Darin Reyes presented his Honors Thesis Project at the National Undergraduate Research Conference
Human-Centered Interactive Design for Student Emotional Health and Creative Expression
At the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Asheville, North Carolina, Darin Reyes presented his Honors Thesis Project on student’s emotional health and creative expression.
US college students are in the midst of an invisible crisis. The emotional health of incoming freshman hit an all-time low in 2014, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. Half of all college students experience “overwhelming anxiety”, according to the American College Health Association. Each year, 1100 students take their own lives. Recent human-centered initiatives have shown that design can improve the lives of those struggling with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. At my project’s conception, I asked “How might I use interactive design to improve the lives of emotionally struggling students?”. In response, I am developing DisQuiet: an app for musical expression through human-centered research and an iterative design process. With the app, students will be able to express themselves and externalize experiences spontaneously and effortlessly. They will be able to improvise soundscapes individually or collaboratively, regardless of their musical experience. DisQuiet is based on new explorations of interface design, concepts from music therapy, and emerging theories on design for meaningful experiences. By involving my target audience in each step of the design process, I will find ways to effectively put the opportunity for new, cathartic and collaborative experiences in the hands and smartphones of students.
– Darin Reyes