Be Mindful: Case Study
For my Introduction to Informatics class, we were tasked with creating an app to solve a problem we see in society. My group and I decided we want to tackle a problem we saw (and experienced) frequently. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, clinical anxiety affects 18% of Americans, and many of us also experience short-term anxiety. My team’s application is not meant to solve clinical anxiety, but rather be an in-the-moment treatment to help soothe the user and practice techniques of mindfulness.
My team conducted user research through the use of self-reporting in online polls sent to our peers and a counselor at the University of Washington Counseling Center. We collected data from 18 of our peers and found that in general, this small subset of students was most often anxious because of public speaking, tests, and large social events. Our respondents were most likely to soothe their anxiety by listening to music, utilizing breathing exercises, and using other distractions. Keeping these factors in mind, we wanted to create a mobile app able to be used in any scenario for a short amount of time to reduce anxiety.
From these participants, we decided on making an all-encompassing app capable of holding all the necessary resources for those suffering from anxiety.
User Interface Design
While my teammates and I shared the work load of the user research and reports, I created the user interface designs and worked with my team’s critiques to bring about the final prototype. I wanted to create an app that appeared calm and soothing from the first glance, but also helped users in meaningful ways.
The app’s home screen shows an interface designed to relay calmness. The Zen Percentage feature is meant to incentivize users to keep coming back to use the app, with every minute contributing a percentage point to the counter.
The app’s first featured game is Zen Garden, a simple and easy to learn game to spend time on. The Garden emulates a zen garden, allowing the user to mindlessly draw patterns in the virtual sand.
ASMR, white noise, and dream location videos are featured to help take the users mind off of their current situation.
As we were presenting our prototype to our peers, many of them recommended we add a Writing tab, noting that they like to write out their feelings as a form of catharsis.
The fourth and final unique feature of our app is the Breathe training. This game is meant to allow users to practice breathing control by breathing along with the bubbles expansion and contraction as they press on it. I created this screen in response to the survey participants main method of coping with their anxiety.
We wanted our settings tab to be more than just the normal user preferences, so we added a section on user data and response rates to our application as a testimony to its usefulness.
Thank you for reading about my team’s ideas and my user interface design, stay tuned for more projects! ~ Pari