The primary product offering from Covenant Eyes has been around for about 20 years. Though the internet and technology has changed tremendously over the years, the product continues to rely on email as the primary channel for delivering value to customers. Over the year I have been compelled to push the design of the service into an app-based service. Mind you, simply changing the channel wasn’t enough in my mind. In order to really bring the service into the modern era, I believed additional features were lacking.
Since coming to Covenant Eyes I have maintained an ear to the ground, taking in feedback from various customers. Over the years, I have gained a rich understanding of what motivates our customers, what causes them pain and ultimately what the shape of the service should take. Along with a rich understanding of our customers, I have also grown in my understanding of applying behavior change techniques to addiction recovery.
In 2019, I spent some time to re-envision our service with the many years of experience I had with our customers and in our market. I used these mockups as part of a pitch (the 3rd one I’ve made over the years) to various leaders to compel others to push for that these sorts of changes. Ultimately, the decision was made to go in a different with the product. These mockups will likely never lead to a new app-based experience or changes of this nature in our service.
- Design Strategy
- iOS App Design
- User Interface Design
- Interaction Design
- Content Strategy
- Behavior Change Design
The Galvanize app tailors the service around each individual user. The goals or reason for using the service impact the types of prompts, interactions and suggested content. The marital status and gender of the user also has an impact on these interactions. The experience of a married man who wants to “quit porn for good” is vastly different than his wife who wants to “rebuild trust in my marriage” and is different than his friend who want to “help others avoid pornography”. In order to ensure that the appropriate interactions are carried out for each individual using the service, onboarding is vital.
When it comes to a long-term struggle with pornography, people generally find themselves in one of several phases. The first one relevant to the Galvanize service is “struggling”. When a person is in the “struggling” phase, he or she is more likely to relapse into the habit or addiction they are trying to break free from. This makes detecting a relapse critically relevant to this phase. When the AI detects a verified period of pornographic activity, this is called an “Incident”. By being able to detect, report and offer insight into the details surrounding an incident, an Ally is better equipped to help the person they are holding accountable.
When it comes to a long-term struggle with pornography, people generally find themselves in one of several phases. The second one that is relevant to the Galvanize service is “recovering”. When a person is in the “recovering” phase, he or she may still relapse into the habit or addiction they are trying to break free from. However, that individual is more likely to be flirting with the line. This makes detecting questionable activity critically relevant to this phase. When the AI detects questionable activity or even individual pornographic images outside of an incident, this is called “Concerning Activity”. By being able to detect, report and offer insight into the details surrounding concerning activity, an Ally is better equipped to help the person they are holding accountable.
When it comes to a long-term struggle with pornography, people generally find themselves in one of several phases. The final phase that is relevant to the Galvanize service is “maintaining”. When a person is in the “maintaining” phase, he or she is very unlikely to relapse at this point. They have proven to be victorious and now it’s time to celebrate wins. Galvanize does this through Milestones. Galvanize will keep a record of periods of times without an incident and will highlight those victories over time. This focus on past success is encouraging to the individual whose been battling addiction, it’s encouraging to a spouse who has been fighting for a restored marriage and it’s a tool that allows an Ally to show encouragement.
In the battle against long-term struggles with pornography, peer support tends to be extremely effective. Heroes (those battling such temptations) need an Ally (those helping in the struggle). Galvanize has ways of supporting this peer-support relationship for both the Hero and Ally. For the Hero, he or she needs the ability to manage who is helping them. The Hero needs total control over who they are inviting in to this very transparent and vulnerable service. The Hero has access to invite, view and remove Allies; everything needed to manage those connections. For the Ally, Galvanize offers details needed to be a good Ally as well as training. Each Ally has a view with access to components they’ll need to help their Hero. But tools alone aren’t enough. Many Allies need training as well. That’s why Galvanize offers in-app training, educational resources and tips.
Digital Ally Interventions
Behavior Change Techniques as Interventions
There are 93 behavior change techniques in Michie’s Behavior Change Technique Taxonomy. Combining multiple techniques together has proven to be extremely effective in behavior change. In Galvanize there are several “Interventions”, which as essentially prompts combined with various techniques. Each “Intervention” has an activity that triggered a specific prompt which encourages a Hero to take a specific action.
A Friendly Face
The idea behind using a Digital Ally such as Ray was to replicate an accountability relationship in real-time through the app. In behavior change design, there’s always a subject, a technique and a facilitator. In most cases, an ally would act as a facilitator but in this case, we use the app wrapped in a friendly character named Ray.
For example, when the app detects a pornographic incident, it prompts a dialogue which suggests to the user to turn off their internet for a short period of time and walk away from their device. This leverages the technique known as “Time Out”
Another example uses the technique known as “Distraction”. For this intervention, the system detects a concerning image before a pornographic incident has started. A prompt shows up encouraging the user to do something else such as read an article (offered in-app) or even play a game (offered in-app). The goal is to pull attention away from the previous activity.
Alternative App Interventions
Some people thought the idea of a Digital Ally like Ray was problematic. Using a character could be perceived as bringing too much levity to a serious situation. Additionally, he made some people feel uncomfortable. But using the app to facilitate behavior change techniques was still a good idea. So an alternate version was designed that was void of a character or 1st person language.