Understanding Our End Users Part 1

After all the theoretical work, we were anxious to get out of the armchair and back on the ground. Whilst talking to policy experts gave us a sense of the legal climate, and working through the application and tech-moral scenarios gave us an idea of dilemmas we could face in the future, we needed to now find out how best to design our biosensor so that it would actually be used by real individuals.

We realised that, because our biosensor contains three tests on a single sheet of paper, it is easy to conflate different users into a single demographic. In reality, whilst there may be some users who utilize all three test, most would be interested in only one. In other words, it was important that we incorporated the different suggestions aimed to make our biosensor relevant for heroin users, MDMA users and diet pill users into our design, and not simply assume that what’s important for one would be pertinent for another.

With that in mind, we headed down to Serenity Cafe in Edinburgh City Centre, which hires recovered and recovering heroin addicts. There, we spoke to the shop’s owner, Yanni Yannoulis, and showed him a prototype of the biosensor we had in mind. Subsequently, Yanni shared some reservations about its design.

His main point was that heroin users are not going to want to waste a lot of their drug when using a biosensor. Our then-current design required 150 µl of liquid containing a mixture of heroin and water, and whilst the amount of heroin required for 150 µl is by no means enormous, it could be substantial to a dependent individual in a sensitive economic position.

After our visit, we adapted our design in response to Yanni’s concern. Our solution was to reduce the size of the application area on our biosensor, meaning that the amount of liquid needed to be placed on the biosenser would decrease from 150-200 µl to approximately 30-40 µl. To see the details of how we change our design, click the link below:

Adapting Our Design