International Design Award (IDA) 2020 Winner

2x Gold in Multimedia - Interactive Media & Interface Design

A mindfulness and positivity influenced aid that
provides a safe space for people to express themselves

//My Role

  • Content strategy
  • Research co-lead
  • UX/UI design

//Context

10 weeks, Jan - Mar 2020​

Human factors focused course designing an interactive product or service related to human memory.​

Let's make life brighter!

A mindfulness app that provides a safe space for people to express their thoughts through journaling and recommends CBT-based (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) exercises to help them transform their negative experiences and emotions into positive ones.​

The Problem: Memories we associate with negative emotions limit our perspective, influence our future life experiences and can cause detrimental impacts to our lifestyles.

Therapy is often expensive and at times can be difficult when it comes to individual expression. Subtle guidance with suggestion is the best approach rather than pushing a process someone may or may not need. For those who struggle with emotional instability and lack of a support system, emerging toward a new chapter in life can be arduous. 

Home

Nonjudgmental metaphorical Safe Space

Write

Multi-input Journal Entries

Exercises

Science-Backed CBT exercises to Restructure thoughts

Trends

Gain Insights about Emotional Triggers

brighter Vision Video

Objective

To design an interactive experience, product, or mobile application that emphasizes human memory.

Our Goal

To offer an empathetic interpersonal experience of transformation of negative emotions in association with negative experiences. To create a therapeutic emotional and memorable aid to encourage conversion of emotion.
Skip for Final Product

Understanding the Problem

Our memories associated with negative events can lead to long-term effects such as mental health disorders and tendencies, mal physical health, and can affect an individual’s ability to socialize in a negative manner. This dependency created from negative emotions and trauma from our memories can limit perspective and may influence future life experiences by reinforcing negative thought patterns over time. This, in turn, shapes daily lifestyle in a negative form. So why can't we take our emotions into our own hands?

Gaining Relevance

We looked further into the why's of therapy and found cognitive-behavioral therapy, a technique that focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs, helps in transforming overly negative thinking thought patterns and self-talk. We were able to receive more information on this process with psychiatric professionals in the industry who use this form of psychotherapy to benefit individuals without judgement. 

"Emotion is intimately associated with memories of past events and episodes, and yet the 'valence' — the emotional value of the memories — is malleable."

- Professor Susumu Tonegawa of the Riken-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics

Conducting Research on Positive Habits

On Survey Insights

To gain a better understanding of how people combat their negative emotions in an everyday setting, we sent out an online survey with questions regarding positive habits and mindsets (in addition to age, gender, location, and ethnicity).

We received a total of 173 responses in a six day period. Our insights told us that those aged 15 to 35 showcased a pattern in their chosen coping methods, and those aged 35+ use more personalized methods. The greatest coping mechanisms used were journaling, physical exercise, talking and socializing with others, and music.

Controlled Journal Study

To make sure we understood how people dealt with emotions on the daily and learned the process of how they then processed negative events, we conducted a journal study with a control and experimental group. With a total of six participants (divided into two groups of three), we gained insight into how specific habits can overcome negativity.

Our Opportunity

Affinitization allowed us to see the bigger picture in the scheme of having a variety of coping methods when dealing with negativity, identifying triggers, and building healthy habits. Here are a few takeaways:

150+ Clusters of data points
Our greatest takeaways from affinitization

How might we

change the way people perceive their negative experiences?

How might we

try to understand negative perception of thought?

How might we

create a positive experience from a negative memory?

How might we

vent out our emotions in different forms?

Moving into Conceptualization

Initially, we came up with two main concepts in our idea pool. To make our product innovative and to stand out aside from other common journaling apps and mental health aids, we wanted to make an experience that was both motivating and rewarding. 

Through a combination of both concepts and after reviewing our research insights, we decided to have our product include a gamification aspect. While we identified that journaling and CBT exercises were detrimental to a user's emotional outlet, it was important that they didn't find the process tedious, boring, or unhelpful. Personalization became the priority with the user's state of being featured as a visualized house. 

The state of the house was a reflection of how a person felt which would be interpreted by an algorithm using their journal entry insights. Any time the user will journal or complete an exercise on the app, they would also be rewarded by getting personalization unlockables to decorate their metaphorical home.

Diving into Design with Wireframes

A preview of our original low-fidelity and mid-fidelity wireframes.

Defining User Tasks

Task analysis and user flows of journal entries and CBT exercises.

User Testing

*click on the pictures to get a closer look!

We received great positive feedback on the customization aspect of our app. People really enjoyed the rewarding aspect of being able to unlock new furniture or house plants to decorate their safe space.

The participants suggested that we add more customization unlockables, and so we delivered! 

The CBT exercises were not fully designed and this confused the participants. Our goal was to have El, the emotional assistant, guide users through the exercise, but this was not coming across.​

We did a complete redesign of the exercises user flow, made it more conversational and added improved the wording of the exercises to make it more empathetic. 

A constant point of challenge for our team was figuring out the best way to illustrate journal entry insights to the user that is actually helpful for them.
 
Our goal was to help them identify their recurring and dominant thought patterns and highlight things that helped them feel better. With feedback from the first and second user tests we were able to make this screen much more insightful for the user.

Introducing brighter...

//Tools

  1. Figma
  2. Adobe Illustrator
  3. After Effects
  4. Adobe XD

//My Role

  1. Content Strategy
  2. UX/UI Design
  3. Research co-lead

With brighter, you can have a daily guide and support system in everyday life. brighter is a mindfulness and positivity influenced aid that provides a safe space for people to express themselves.

Application Features

Non-judgemental metaphorical safe space

Through the use of a visually provided safe space that changes based on emotional triggers, brighter offers an exploration and opportunity to reflect and obtain a moment of positivity in everyday life.

Multi-input journal entries

El, brighter’s emotional assistant, will help those who are struggling with their thoughts and negative experiences by influencing guided thoughts in the form of journaling.

Science-backed CBT exercises to restructure thoughts

By providing daily and weekly journal entries, El recommends cognitive-behavioral therapy exercises to transform negative thoughts toward a positive outlook. Thought records and positive affirmations are guides for introducing a more neutral setting on personal experiences.

Gain insights about your emotional triggers and track overall trends

With completing journal entries and recommended CBT exercises, El creates trends and insights based off user data and personalizes your experience to see improvements over time.

Final Prototype

*please click the full screen button on the top right to fully experience the prototype!

Interaction Model

What I Learned

Never settle with the first idea! My team and I went through several iterations of our product, going back to visit our initial research framework many, many times. In all of this we never stopped communicating, even at 2 am! Even if an idea seemed small or unnecessary at first, it was one more idea that we didn't have before.