Niquitine App— Design Report

Can Hamaloğlu
6 min readJan 25, 2021


I’ve smoked for more than 12 years in my 32 years on this earth. Who did I think I was? Charles Bukowski? Johnny Cash? The Marlboro man?

Well, Mr. Cash intervened with this song on November 1st, 2017. 14 years after his death.

So I knew what to do when we were tasked with designing a habit-building/ breaking app for last week’s project at Ironhack boot camp.

Understanding the challenge

Smoking cigarettes is tied to numerous health problems. Some of them are listed here:

  • cancer,
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • lung diseases
  • diabetes
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • tuberculosis
  • certain eye diseases
  • problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
  • more

And the crazy thing is the whole world knows this. So why is the tobacco market generates US$814 billion+ a year and grows 2–4% each year?

There’s also a considerably big market for products to quit smoking.

Is it really about nicotine dependence? …or there are much stronger associations we have with smoking that keeps us prisoners in habit loops?


The Survey

I created a survey of 10 questions to get to the bottom of why people smoke and how can I help them discontinue this habit.

I’ve been able to collect 70 responses and a get a sense of smokers who want/ wanted to quit.

The survey results were pointing out to major common issues among the survey participants.


I interviewed 8 people between the ages of 25–40, have white collar jobs, and mid-high level income.

I followed the following 3 steps to find the main commonalities.

1- I took notes at each interview.

2- I clustered the similar information together.

3- I chose what commonalities to build the features on.

  • motivations to quit
  • feelings that created cravings
  • common situations that made people smoke
  • methods to quit

Main motivation:

Improving current health and avoiding future health problems.

Related feature:

I decided to add a section where users can track how their health progresses in the right direction once they stop smoking.

The reason for quitters’ success:

All the interviews who were able to quit mentioned they became aware of their patterns and it made them understand they don’t need to smoke.

Related feature:

Behavioral discovery logs to create trigger-context awareness.

Low-fidelity wireframes

I did some sketching but it was just to explore a few user flow options. I decided on the onboarding + logging a craving user flow. I jumped too soon to wireframing and in retrospect, it wasn’t the best decision. Doing some crazy 8’s would really increase my efficiency and helped with the convergence stage.

The main goal was to create a primary logging feature to help smokers see their smoking habit loops. I used a conversational tone in my UX copy to ease the onboarding.

This user flow doesn’t cover the whole app I kinda designed in my head. I had to converge and remove most ideas I found based on research results. So I tried to keep the main thing the main thing.

Also at this stage, I didn’t really put much thought into visuals. My main concern was how the logic flowed.


As a next step, I had some CRITS sessions with teammates. CRITS(critique) are done with other team members or stakeholders to share and comment on the work done. It’s a way to validate your design decisions and get feedback.

I left the session with a lot of useful feedback that I considered and applied after.

Usability tests

I’ve done 3 usability tests before I made too many changes based on the feedback from the CRITS. And what mentioned during the CRITS also came up during the usability test.

There was a big logical inconsistency with the user flow. So I changed the position of a couple of screens before the tests.

The change: In the first set of wireframes I ask questions to understand their daily consumption before I ask for their reason to quit smoking. And that was a glaring mistake I missed somehow.

Feedbacks and iterations

  1. Removing the screen about how the app uses the behavioral discovery method.

At first, I thought this was necessary as the people who’ve been able to quit mentioned the main reason they were able to quit was a change of mindset. They had to observe themselves and analyze the reasons why to genuinely quit smoking.

So I saw the need to explain this to users who have not done this and relied on nicotine products or tobacco substitutes to quit by going cold turkey or gradually decreasing their consumption.

Feedback showed that this wouldn’t be the case and this screen would be nothing more than extra friction.

2. Creating a home page that shows the current status/ level

I was thinking that this app was about taking action. That is logging the context of how they ended up smoking a cigarette, resisting a craving or just getting a craving.

But feedback pointed out the fact that users expected to see a home page that is more about their current status rather than an action-oriented logging screen.

So the following changes happened to tackle this.

After the iteration, the app had a home page that showed the user’s current level(I thought about some gamification elements), next health milestone they’re about the accomplish or the one they just attained, their total savings and a way to see their habit loops summary.

The project guidelines were about creating one simple user flow. The flow was about onboarding and logging a craving resistance. So I didn’t actually created screens for these options.

3. Ending the flow

At first, I thought about ending the flow by showing all-time data. Feedbacks made me understand that users expected to have a closure with the summary of what they just logged in. The badge option for gamification was liked by many so I decided to add a screen just for badges.

4. Interface thought with the user in mind

During the first wireframing phase I focused more on logic and I got some feedback on the tone and feel of the app. People thought it was too schematic.

So I made a few changes to the visual elements and rounded them out nicely.

Final Prototype


Not investing in sketching and Crazy 8’s was a mistake that caused problems. I think the research findings and solution-features were related. But communicating those features with user experience in mind needed definitely more work.

If had more time and screens to work with, I’d add the positive substitutions screen as I saw many people tried this approach to quit smoking.

Also, the logging page should be designed with much more elegance.

Next time I’ll trust the process more and take things at a time.