SoDA Agencies Design for a Good Cause

Adobe XD helps some of the world’s top digital agencies bring creative concepts to life in a Creative Jam aimed at educating teens about mental health and support options.

by Kristan Bell

posted on 10-09-2019

For many of the world’s leading digital agencies, Adobe XD represents the latest in collaborative design and prototyping. Recently, ten of these agencies, all members of the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), came together to put their design prowess to the test for a good cause.

Adobe and SoDA—an invite-only, global network of agency founders, creatives, and technologists who use their expertise to take digital experiences to new levels—recently hosted a virtual Creative Jam in support of the Made of Millions Foundation started by Aaron Harvey, who also founded the SoDA-member agency Ready Set Rocket.

Aaron founded Made of Millions to help change negative perceptions of mental health issues by creating an environment where people can engage in comfortable, accessible discussions about mental health through education and advocacy. Digital media is vital to enabling the foundation to amplify its mission.

“It’s a staggering number, but billions of people worldwide suffer from some type of mental health issues,” said Aaron. “Unfortunately—even given how common it is—people can carry a lot of shame around having a mental health condition and are too afraid to reach out for help for fear of being ridiculed or ostracized. Digital media experiences can open up tremendous opportunities for conversations and destigmatize important interactions.”

Following several successful initiatives, from a traveling mental health culture exhibit to creating a mental health manual for the modern workforce, Made of Millions is now also focusing on educating and engaging high school students about intrusive, dark thoughts. Although almost 80% of people have these thoughts at one time or another, approximately 1 in 50 will become consumed by them, exacerbating often-undiagnosed mental health conditions such as OCD, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders in teenagers.

Fast, intuitive, and collaborative design

Ten SoDA agencies with participants from the United States, Canada, Uruguay, and even one from Europe, accepted the challenge to use Adobe XD in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams to create new concepts to reach and educate high school students about dark though patterns. The agencies included AREA 17, Free Association, HAUS, Hello Monday, Hook, Jam3, Perficient Digital, Struck, The Electric Factory Group, and Zemoga.

Following a creative briefing from Aaron and an XD bootcamp, each agency team had just two hours to come up with their concepts, prototype them, and present them using XD. Each project had to consist of five or more prototype screens.

“We were thrilled these agencies were willing to devote time to this important initiative,” says Tom Beck, executive director of SoDA. “For some, it was their first time working in Adobe XD, which speaks volumes about the tool’s intuitive nature and collaborative features.”

The agencies had complete creative license to take the assignment in a direction that inspired them most. Using XD, they created a variety of concepts, ranging from an AI-powered chat bot and an immersive mapping virtual reality application, to websites, creative campaigns, and mobile apps.

Each team then demonstrated their concept, taking full advantage of the ability to easily share their designs and prototypes with Aaron and the other agency participants via a single link. Participants were judged on the level of intuitive content, visual and navigational design, an understanding of the target audience, concept uniqueness, and the potential impact of their ideas.

Winning with Adobe XD

The Electric Factory Group, located in Montevideo, Uruguay, created the winning design concept—“Thoughts Catcher”. The mobile app builds on the idea of enabling teens to write, talk, or draw to help identify their feelings. It also connects to a wearable device that lets teens get personal and immediate support from a broad community, while creating awareness of mental health issues.

“The topic of mental health is very important to us and we were proud to be a part of this Creative Jam. We’re happy that our project was so well received by our peers,” says Juan Ciapessoni, Co-Founder and Head of Innovation at The Electric Factory Group. “Our team has used Adobe XD many times. It’s incredible in how it helps us quickly capture our ideas and present them as professional, polished prototypes.”

Jam3 from Toronto came in second place with an immersive map and associated mobile app under the concept “Space Between You and Your Thoughts”. The team liked how the Creative Jam let them create something that nicely represented the work they do at Jam3, while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the constraints of the challenge. It also gave them the opportunity to learn more about how XD can help them innovate in exciting ways.

“Adobe XD is an excellent way to showcase our designs to partners with a higher level of accuracy than just a series of screens,” says Mauricio Vio, Interactive Designer at Jam3. “Incorporating a prototype into our workflow will allow us to better convey our ideas without over explaining them. Adobe XD is also used internally to show our development team animation ideas that we may want to implement.”

New York agency Hello Monday secured third place, creating an AI chatbot called “Moody” that appears on screen when people type keywords into their browser search bar that are associated with mental health.

“I was amazed by the breadth and depth of work created and presented in just two hours,” said Aaron. “Design is an incredible tool to maximize the impact and reach of our mental health initiatives.”

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Creative Cloud