Easing Anxiety with Ada 

Microsoft Design Expo 2016 

Team Members
Emily Phan, James Pai, Natalee Outzs, Renee Chang, Tingwei Chang 

Ada is a CUI (conversational user interface) that helps people prepare, overcome, and reflect on high stress situations using a calm and empathetic tone. Being multimodal, she can communicate in public and private spheres through text and voice. 



The 2016 Microsoft Design Expo challenge prompt:
Design a product, service or solution that demonstrates the value and differentiation of the CUI.
Our team started off by investigating broad problem spaces that we thought might be interesting to apply a CUI to. 




After becoming interested in the problem space of anxiety, we started conducting secondary research that led us to these findings:

  • Anxiety the activation of your body’s alarm system

  • Only one-third of the adults who are diagnosed receive treatment.
  • Everyone experiences general anxiety from time to time

From our interest we developed the question:

How can a CUI provide an accessible way to cope with anxiety?

To further understand our problem space our team then conducted primary research.


Design Objectives



The next step in our process was developing a story that would show how Ada accomplished our design objectives. Our team spent a lot of time creating storyboards and then refining the story.





How Ada Works

This is a closer look of Ada. She uses bone conduction technology which is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones. Secondly, she measures your biometrics to know when you are feeling anxious. Lastly, she is always learning from conversations and she is contextually aware of when to speak up.



Having something like Ada always being there for you and having someone to openly express those problems could be a big help building confidence. We believe that Ada has the potential to help people with different levels of anxiety.