Moody was designed to empower its users by increasing their day-to-day mental well-being, and informing users about mental illnesses to reduce stigma.
Giving attention to ones mental well-being is not something that should be limited to people living with mental illnesses. Dealing with emotional challenges, big or small, is a very common thing, but due to lack of education and stigma associated with mental health many people struggle with common day-to-day challenges. I wanted to create a well-being app specifically focusing on mental well-being for this reason. I wanted to increase the mental well-being of anyone, whether living with an illness or not.
The research began with reading some online papers about mental well-being, mental illnesses and common mental disorders. According to the World Health Organisation, unipolar depressive disorders were ranked as the third leading cause of the global burden of disease in 2004 and will move into the first place by 2030.
I conducted an informal interview with an expert that works in this field. This helped me get a better understanding of how common illnesses are treated, and what factors would have a positive effect.
To get a clear understanding of what was already on the market I did some competitive research. This was great for seeing what features were already in use and how they were executed by different apps.
To make full use of the research, an analysis of the data collected was needed. Not only does this help understand the fine details of the problems, it also proves to be very useful during the development stage.
When reviewing the research I found it very helpful to note down any points I believed to be useful. I then grouped all of these insights on a wall; here are a few examples.
Everyone can benifit from a depression planner
Displaying progress can create confidence
Being organised will relive stress
Breathing can help with anxiety
Outdoor activity must increase for those who suffer with mental health
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental disorders
Recognising achievements can relive depressive thoughts
Meditation apps are very popular due to its anxiety relief and mindfulness. these will normally include breathing techniques, and sometimes guided thought exercises.
Apps that provide support are usually more expensive apps. Some are simple check ups with a personal professional, others include full weekly schedules and some are emergency hotlines with professionals.
Management is proved to be one of the most important areas to focus on when improving mental well-being, yet one of the least developed apps. The most popular feature was mood tracking.
The app should be aimed at users looking to improve there own mental well-being.
Users with mental illness
Users with common mental disorders
Users seeking mindfulness
The app could also prove useful to people who are caring for others or looking to be informed.
To improve the users mental well-being
To have features that help support people living with an illness.
To have an educational feature to inform and create awareness of mental health to reduce stigma.
Before starting to concept anything, I felt it was necessary to brainstorm a list of problems that might need to be tackled. This helped keeping me on track when concepting.
To start I gave myself a short period of time to come up with as many solutions as possible no matter how crazy they were. This exercise helps to converge ideas.
After multiple cycles of converging and diverging ideas, criticising and eliminating solutions; a clear pattern of solutions start to emerge.
Wireframing is used throughout the development process. It helps give solutions character, it can help you find synergy between ideas and above all help map out your UI.
Once features were decided on (yellow) it was very beneficial to create a site map and note problems that need solving (green).
When figuring out how the user uses each feature it was important to keep the user flow up to date. This would let me know if something had too many unnecessary steps or too confusing.
Step by step user journeys with wireframes or prototype screens for each feature can help give a better understanding of how the users feels when moving through the app.
Mood tracker is a simple and proven to be effective technique. The user simply tracks their mood whenever they choose, this is then logged and their mood progression is clearly visible. The user can decide if they would like reminders or not also.
This is an area where the user creates a list of small activities they enjoy doing. These activities are then put into the planner and the user can observe how often they are involving themselves with each activity.
The relaxing exercise is a simple breathing exercise which is proven to be a very effective calming tool. Exercises like this are commonly used in meditation, anger management and recovering.
The first section is the informative part of the app. Here the user can choose from a range of topics and become informed by engaging with 3 interactive exercises. The first exercise would be learning what its like to to live with whatever topic, second would be how to deal with it and third would be a interactive scenario based on what was taught.
There are two types of achievements that a user can have in this section. Something the user feels proud of, big or small, they award this to themselves. The other they achieve after completing a hobby 10 times.
This is the area where the user inputs their daily/weekly schedule. Every morning the user will receive a day plan notification, and a notification before each event.
User testing had been done on multiple iterations. After each iteration the results are analysed and grouped with previous data, then the concepting phase is repeated. Below are the results of the last user test ready to be brought into the iteration cycle again.
The planner, hobby, achievement synergy works well
The sessions sound like a good idea
Mood history is interesting
What is the help action going to help with
Should the hobby graphs be showing consistency or progression
What gave the user the mood they tracked
Should the image of the session relate to the topic
This is a project that I like to come back to when I have the time for it, meaning it has already gone through enough iterations for me to be happy to display it. In my opinion an app is never 100% complete, there can always be problems with existing features or room for new ones. I do see room for improvement with some of the features and some gaps to be filled if it were to be released to the market, but its just a concept app and overall I am happy with the outcome of this project.