features that should and could be developed in future itinerations.

Solutions by features

XTC Pill Scanner

Provide information about MDMA content of a specific XTC pill

Substance info

Information about differents substance by effects, side effects & safe use advice.

Interactions table

Cross different drugs to get information about interactions

Dose timer

Set a timer to control time between doses and get time recommendation by substance

User flows

Before start sketching it I defined my user flows which helped me to define all the necessary screens that I needed to design.

Information architecture: Sitemap

Once I knew all the screens and features necessary for the app I designed the sitemap in order to have a visual representation of the site’s organization and to start situating and recognizing how different screens and sections will be linked.

4. Implementing

Mid-fi wireframes

With a clear user flow in mind I designed some Mid-Fi wireframes.

User test

I uploaded my prototype to Marvel and did 1 test by videocall and other 3 test in person. The main results were:
- Listed substance could be grouped by categories, for example from A to Z.
- The XTC pill scanner should start automatically so there is no need to have a button

Visual design

The visual design was developed by iterating from mood boards and several color trials.

Thinking about the users and the context in which the app is going to be used I decided that it was necessary to design it in dark mode. Even if users are going to check substance information or another kind of feature at home, it’s necessary to take into consideration that a big amount of users will use it inside a club, partying at night or in a dark place.

That's why from now on this section will be display in dark mode.

Hi-fi prototype

Next steps:

In the next itineration, the app should be tested in the real use context. It would be interesting to conduct some tests in a club or party and get insight from potential users.

During my presentation some people said that too much text could be overwhelming and could discourage users from getting information about drugs. It would be interesting to know user's opinions and try out better visual ways to communicate it.

In order to develop the app, it would be necessary to get information from developers on how accurate it could be the AI scanner finding the correct XTC pills.

More drugs should be included in the interactive substance interactions table.

Other features to develop:
Emergency feature: To develop emergency contact customization by adding an emergency contact that users want to use in case of emergency, display emergency advice by symptoms and specific drugs and create an emergency shortcut button when the phone is blocked.
Contact & support feature: Provide users information about organizations and institutions in their area providing attention and assessment and places in your area where get your substance tested.
Sync apple watch: Allow users to synchronized the app with apple watch and monitor their vitals, get warnings when critical vitals or even call emergency contact or ambulance.I would be happy to get insights, comments and ideas from you, so feel free to leave a comment.

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