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For this project, I worked in a group and we were  told we had two weeks to make any app prototype we wanted. 

After our initial brain storm we knew as a team we wanted to deal with themes of mental health, fun and games, and fidget apps/toys. 

Why a mental health game?

We felt this was something worth wile to focus our efforts toward; creating a game that would encourage users to focus on their mental health in the wake of the pandemic. It felt like a timely response but we also wanted to confirm our inherent feeling that people could benefit from mental health encouragement and this is what we found: 

Mental health challenges were named the leading cause of disability/poor life outcomes 


1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 in the U.S. is diagnosed with a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder

 1 in 6 adults experienced a ‘common mental disorder’ such as depression or anxiety

After uncovering statistics such as these we felt an app that encouraged users to practice positive mental health exercises would not only be timely but could potentially be very beneficial to a plethora of people who may not have the same access to mental health resources as more privileged people in our society.

User Research

For the User Research segment of this project we decided to get the most data quickly we would send out a survey as well as conduct three in depth user interviews in order to acquire both qualitative and quantitative data. 

Interview Questions

Introduction Question Example: How important is mental health to you and why?

Body Question Example: What are some mental health apps that you’ve personally used or heard of?

Conclusion Question Example: What is a feature you would like to see in mental health apps?

To view our interview transcripts click here. To view our survey click here.

User Insights

Our key takeaways from the interviews and survey responses are as follows: 

1. Users value mental wellness but don’t know how to prioritize it

2. Users have fond memories and nostalgia for virtual pet games such as Nintendogs, Tamagotchi, Club Penguin, etc.

3. Most, if not all, participants are unaware of helpful mental health apps available today.

4. Users find themselves having at least 4 hours of mostly recreational screen-time a day.

Proto Persona

Once we had a clear idea of the theme of the app we were hoping to create we set out to create a proto persona and hypothesize who our user is and what they likely enjoy.  

Gender: Female

Age: 24

Education: Communications BA

Occupation: Social Media Marketing Coordinator 

Relationship Status: Single

Location: New York. New York


- Introverted: has a lot of plants, enjoys alone time, "to read more" was her new year's resolution

- Intentionality: prefers connecting with close friends over brunch to a wild night out, would rather listen to a podcast on a new topic than watch a movie, in general prefers responsibility over recklessness

Interests: Running, Theatre, Film Photography, Grey's Anatomy, Reddit

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Affinity Diagram

Once we had gathered all our data we created an Affinity Diagram to see where the natural groups of interests and concerns fell. The key points Affinity Diagram  is pictured below but the major themes we found are listed below. 

"Mental Health is very important to me."


"I wish I had more time to focus on my mental health"


"Mental health apps are of interest to me but there does not seem to be any worthy contenders out there."

- I value mental health

- Mental Health is very important 

- mental health is a priority

"Mental health is very important to me."

- I am so busy

- I rarely have time to focus on mental health 

- My mental health is trash

"I wish I had more time to focus on my mental health."

- I aim to exercise 6 times a week

- I exercise 2-4 times a week 

- I do yoga

"My physical health helps my mental health"

- I played nintendogs

- I had a tamagochi

- I used to love virtual pet games!

"I used to play virtual pet games as a child."

- I spend at least 4 hours a day on my phone

- My screentime is 6 hrs/day 

- I live on screens

"I am always on my phone."

- I don't use mental health apps

- Mental health apps seem boring

"I would use a mental health app if I thought it would help."

- I enjoy my own self-care

- I like taking time for myself

-I like to meditate

"I try to take time for what I enjoy"

User Persona

After collecting the data, organizing it, and recognizing the patterns that appeared we were ready to create our official user persona that we would use as our North Star throughout the rest of this process.


Meet Jessica

Age: 24

Education: B.A in Communications

Occupation: Social Media Coordinator

Tech Literacy: Moderate

Status: Single

Location: San Francisco

Behavioral Demographics: 

  • Health conscious, values authenticity, adventurous, detail-oriented

Pain Points/Frustrations:

  • Looking for way to prioritize mental health

  • There are no apps that are helpful with self-care

  • Feeling constrained by time for self-care

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Key User Insight & Problem Statement

After creating our User Persona we extrapolated further and created our Key User Insight and Problem Statement. 

User Insight

Jessica is looking for a way to make self-care a fun activity because she knows she needs to start prioritizing her mental health more in her daily life.

Problem Statement

Our app was designed to make self-care a fun habit. We have observed that our consumers want to prioritize mental health but find it hard to find the initiative, motivation, and time to do so. How might we provide a more engaging way to prioritize self-care so that our consumers can find more joy and motivation in the process and have a less daunting view of mental health and their mental wellness journey?

App Ideation 

Once all our User Research was complete we moved on to the app ideation portion of the process.

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App Ideation "I Like, I Wish, What If"

In order to start brainstorming what app features our User would like to see or benefit from we engaged in the "I Like, I wish, What If" format to find the gaps our user was experiencing that we could fill. A picture of the exercise is featured here but some of the key examples from this exercise I have listed below. 

"I like taking time for self-care"

"I wish I was more motivated to do self-care regularly"

"What if there was a way to make self-care a fun and exciting part of my day?"

Feature Prioritization

Talk to a therapist in the app

After we completed the "I like I wish What if" method we ideated features we felt fit these needs. We then plugged all our feature ideas into this feature prioritization matrix to help us have a clear picture of what features would have the biggest impact on our users. I have included a picture of this matrix here and listed the features we selected below. 

Exercise – The more steps you take in a day the more health points your pet will receive

Outdoors – The more amount of time you spend outside the more happiness points your pet will receive


No phone screen time – The longer you go without looking at your phone screen the more food points your pet will receive


Talk to friends in the app

Deals at local businesses

Motivate to go outside

Motivate to get more exercise

provide self care info

Help with phone addiction


Competitor Analysis

Before we began prototyping we completed a competitor analysis on apps that were attempting to fill the needs our app would be tackling as well. That exercise can be viewed on the below linked google sheet. But the key takeaway from each app we compared I have listed here: 

BetterHelp & Calm: known as “less formal” mental health help but still seen as strict and not “fun”

Insight Timer: Has a ton of meditation timer offerings but is only focused in the meditation space

Pokemon GO: Fun & nostalgic but kills battery, is somewhat addictive

To view the in depth Competitor Analysis click here. 

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User Flow

We then built out the user flow of the app in Miro to show what the onboarding process would look like and how all the features of the app would function. I have selected some choice parts of the user flow to the right but the entire flow is much more insightful as to what the entirety of the app would look like and that can be found at this link


After completing the ideation portion of the process we moved on to prototyping. 


After we had the User Flow built out every member of the team created a sketch version of our app and ran independent guerrilla testing. We then used the feedback we received to select the best features from each of our sketch prototypes to create our final prototype. 

Link to Kaelee’s Sketches here

Link to Natalie’s Sketches here

Link to Louis’ Sketches here

The key feedback we gleaned from our guerrilla testing was as follows: 

- Coaching screens from Kaelee’s were informative and effective


- Layout and design from Louis’ was the best received


- The star icon to indicate the completion of a goal from Natalie’s made users happy.

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Final Prototype 

Here you will find the link to our final prototype. With this two week sprint we chose to focus on the User Experience of the app more heavily than the User Interface Design. We all recognize that if we had more time to work on this project our next priority would be creating our own virtual pet designs and possibly leveled up designs of each pet as well. 

Link to final prototype here. 

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