This challenge started with a prompt: develop a wellness app to help people. From there, narrowed down by careful research, empathy, and strategy, Out of Mind came to fruition.
Out of Mind is a mental wellness app designed to break the cycle of repetitive negative self-thinking throughout one’s day. The platform offers space for a user to write their thought down, let the thought go by sending it out into the world, and receive a positive message in return.
Figma, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InVision.
UX Designer (Research, Visual Design, Interaction Design, User Testing).
Elements of Value
Low Fidelity Prototype
High Fidelity Prototype
WHAT IS NEGATIVE THINKING:
Self-critical negative thinking is the tendency to evaluate oneself harshly and fixate on one’s perceived flaws and shortcomings. Negative thinking can lead to long term negative consequences such as depression or other forms of mental health issues, complications with relationships, and overall depletion of wellness and positivity in day-to-day life.
When negative thinking becomes repetitive and habitual, such as thinking the same thought over and over in an endless loop of negativity, it can overwhelm a person’s ability to get through their day. Phycologists and counselors alike emphasize the power of breaking negative cognitive distortions can begin by writing the thought down, as a way to "make it real," acknowledge it, process it, and start to find patterns over time.
This is where Out of Mind begins – it provides users with their first step in making a change, a moment during their busy lives to break the cycle of self-critical thinking by writing their thought down, sending it out of their mind, and receiving a positive message in return.
COMPETITIVE MARKET RESEARCH:
There are many mental wellness and thought diary apps in the current market, such as CBT Thought Record Diary, Happify, or The Worry Box. However, these apps tend to encompass a vast range of mental wellness and counseling subjects and often ask the user to engage in a lengthy analysis process that results in a complex range of information, tools, and steps for the user to weed through. This can be overwhelming for a first time user and isn’t conducive for individuals with limited time in their day to tackle such subjects.
Out of Mind provides a simple and a clear pathway to aid a user in managing their critical thinking. By providing an outlet for breaking the repetitive cycle of negative thoughts, the user can “let it out” of their mind and send the thought into a safe and secure space. Combating each negative thought with a counter positive message, the user is rewarded for breaking the cycle of negative thinking by entering their thoughts into the app.
Five users were interviewed to give insight into their relationship with negative thinking, wellness, and mental health app-based technology. Participants spanned from age 27 – 71 and the age range was a key parameter to understand how critical thinking affects adults throughout different stages of their lives. Participants ranged in marital status, employment status, location, and experience in app-based mental wellness use as another means for grasping a diverse pool of qualitative research.
User 1, 70, Maryland, single, employed
User 2, 33, Chicago, in a relationship, employed
User 3, 27, New York, single, student
User 4, 65, Virginia, married, retired
User 5, 31, New Hampshire, married with kids, employed
I can be so mean to myself, when I am swirling in negative thinking I am very harsh.
I know writing things down helps, but when I am running around trying to get my kids through school and myself through work, then I don’t have time to find a journal and sit down to write out my worries.
I feel like sometimes I wake up with a thought about my life and it just haunts me all day.
I can start to believe the negative thoughts in my head and by the end of the day my confidence is at such a low point.
Using quantitative and qualitative data from interviews, I defined a target persona to better empathize with my main user group and make decisions with their needs as top priority.
After completing user interviews, I created an empathy map to further clarify what my user persona was experiencing, seeing, doing, and thinking as they were moving throughout a day. This aided in the initial wireframing process.
ELEMENTS OF VALUE
After culling my user research, I emloyed Bain & Company's Elements of Value Pyramid to better sharpen my ideas and ensure that Out of Mind provides high value and long lasting engagement from my potential user.
Reduces Anxiety: helps people with managing stress and self-critical negative thinking.
Rewards: provides a positive thought in response to the negative criticism.
Therapeutic value: Is the first step in breaking the cycle of negative self-critical thinking.
Life Changing Value:
Provides hope: When feeling self-critical and down, it provides an outlet for release and a positive message in return.
Saves time: Highly accessable in alternative to finding a notebook and pen to write down thoughts.
Simplifies: reduces the complexity of tracking ones negative thinking over time.
Informs: provides reliable and trusted positive messages to counteract negative thoughts.
After reviewing my task flow and research data I sketched low-fidelity designs to capture my ideas quickly before starting the process of digitization. After sketching multiple designs, I was able to see how a user would interact with the interface.
I went through various wireframing iterations to create a clear foundation for my user. After my initial wireframing, I completed user testing to see how my initial ideas were being recieved by the user. Out of Mind is intended to work with a user's busy life and not ask them to change their schedule for wellness. With this in mind, I stayed focused on a clean and clear app where more features could possibly be added later as the app matures.
The top priority for the UI was to create a calm, inviting space with a highly responsive interface so that the user felt guided through the process with ease. A soft pastel green tone was chosen as the primary color choice due to the color psychology of green as having a calming and relaxing influence.
After many iterations of wireframing and user testing-based revisions, I began the process of high-fidelity wireframing. Incorporating details and precisions to my sketches allowed for continuous iterating and reworking of each design choice. I completed a series of three more user tests on my high-fidelity wireframes, which allowed for agile revisions and changes throughout the process.
Prototype of a user signing into their account and sending a negative thought out of their mind.
Out of Mind is an easy-to-use on-the-go application for managing self-critical negative thinking. By completing user testing on my prototypes, I learned that my users found the application inviting, non-judgemental, and three out of four users said that they would go to the app multiple times a day to help managae their stress and critical thinking. If given more time and resources, I would continue to develop the UI to be soothing and intuitive. I would also complete in the field user testing by having my users test out the app during their work day. Thinking about long-term growth, there is the potential to expand Out of Mind to include resources for users to seek out information on stress management and next steps in mental wellness. Reflecting on the initial project, Out of Mind succesfully helps with one of the major problems of negative thinking by breaking the habit and replacing a negative thought with a counter positive thought. Designed with emphathy towards the user, Out of Mind is a mental wellness solution ideal for a wide aray of users.