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Overview

     Mind Meld is a startup app idea that hopes to offer affordable group therapy to address teens' limited access to mental health. We hope to provide a safe virtual environment to connect with trained therapists and peers.

Roles and Responsiblities
  • Proto-Persona Validation

  • Quantitative Research Study

  • Affinity Diagram

  • Storyboard

  • Prototype & Usability Testing

  • High-Fidelity UI Mockups

  • Presentation 

Team and Timeline

     Two weeks from start to finish, with a five-person fully remote team to do user research, design, create, and test.

Our Goal

     Create and research a clickable prototype that provides virtual group therapy for those who are struggling.

     According to the CDC teens aged 12-17 in 2018 reported that 15.1% had a major depressive episode in the past year.

     Our team hopes to create more mental health resources that connect like-minded people. 

Problem:

     Teenagers need a safe community and support system to navigate mental health problems, but with the stigma and lack of resources, they often don’t know where to turn.

Solution:

Create a platform that:

  • Offers youth access to train counselors, they can access with ease

  • Encourages teenagers to engage with and seek help from others

Proto-Persona:

A reasonable assumption of our ideal user.

proto-persona.png
Henry (He/Him)

17 years old

High school student

Introverted, Anxious, Burnt-out 

Needs
  • Reliable resources for mental health

  • More time for self-care

Pain Points
  • Feels alone in mental health struggles

  • Nervous connecting with mental health professionals

Wants
  • To feel unapologetic about mental health

  • Cheaper accessibility to mental health professionals

Solutions
  • Get emotionally closer to friends and family

  • Sign up for affordable therapy

User Research

Research Plan

Gain qualitative data using a series of questions with three main objectives in mind:

  • Understand participants general view of mental health
  • Identify the ways they currently express or deal with their mental health

  • Empathize with the difficulties and obstacles they face around reaching out for help regarding their mental health

95

Comments

10

Main

Questions

16-23

Ages

9

Zoom

Interviews

"I don't wanna seem like I'm being dramatic so that stops me from reaching out for help"
"If I was talking to a professional, I would feel like they are more equipped to help me."

Affinity Diagraming

Organizing the 95 interview answer quotes to draw insights into our potential users. 

  • Many participants do not have access to mental health resources

  • Only 33% of subjects mentioned going to therapy

  • When asked, almost all interviewees, prefer to talk to friends about issues.

  • The majority of participants believe there are not enough resources

  • Two-thirds of interviewees mentioned feeling shame around their emotions.

  • More than half interviewed say they use some resources available to them

55% of subjects mentioned feeling like a burden.

Interview Insights:

     Our interviews revealed that our participants would like to have a community they can trust around mental health, but currently, they rely mostly on themselves.

     Because of this, We believe by building a safe community around destigmatizing mental health for teenagers who lack a support system will achieve an improvement in social and emotional well-being.

     After brainstorming features, we used a creative matrix grid, and created ideas based on different user types and core principles, we then prioritized potential features into lists Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, Won't Have or a MoSCoW Matrix. 

 

     The key "Must Have" features we settled on included flexible booking, easy scheduling, and the ability to search for specific mental health issues. While there were several other features we wanted to include we decided to de-prioritize features like journaling, adding friends, and messaging as these felt like extra features to the main app's function. We wanted to focus our main flow around booking a first session, a major user interaction. 

Story Board

I personally illustrated the story of our ideal average interaction with our product. Inspired by our User Persona, Jen is a High schooler struggling with depression and looking for a solution in Mind Meld's Group Therapy. Designing this was a good challenge for me artistically and helped both me and others connect more with the benefits of MindMeld.

"Mind Meld" connects you with groups of people who are all dealing with similar problems.

Jen vented to a group of students who also felt depressed, alone, and overwhelmed.

Feeling validated, Jen took her test with a little more confidence and passed with an A+!

Student Jen is taking a test tomorrow. She is feeling depressed, alone, and overwhelmed.

She tried to talk to her parents about her feelings but they were too critical and didn't understand.

Jen saw an Ad on her phone for "Mind Meld", an app for affordable group therapy.

As a team, we also worked on a User-Journy map, User Persona, and Empathy Map to better understand the emotions that would come into play in using our app. I played less of a role in these projects, but upon review agreed with my group's effort to better understand our ideal user. 

 

To ensure success the group did a SWOT competitive analysis, which compares strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and threats from a competitor therapy app Koko Cares. Which offers free mental health counseling, but doesn't have a mobile app or provide online group therapy but instead an untrained user to user support system which can lead to inconsistent advice. However, its integration with Ai, large user base, and access to other resources make it a strong contender. Mindmeld would have no other online group therapy direct competition. 

As a team, we decided the user flow we would focus on would be booking a spot in a group therapy video meeting, as it is a common interaction and could be abstracted as practice for other booking applications. Another collaborator created the user flow diagram but was rather straightforward and simplified.

Prototyping

Booking Page Sketch

We wanted to be able to quickly see which date you are on, and a list of options for counselors with short descriptions.

Filters Page Sketch

This page allows users to search for specific specialties, therapist, or by time of day using a drowdown checkbox.

Reserve Page Sketch

This page gives the user more information about the counselor they are booking with and to reserve a session.

Low Fidelity Prototype

A clickable prototype built using Figma. It has no color and repeated examples as placeholders. This prototype was used in usability testing.

     The 5-person icons show the seats available, the counselor's rating, and specialties. Clicking the arrow brings them to the reserve page, and the top right icon goes to the filters page.

     The Filters page shows several ways to narrow down a search for a user's counselor, to book the best session possible.

     The reserve page is a way of counselors further explaining their unique experience and qualification and to welcome in the new user.

Usability Testing

5

Prototype

Tests

16-23

Ages

13

Clickable

Screens

The Objective

Discover if the participant successfully booked a session with a therapist.

Questions to be answered:

  • Is it clear on the home page how to navigate to booking?

  • Is the user able to search for a counselor by specialty?

  • Log in

  • Book session

  • Filter to search by specialty

  • Apply filter

  • Select a counselor

  • Reserve time

  • Review and select session

  • Confirm session

  • Return to homepage

The Task
The Feedback

We learned that our overall flow was functional, however, several buttons needed to be clearly defined, and we needed more calendar scheduling filters. In addition, considering that this is a mental health app, we learned that our phrasing needed to be more empathetic and sensitive. For example, we changed our congratulations page from "Do a happy dance" to "Now take some time for yourself."

Mid Fidelity Prototype

     This updated prototype uses insights from usability testing, The Main changes are being more descriptive with functions by adding button labels to reduce confusion. 

High Fidelity Mockup

     Personally mockuped an idea for high-fidelity design. My changes included adding color and photos. The colors are meant to give a calming sunset aura. The glass-like interface is representative of the strength and vulnerability of its users. 

My Personal Takeaways and Possible Future Steps

     This is my favorite project because our group decided to take on a problem that's very meaningful to me: destigmatizing and increasing access to mental health. With that as a starting point, we narrowed our focus to specifically teenagers without a strong support system as one of the most vulnerable age groups. As I conducted interviews and compiled responses, I began truly empathizing with this demographic and learned that they want to talk to others about their problems with friends and professionals but feel shame and lack the resources to do so. I believe we can solve this problem by creating an app that allows users to freely access counselors and build connections with other individuals facing the same problems.

 

     Given the opportunity to do this project again, with more time and resources, I would love to gather more data and talk to more potential users. Selecting teenagers as our targeted users proved very difficult to recruit, and we had to expand our age range a bit.

 

     I hope to spend more time on this project beyond this deadline. We have discussed partnering with graduate students studying therapy to recruit as our counselors. We also would like to add a journal feature, the counselors portal, and incorporate a bigger social connection aspect to our app. Many other ideas have been generated between our group, and we see this only as a starting point of a very fruitful journey.

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