Flow State, the blog of Z1

An app based on psychedelic therapies? Let’s do this!

Z1 Editors
0 min read
An app based on psychedelic therapies? Let’s do this!

We helped craft Trip from the ground up, a new product for guiding you through consciousness-expanding experiences, with the use of drugs or not, and had a lot of fun creating a new category of technology

A colorful and dreamy landscape appears on the screen. A soothing, minimalist home screen with a quote from a writer, this time it’s Proust's turn: "The only true voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new territories, but in looking with new eyes." By pressing the + button, the camera moves in a POV shot towards the clouds, inviting you to begin by connecting with your breath. 

We are now heading into Trip, a self-guided journey that blends modern neuroscience with the wisdom of psychology to help you make the most of your consciousness-expanding experiences through intention setting, mood tracking, personalized music, mindfulness content, and more.

“We did what we always do: put our five senses to understand our partners. And we quickly discovered that Trip was an exciting project”

Can an app act as a guru when seeking altered states for healing and personal growth? Those responsible for Field Trip Health, a company leading the medical and scientific re-emergence of psychedelics and psychedelic-enhanced therapies were clear: the answer is yes. And that vision brought them to Z1. 

Although we are an international studio, our HQ is in Spain, a country where this kind of treatment is conspicuous by its absence. However, we did what we always do: put our five senses to understand our partners. And we quickly discovered Trip was not only an exciting project but also a needed one. 

Users are demanding technology that helps them, as data proved during and after the first wave of the pandemic

There is no doubt that health and wellness are growing in the world of digital products these years. Users are demanding technology that helps them, as data proved during and after the first wave of the pandemic. And Z1 wants to be there.

Amardeep Mahnas, Field Trip's CTO, and Kori Harrison, Head of Product.

After the first conversations with Kori Harrison, Field Trip's Head of Product, and Amardeep Manhas, their CTO, our team was immediately hooked. Héctor Giner, our CEO, confessed his interest in "discovering a new method to address the growing problems in mental health, with a tool that can extend that support globally." Their passion and affection for this innovative and timely project were contagious.

A subtle yet meaningful experience

Trip was born for people to lean on before, during, and after expanding the mind, whether that be through breathwork, meditation, sound bathing or psychedelic trips... The intent is to offer guidance at the palm of their hands, a harm reduction tool for those who today are seeking altered states without the support of a therapist and outside of a clinical setting. Thus, the challenge was to design an application based on exhaustive research, and tie together an experience that supports one in all phases of consciousness expansion from preparation and exploration, to reflection and integration. All while maintaining an engaging, simple, and beautiful design. 

Field Trip has opened three clinics, on track for 75 by 2023 across North America.

The idea for the app, Kori says, was on Field Trip’s technology roadmap from day one, even before opening their clinics (three are open now, on track for 75 by 2023 across North America). They saw that a digital product like Trip was an opportunity to help those who don’t have the resources or the time to participate in their therapy programs.

“It was about scaling what we’ve learned from our clinics to the world, to the millions today who are seeking altered states for healing and growth. We hope for these individuals, Trip becomes a go-to companion and guiding hand in making the most of their journeys. And this is just the beginning, with upcoming versions we’ll expand and deepen this support in a way that aligns with the Trip vision and answers our engaged community’s initial feedback”.

Design and Software hand by hand

One of the biggest challenges was translating a complex protocol to a user experience that was seamless and smooth, like a relaxing trip. When starting a Trip, the user moves through a dreamy landscape, letting him/herself be carried through calming animations and music custom-composed for Trip by the cutting-edge AI company focused on music for mental health, Lucid. After the trip, support continues through guided journaling and mood tracking. 

As Lucía Guillén, Product Designer at Z1 comments, the objective was to have as little intrusion as possible, and be mindful of all visuals and messaging to avoid indicating any illegal behaviors. “We wanted to create a more subtle experience that would support users on any form of consciousness expansion, and invite them to choose what a trip means to them”.

Fran Pulido's illustrations and Luisa Jara’s animations played a key role: “We wanted to achieve a certain ease, a lightness and a pleasant visual language from the onboarding to the end. We opened the color palette and incorporated temperatures, lights, and environments. The whole theme had to revolve around a landscape on which the users glided with a sense of advance towards the horizon”. 

The objective was to have as little intrusion as possible, and be mindful of all visuals and messaging to avoid indicating any illegal behaviors.

Z1's contributions in shaping the basic idea from the design point of view were truly appreciated by Kori: "Z1’s support and input has been paramount." After a few months of intense and passionate work, our colleagues from the Design and Development departments can say it wasn’t exactly easy. But we think we nailed it: with an elegant experience that users love.

One of the biggest challenges was the huge amount of illustrations and animations Trip has. “We had to ensure that everything ran perfectly”, assumed Juan Pablo González. From his engineer point of view, except for the location and the camera, Trip integrates practically everything that a mobile app has to offer nowadays: sound, audio recording, notifications... “You had to get a clean and understandable code and optimize its performance so that the result works perfectly. We came up with solutions to each problem through trial and error and in constant communication with Kori ”, Juan Pablo adds.

Features focused on healing

Trip’s idea and vision came before the pandemic, but it’s tough to overlook that 2020 has led to unexpected and pervasive feelings of isolation, anxiety and stress for millions of people. That is why, in this new reality where external stimulation like social gatherings and travel has significantly lessened, it is important that we lean on new behaviors and habits that nourish our well-being at home. “It's empowering how much you can learn about yourself simply by being alone with nothing to do. This time can be a gift for those who have the time and space to look internally”, Kori says. 

Although the market is increasingly full of products related to meditation, Trip is unique in its kind in that it combines modern protocols with ancient practices that have been tested over centuries to create an experience that guides you towards deep reflection and lasting growth. 

Set an intention before the trip, listen to AI-generated music, access a voice recorder while exploring, track progress over time, and read educational content based on scientific research and shamanic wisdom. Here are some of the features that are getting Trip 7K + beta users excited. The proof, as Kori says, is in the users’ feedback, which is all about appreciation and gratitude, something that will make this Trip go further and further.

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