Mental health app
- intune -

My Role:

UX Research, Visual Design
10 Weeks
Web Application
Adobe Suites, Figma

This project was conducted in the Goal-Directed Design process to create a prototype of the mental health application for college students. The purpose of this application is to help college students gain a better understanding of what self-care is, why it is important, and what actions they can take to practice self-care. This page will detail findings and explain how I used research to lay out user goals.

GDD(Goal-Directed Design) Process

Goal-Directed Design is a design process designers undergo in order to gain a better understanding of users and their goals. This process allows designers to research the domain of their product, its users, and to learn how to create a product that allows users to easily achieve their goals. The Research Phase of Goal-Directed Design sets the basis for creating an effective product. I conducted research through team meetings, online research, and interviews conducted with potential users. I recruited a small sample of four college students ranging in ages and demographic backgrounds for interviews in order to acquire enough information to specify user goals and expectations.


What I gathered from Kickoff Meeting with teammates is that our target audience is college-aged students and young adults who would make use of important features like counseling and community social circles in order to better their self-care and mental health. This product will ideally be a tool that students can access every day whenever they desire, they can schedule appointments for therapy, and be able to assist a potential user who feels too nervous to speak with a professional in a face-to-face setting.

I hope an app like this will be successful around college campuses where students can encourage their peers to download the app and make use of its plethora of self-care possibilities. My team will know we have been successful once we are able to see more and more students downloading and interacting with in-app services.

An assumption that, if proven false will cause my project to fail, would be if college students do not wish to improve their self-care daily and are unwilling to devote time in order to make an improvement.


The goal of this application is to create a comfortable experience for college-aged students to get the mental health assistance that they need from the safe space of their home, along with giving them access to adequate and affordable health care all in the palm of their hand. In the past mental health has been seen as something taboo that no one felt comfortable talking about or admitting to having. Even though millions of people struggle with their mental health, society and the media have depicted it as a negative thing that we should just ignore. However, especially during our current times after the Covid-19 spreads, people have become more encouraged to talk about their feelings and open up about any struggles they might be facing with their mental health.

I can see how much mental health affects college students through some articles. According to a report in 2018 from the American College Health Association, more than 60 percent of college students said they had experienced "overwhelming anxiety" in the past year. Although many suggest that the mental health issues are severe, it is difficult for college students to receive mental health treatment. News obtained five years of data from the largest public university in each state, and result indicated that only a few of the universities met a minimum threshold Many universities are trying to hire licensed counselors to take responsibility for the mental health of their students, but the lack of counselors is causing these cases.

found that mental health apps were successful due to ease of use and minimal effort required by the user. Moreover, mental health apps for college students address issues such as anxiety, panic, and depression, according to College Consensus. While regular therapy sessions typically cost upwards of hundreds of dollars per visit, mental health apps offer college students professional counseling at a lower price and also offer free options. There are several apps to help students alleviate their mental health issues, though only a few of them effectively provide students with a variety of treatments.


In order to understand what market we are competing in, we evaluated our top competitors on how they approach the topic of self-care through their apps. It also helped us understand what features we will need to include in our final product as well as what details we need to add in order to stand out against competitors. The top competitors of the app are Headspace, Happify, and Mindshift.

After exploring the application, Headspace appeared to be the app that had the most to offer among the three competitors. Unique details it had to offer included personalized courses that varied depending on which category and subject the user wants to focus on. These courses were professionally filmed and show real people practicing self-care habits and being open about their mental health.

One unique feature Happify had to offer was making the ‘Create an Account’ process more personal. Mindshift had many great features that stood out. As a user, this feature made me feel more like an individual rather than someone who just downloaded the app for help.

We noted some consistencies among these three apps. Evaluating these three competitors made us more knowledgeable on what other apps are already offering users. This audit also allowed us to see what basic details we need to include in the foundation of our app.


John Choi

John knows that mental health care is important but he just hasen't found the perfect solution for him. He is also currently enrolled in classes at KSU so he is seeking something flexible that will allow him to set up his own schedule that he can works around.

-Goal -

• To improve his mental health
• To improve his self-care habits
• To educate himself on the importance of self-care
• To interact with like minded students

Acqilla Thomas

Acqilla has been experiencing a particularly stressful period in her life and she feels lost trying to cope with everything that has happened. she's decided to seek out the assistance of a mental health care professional, but health care is expensive and she's facing money problems which just adds to his stress. she's seeking an affordable way to try and organize her life and destress.

-Goal -

• To find help coping during the time period
• To improve her mental health
• To improve her self-care habits
• To talk with and interact with students going through similar situations

Cathy Patterson

Cathy has been feeling very overwhelmed in her life lately and she feels as if she's too busy to set time aside for her mental health. By overworking herself, she thinks she'll be able to forget about her problems since she can just focus entirely on her work rather than worry about her feelings. She recognizes that this isn't healthy, so she's hoping to find an easily accessible way to work self care into her daily routine.

-Goal -

• To take care of her mental health as she manage to do it all
• To ensure that she is healthy all - round
• To improve her mental health
• To improve her self-care habits

Tim Savage

Tim is very prone to anxiety and he hates too much change because it stresses him out. Lately, he's been obsessed with reading the news and worrying himself about the uncertainty of life, as well as the risk of getting sick from COVID-19. This has caused him to feel isolated and too scared to experience the world because he feels too nervous to leave the safety of his room. He really wants to start living his life again, so he's seeking a way to feel less alone and improve his mental health without having to seek a face-to-face professional and physically leave his home.

-Goal -

• To find assistance coping with his current situation
• To interact and talk with students going through the same
• To improve and manage his mental health


I did have to figure out what the Stakeholders would expect from the app and the team. The stakeholders would be interested in the goals of the app and how we would achieve them. Understanding the current state of mental health and self-care in the country and the need of improving it would prompt them to see the need for such an app. The stakeholders would also be informed of the timeline and deadlines for different sections of the app creation process.

One concern the stakeholders would have would be the volunteering and sponsorship of the Psychiatrists working with the app. I would explain our availability of large corporate partners such as Nike who would be willing to sponsor the Psychiatrists. The stakeholders would also be interested in the users and their end goals which tie into the importance of GDD and why we are conducting these interviews in the first place. By following the GDD process, I as a designer be able to better understand any potential users of this product and can thus create our own personas to test our app’s usability. For this project, I interviewed 4 college-aged students on their self-care habits.

People engage in different activities to unwind and relax the mind and take a break from the usual taxing routine of life. Of the group of students that I interviewed, some people cited meditation, walking, and even cleaning, as ways that they practice self-care. Research does show that a routine of meditation develops concentration and reduces stress, just by redirecting your thoughts.

When asked how much time they would be willing to dedicate to self-care on themselves, the female responses inclined towards an “entire day” while the male responses inclined to just about “an hour a day”. With this, the app will have specializations in accordance with sex so that the user is as comfortable as possible with the information and news they receive. When asked what the potential users would want to see in the app, there was a very motivating response of having a community of people to talk to. The app will, therefore, be like a social media platform for people to share their personal experiences with different issues. In addition to that, it will be a platform to learn new ways of self-care and of taking care of your mental health.

Affinity Mapping

After user interviews, I made an affinity map. Affinity mapping is a method I utilized in arrange to organize the team's thoughts and put all the information I learned from the interviews in one put. My group made four key questions for the affinity map. Each member placed their opinions and answers on the Miro board.

context scenario

1. Scott just started a new job, but he is still a full-time student at University. This is also his freshman year so he wants to get involved on campus and explore his new surroundings. In doing so, he's completely filled his plate. He feels overwhelmed and needs to take a step back. He opens a mental health app someone recommended to him. The first thing he has to do when he opens the app is giving some personal information: name, age, gender, work/school life, what type of problems he is dealing with right now, etc. Once he gets to the text box to explain how he feels, everything just pours out. He didn't realize he had so much weighed on him.

2. After filling out this "get to know me", he decides to explore the app. There are so many options to choose from. The first thing that catches his attention is an article on self-care. Scott doesn't have much time left before he has to go to class, but he reads what he can and uses the bookmark feature to mark his stopping place. The information he read so far in the article was pretty useful and he thinks about it while he is on the way to class. Towards the end of class, Scott gets a notification from the app reminding him he still has that article to finish.

3. Scott finally gets back to his apartment and can sit and explore the app more. He finds his bookmark and is able to finish the article from earlier. Scott never really took the chance to sit back and realize how important it was to take care of himself while taking on so many responsibilities. The app's algorithm takes into account that Scott read an article on self-care and suggests similar articles. This reading gives Scott more insight on how he can take better care of his mental health. Little things like taking walks, watching his favorite movie, or even taking a day trip really makes a positive difference in his mood.

4. Scott has another busy day ahead of his tomorrow and starts to feel overwhelmed again. He utilizes the app's calendar feature by listing all he has to do tomorrow. Completing the list and checking off boxes helps Scott feel accomplished and even motivates him to keep going. Eventually, Scott starts to see little improvements in his daily life. His mood has improved and he feels more motivated and level-headed. Regular reminders and meditation tips from the app help him incorporate these practices into his life and make them become habits on their own.

5. Midterms are coming up and Scott is feeling overwhelmed all over again. He feels as if he is regressing and it is taking a toll on him mentally. He updates his account profile about how he feels as if he is regressing. The app's algorithm is able to suggest articles that address depressive episodes and regression. He is also able to utilize the 'group' feature where users can all interact. It's a community for all app users to communicate and relate to reassure them they are not alone in their struggles. The app continues to send daily reminders, motivational quotes, and suggests videos and podcasts that best relate to Scott's personal problems.

6. Scott notices the improvements in his mental state over time. It didn't happen overnight, but the app made him realize it is all a process and everyone is different in dealing with their problems. He notices a close friend of his is dealing with similar problems, only he does not have an outlet to deal with them. He takes advantage of the app's "invite" feature to help his friend out.

Requirements List

1. Sign up and login
2. Onboarding
3. Splash Screen
4. Navigation
5. Personal Profile Menu
6. Therapist sign up form
7. Therapist chat box
8. Booking systems

9. Self-care activities feed
10. Social Feed
11. Social chat boxes
12. Calendar integrations
13. Push notifications
14. Native videos
15. Native maps
16. App analytics

Based on the following research: assumptions, literature reviews, competitor analysis, personas, interviews, affinity mapping, and context scenario, I was able to start a requirements list.


After organizing the requirements list, my team started to wireframe that would configure the app to meet the GDD process and we took charge of the functions we want. This brought us to conduct rough prototyping using Miro. Completing each framework, we connected the functions of each framework and complemented functions for the app's configuration.


As proceeded with the mental health care app project for college students, felt the need for a Goal-Directed Design process, which helped the efficiency of the app production and deliver more complete results to users. During the entire app production phase, the data studied and collected with team members using the GDD process had a positive impact on the hi-fidelity prototype. I also realized that the GDD process can be applied in various projects (not only app development) as well as in the projects we worked on.