How do individuals get extra help through their hectic lives if they are struggling personally or working more deeply on their mental health? How to help others increase their mindfulness and incorporate daily practices in their lives with meditation, learning new tips and tricks, as well as setting and monitoring personal goal? Mental health has become a topical issue within the United States and individuals are looking to change their current routines and find better ways to deal with anxiety, stress, depression, and other issues.
Panacea helps users establish healthy habits daily as well as encouragement for achieving certain goals, loving guidance in times of stress or pain to continue forward, and professional help when needed via therapist chat room or video call. Offering a step by step sign up process, an elegant and simple user interface, and slight micro-interactions give users a personalized experience as well as a safe space to work on themselves.
Tools Used: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Adobe XD, Sketch
Role: UX Design + Research. Branding + Logo Design.
In more recent years, conventional western medicine has begun to accept more ancient practices such as meditation due to clinical research supporting its benefits and effects when treating mental health disorders. Psychology Today reported that meditation doesn’t just help with feeling less sad or less stressed but can actually improve sleep, coping with mental illness symptoms, reduce chronic pain, and improve cognitive and behavioral functions.
The main goals of my research were to determine:
1. How individuals get or feel stressed throughout their daily life.
2. How individuals de-stress throughout the day.
3. The benefits of daily habit-forming tasks like journaling or meditation to help individuals understand their effects.
4. The easiest ways to help users develop daily habits like meditation.
5. The best branding colors and design to help users feel calm and relaxed while on their phone
METHODS + PROCESS:
• Secondary Research
• Competitive Analysis
• Market Research
• Survey Questionnaire
• User Personas
1 in 5 US adults suffer from some form of mental illness. Depression affects 350 million people worldwide while anxiety affects 18.1% of the population of the US. While therapy has become a widely accepted form of treatment for mental health, other alternatives are starting to become more accepted and helpful including but not limited to, meditation, yoga, exercise, diet changes, and other daily goal setting opportunities. Working on mental health is a daily exercise, that while it can become exhausting, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The emergence of alternative treatment options shows that individuals are starting to realize the importance of a lifestyle change as a whole and not just working with a therapist or taking medication.
After market and competitive analysis, I conducted a questionnaire survey to help discover what users want and how they would like it presented. No demographic information was collected due to the confidential nature of the questions around mental health, offering more confidence for the users to supply honest and genuine answers.*
Out of the 43 participants, the top reported mental health issues are as follows:
1. Depression 90.7% (39 out of 43)
2. Anxiety or Anxiety Disorder 86% (37 out of 43)
3. Panic Attacks 53.5% (23 out of 43)
4. Sleep Problems or Insomia 48.8% (21 out of 43)
5. Eating Disorder 48.8% (21 out of 43)
Out of the all of the answers given, the most helpful thing for mental health the participants reported was therapy and medication while the worst thing was to do nothing.
86% of the participants felt it was important to work on their mental health every day. In addition, when asked what would be the most helpful when working on their mental health, the top responses were setting daily goals, being able to message a therapist in times of need or stress, tracking moods, breathing exercises, and exercises. Most users reported using alternative techniques like body scans, breathing, and yoga to help them calm down in times of stress throughout the day.
To better help users meet their personal goals within the Panacea app, I created a user journey based on the research and survey I conducted. After creating a persona for an individual named Karen, looking to find extra support while she is working on his mental health issues, I defined her most likely journey to sign up, start meditating, and setting up a new goal to accomplish.
I began my wireframes by mapping out the entire user journey, starting with lo-fi designs. As there was no existing UI kit or design concept, I chose to create a full series based completely on spacing, visual hierarchy, and elegant micro-interactions.
Due to the research and survey answers, my main goals through these designs were:
Continuing forward from the Lo-Fi prototype, I chose a delicate, nature centric app design. Specifically based on the research, I kept the color palette calming by using soft greens and lavender. In addition, the final design was meant to be consistent in iOS style and development while always keeping the users needs in mind.
I conducted usability testing with 4 individuals, 3 females and 1 male, ages 18 to 68. All four are interested in working on themselves through meditation, daily check-ins, and learning more about their mental health.
I prompted them to complete 5 tasks:
1. Sign Up for a Panacea
2. Account Check-In as “Sad” for the day
3. Find Meditation titled “Morning Meditation” and play it
4. Find reading titled “7 Tips to Conquer Your Anxiety” and Read it
5. Add a new Goal via the side menu for “Read a New Article”
SUMMARY OF FEEDBACK
1. All individuals were able to complete all tasks without too many issues.
2. 2 individuals felt some of the photos were very “staged” and felt “stock photo”. They both thought that choosing more nature-based photos would be a better option and would make it feel more genuine.
3. Due to the spacing and placement of the sliding feature, users felt it was easy to understand how to find the correct check-in. 2 users felt there needed to be an option for “other” or to add a different emotion.
4. Users like the simplicity of the design and how easy it to play and pause.
5. When I used the word “article” vs. "reading", users were more understanding. 2 users found the article from the home page while the other 2 were able to find it via the “Learn” menu in the bottom navbar.
ITERATIONS AND FIXES*
1. Update photos to only nature shots so that they do not feel staged or like stock images
2. Create more customizable personalized content including added a favorited section and offer filtering options for meditations and readings
3. Offer an “other” or write-in option for the emotional check-in within the app. Also, create a monitoring section for the emotional check-ins so people can see if they have patterns or triggers
4. Add custom notifications within the app to remind users of new offerings, emotional check-ins and goals.
*Iterations were not added to phase one prototype.*
After developing the entire prototype with all of it's UI features, I was able to create and define a full UI kit for the application. Due to the user of images, I chose multiple shades of mint green, gray green, and lavender to help with the accessibility of the product.
Building an app start to finish is no easy task. However with the end goal of helping others with their mental health, Panacea quickly became a passion project of mine. For next iterations, I would like to focus on an AI feature that connects users with a therapist quickly and securely over chat.
When wanting to help people, I chose to make simplicity the main goal of Panacea and would like to make sure that this app becomes an easy part of a users life and not a nuisance.