Emo

A mental health app with activities and games to help you cope with anxiety and stress and track your mood.

Role

UX designer (Team: Emily Chang, Vincent Cheung, Andy Agus)

Timing & Tools

4 weeks, 3 sprintsAdobe XD, Draw, Miro

Deliverables

Research, analysis, interviews, personas, sitemaps, ideation, wireframes, prototypes, testing

Emo

A mental health app with activities and games to help you cope with anxiety and stress and track your mood.

Role

UX designer (Team: Emily Chang, Vincent Cheung, Andy Agus)

Timing & Tools

4 weeks, 3 sprintsAdobe XD, Draw, Miro

Deliverables

Research, analysis, interviews, personas, sitemaps, ideation, wireframes, prototypes, testing

Emo

A mental health app with activities and games to help you cope with anxiety and stress and track your mood.

Role

UX designer (Team: Emily Chang, Vincent Cheung, Andy Agus)

Timing & Tools

4 weeks, 3 sprintsAdobe XD, Draw, Miro

Deliverables

Research, analysis, interviews, personas, sitemaps, ideation, wireframes, prototypes, testing

Challenge

The client and his vision

Overtone Health is a healthcare technology startup that uses artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to manage health and wellness. One of the founder's ideas is a mental health app that analyzes behavior from phones and wearable devices to provide coping tools to help young adults deal with anxiety and stress. Our UX design team created a minimally viable app with the following objectives:

Challenge

Conduct research to validate the target market

Determine the optimal feature set

Create initial user flow and interaction design

Conduct research to validate the target market

Determine the optimal feature set

Create initial user flow and interaction design

Research

A Steep Learning Curve

Locus of control, resilience training, digital phenotyping, oh my. Our scrappy trio had to quickly familiarize ourselves with highly technical terms in a specialized field. We spoke with people dealing with anxiety and stress to learn their pain points and needs. We consulted with experts to understand coping techniques. We explored the roles of data mining and gamification in enabling personalized treatments.

Research

Market research

Competitive analysis

Interviews

Personas

Sitemap

Market research

Competitive analysis

Interviews

Personas

Sitemap

Click on the thumbnails below for larger views

Ideate

Solutions to improve mood and coping skills

Our team took a collaborative approach to ideation. I was drawn to the therapeutic and educational benefits of games. Vincent was fascinated with the emotive powers of avatars and words. Andy was excited by the use of artificial intelligence and biometrics. Together, we explored ways to reduce stress, build self-awareness, shift negative thinking, and track behavioral patterns for insights — all to help people feel better.

Me

Check-in with your avatar “Emo the Lion”. Through a face scan or manual input, Emo captures and reflects your mood. The entry is logged into your mood chart. You can earn points through in-app activities to unlock more avatars.

Activities

Find relief with breathing exercises. Smash away your stress in “Don’t Bottle It Up”. Journal your thoughts and label your feelings with “Note to Self” and “Word Bank”. Test your life skills when you play “Cards Against Anxiety”.

Insights

Track your progress from all your in-app activities in one place. View charts for your mood trends, top stressors, and thinking patterns in multiple time frames.

Learn

A central repository of information to help educate. Search and filter by topics of interest. Stay informed with a mix of media content from trustworthy sources.

Games

Motivate, treat, inform

One of my responsibilities on this app was designing two games that combine cognitive-behavioral therapy with digital phenotyping and gamification.

Click on the thumbnail for larger view


Don't Bottle It Up

Bottling up your emotions can negatively impact your health. You could eventually experience a meltdown without warning. The game was inspired by a frustrated user from an interview.

By combining the benefits of journaling with the convenience of voice recording, the game offers a cathartic outlet. As you talk about your anxiety, your words are transcribed into texts that fill up a bottle. You free yourself from the burden when you smash the bottle. Follow-up recordings are encouraged to counterbalance negative thinking with positive reframing.

Don't Bottle It Up

Bottling up your emotions can negatively impact your health. You could eventually experience a meltdown without warning. The game was inspired by a frustrated user from an interview.

“I wish I talked to somebody more about it, instead of bottling it up.”

— James F.

By combining the benefits of journaling with the convenience of voice recording, the game offers a cathartic outlet. As you talk about your anxiety, your words are transcribed into texts that fill up a bottle. You free yourself from the burden when you smash the bottle. Follow-up recordings are encouraged to counterbalance negative thinking with positive reframing.

“I wish I talked to somebody more about it, instead of bottling it up.”

— James F.

Nudge the screens below left or right to see iterations

Simplified instructions from 2-pages into 1-page.

Added Emo the Lion to guide users through the steps.

Explored multiple designs to make the audio and interface buttons more intuitive.

Streamlined the process by removing the scheduling of Time to Let Go prior to smashing the bottle.

Made recordings easier to find with a simpler Library.

Added steps to encourage positive reframing with bonus points for follow-up recordings.


Cards Against Anxiety

This fill-in the blank style game similar to Cards Against Humanity revolves around decision-making skills. The card choices provide insights into how people think and their thinking patterns.

The idea was based on the theory of locus of control. People with an external locus of control are more likely to experience anxiety since they believe that they are not in control of their lives.

It evolved to include cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to identify and change unhelpful cognitive biases.

Cards Against Anxiety

This fill-in the blank style game similar to Cards Against Humanity revolves around decision-making skills. The card choices provide insights into how people think and their thinking patterns.

“It’s a nice game to get people thinking about their own experiences.”

— Dr. Altman, Psychologist

The idea was based on the theory of locus of control. People with an external locus of control are more likely to experience anxiety since they believe that they are not in control of their lives.

It evolved to include cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to identify and change unhelpful cognitive biases.

“It’s a nice game to get people thinking about their own experiences.”

— Dr. Altman, Psychologist

Nudge the screens below left or right to see iterations

Changed the name from Locus Against Anxiety (too clinical) to Cards Against Anxiety.

Simplified instructions from 2-pages into 1-page.

Added Emo the Lion as a guide throughout the game to explain the card choices.

Changed from stars to points for a more robust game reward system.

As a reward, every 1,000 points unlocked a new avatar.

Unified Insights metrics across the app, initially they were unique to each activity.

Results

Usability Testing

The project took place during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. All of our testings were done online. The final round involved three adults ages 23–28, two psychologists, and one psychiatrist. The following are some user feedback and average scores on the features and activities rated on a scale of 1–5 (1=bad, 5=good).

Results

78% Product

Would recommend or use the app

75% Usability

Overall ease of use

84% Just Breathe

Breathing exercises are simple and effective ways to feel better.

83% Journal

People think 1–2 sentences are just right and like suggested topics.

78% Don't Bottle It Up

"When you express your words verbally, the auditory processing is better than just writing or typing it."— Dr. Altman, Psychologist

75% Cards Against Anxiety

It's a cool concept for a game. The cards can provide helpful feedback.

Insights

“I really like seeing my data and what contributes to my anxiety so I find the Insights page very useful.”— Nathanael G.

Thinking & Word Patterns

“Psychologists like looking for people’s patterns, predecessors to their moods, and what they do to get out of them.”— Dr. Riggs, Psychologist

“It felt like I'm interacting with a friend as opposed to a doctor.”

— Nicky D.


This was a great learning experience and I look forward to following Overtone Health's journey with this mental health app. Visit their website to learn more about their innovative work using IoT and AI to manage health and wellness. Want to know more about this project? Let’s have a chat.