A mindfulness and positivity influenced aid that
provides a safe space for people to express themselves
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.
brighter Vision Video
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?
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."
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.
What Our Users and Experts Had to Say
To further understand on a personal level people's emotions, experiences, and emotional experiences, we talked to those who both had and didn't have mental health disorders and symptoms in order to achieve deeper insights on the different types of coping mechanisms used. We then applied this knowledge when we talked to our Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the psychiatric industry.
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.
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:
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?
Persona Building - Our Target Audience
With a focus on those who don't have solidified coping methods yet, we decided to focus on Generation Z. Our data showed that on average, individuals start to experience traumatic events at age twelve. With our centered attention on those ages 12 to 23, young adults still haven't yet gained emotional stability and are developing the required skills during this time.
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
Defining User Tasks
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.
- Adobe Illustrator
- After Effects
- Adobe XD
- Content Strategy
- UX/UI Design
- 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.
Non-judgemental metaphorical safe space
Multi-input journal entries
Science-backed CBT exercises to restructure thoughts
Gain insights about your emotional triggers and track overall trends
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.