According to Buckeye Recovery Network,
More than 43 million Americans experience mental illness in a given year.
1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
42 million Americans are dealing with anxiety disorders.
Research shows that 90% of users of mental health apps reported increased confidence, motivation, intention, and attitudes about their mental and emotional health.
Qualitative & Quantitative Data
I polled 35 people via an online survey and interviewed eight.
As reported by the American Medical Association, One in three Americans is dealing with symptoms of stress or anxiety.
That being said, 100% of the people I polled said they had dealt with stress and/or anxiety in the last year. No surprise there, given the current pandemic.
“[apps are] clunky to use, not customizable, too expensive…”
“I have social anxiety, so it’s actually been helpful to understand myself.”
“Deep breathing and meditation help when I am anxious.”
When I asked the interviewees how they would rate their level of stress on a scale of one to five, with one being very manageable and five being disrupted my life, 70% rated their stress level between 3-5.
Over half of those survey said they use breathing exercises to manage stress and 24% employ journaling.
Competitive Feature Comparison
I compared the features of five apps designed to help with stress, anxiety a low mood, and one indirect competitor, YouTube. I found that most are providing breathing exercises, and sleep assistance. Only two were providing an online community to connect with and providing a customized experience. I found there’s a blue ocean in creating an app that provides community and customization. (Shown above in the Market Positioning Chart.)
I gathered data from ten interviews and thirty survey responses into an Affinity Map. This helped me organize the qualitative and the quantitative data. I discovered themes such as bad habits, and other ways people are coping with stress, and which apps they are using to deal with the ailment.
Value Proposition Canvas Customer Side
When taking a look at the Customer side of the Value Proposition Canvas, I believed the customer job of my app would be to help users manage stress, distract them from the stress, build healthy habits, and have a plan of action for ongoing management.
I identified the current pain points my surveyors were experiencing such as negative responses to stress, cognitive overload, and not sticking with good habits. The gains were that users want encouragement, to stay motivated, and have personal support.
My User Persona, Anxious Annie is a composite of interviewees and survey participants. This was a great way to personify some of the common characteristics of potential users. This design tool helped me to relate to the users and develop solutions based on what they want and need.
Taking my qualitative and quantitative data, I generated an As-Is Scenario. As I started grouping the data, I realized I had not asked my interviewees and survey responders a critical question.
I conducted five micro-interviews to find out what was happening prior to their feelings of stress and anxiety. This information, as well as the other data, allowed me to define the phases of the user. I needed to know what their stress triggers were, what they were doing in the onset of stress, and how they felt after their initial response to the stressful situation.
Three Problem Statements & How Might We's
It was time to examine the opportunities that emerged from the User Journey Map and develop my three problem statements.
Our busy, successful, single mom is not able to deal with stress when facing difficult situations.
She has stress and anxiety, and feels guilty when she makes unhealthy choices to deal with stress and anxiety.
She feels alone when she deals with stress and anxiety.
How might we help our busy, successful single mom deal with stress when she faces difficult situations?
How might we give her healthy options when dealing with stress and anxiety?
How might we help her not feel alone with struggling with stress and anxiety?
Since I am doing this project solo, I asked several teammates to help me with brainstorming solutions to my HMWs. This was a great team activity that produced some great ideas. Areas of interest were breathing exercises, customized app, soothing sounds, and an online support group.
Moving on, I filtered the solution ideas from the brainstorming session through the MoSCoW Method to see which ideas we Must, Should, Could, and Won’t have. This process is effective for separating the ideas that will create more value from those that don’t. I determined the Must-Haves were a customized app with journaling, breathing exercises, and affirmations.
Now that I have the features I want to incorporate, I created my Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
My MVP is a customized app that helps the user stay motivated, encouraged, and offers a variety of ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
With this in mind, pencil to paper I made my first of many iterations. Below is a sample of my Low-Fi Prototypes.
After testing the Low-Fi's with five users, I employed Adobe XD to design the next set of iterations. I've included a sample of the Mid-Fi Prototype below.
I tested five users on my Mid-Fi Prototype. Here is a screenshot of the heat map, showing there was a lot of confusion on where to tap to begin a journal entry.
As you can will see below in the High-Fi Prototype, I added more places to tap to begin typing a journal entry. Testing provides the opportunity to learn and get feedback from the users, making this a better design.
Now the fun part!! Continuing with Adobe XD, I designed the final product. I have included a larger sample of the High-Fi Prototype below.
User Testing is invaluable in the design process.
Trust the process.
Plan carefully before prototyping high-fi.
Test High-Fi Prototype
Build out the rest of the app
Success & Failure Metrics
Number of Users
Time on Task
Task Completion Rate
Time on Task
Task Completion Rate