Introducing Boost, the app that improves self-esteem: a case study

May 1, 2018 · Unlisted

General Assembly project: 2


For this individual project at General Assembly, I developed Boost; the app that helps users overcome low self-esteem through accomplishing daily tasks and receiving positive feedback.

But hold on one second. If you’re not a big reader or you just don’t have time, no worries. You can skip to the final prototype here

Sprint length: 2 weeks


I was tasked with thinking of a problem space and developing an effective, user-centered solution. Inspired by uxforgood, I chose to tackle the topic of self-esteem with the intention of developing an effective tool to help people become more positive and try and make the world a little bit of a better place.

User Research

To start off, I conducted some user interviews to help me learn and understand the problems that people have with the topic of self-esteem and that my product aims to solve.

Synthesising the findings into an affinity map, my key findings were that users:

  • Felt most positive and accomplished when completing tasks or trying something new
  • Found that failure was the most difficult thing for them to accept and forget
  • Valued personal encouragement

Persona: Meet Zara

Based on the user interview findings, I created a persona called Zara, outlining the key goals and frustrations that I needed to design for.


Zara is a creative professional therefore she is always on the lookout for new inspiration. She needs the ability to be able to post her own content whilst easily finding new, topical and inspiring content to interact with.


As an avid hash-tagger and social network user, Zara’s biggest struggle is comparison. Low self-esteem has affected her work life as she compares herself to the models she photographs.

Zara’s goal

With Zara’s goals and frustrations in mind, I formulated a goal:

Zara needs a way to increase her self esteem as she compares herself to other people.

This goal not only took into account my persona but also the findings from my user interviews.


To help me visually predict and explore my users experience with the app, I produced a storyboard.

  1. The first picture shows Zara feeling insecure and unhappy.
  2. In the second picture, Zara decides that she’s had enough of feeling like this so she launches the app.
  3. The next picture shows Zara using the app. It’s having a positive effect on her.
  4. The last picture shows how using the app over time makes Zara feel happier and more confident with herself.
Goal: Zara wants to improve her self esteem

Design Studio

Going into the design studio, my aim was to come up with something that was useful, usable, desirable, accessible and valuable. This rapid ideation session allowed me to use the key findings from my user research to come up with creative solutions that could meet the users needs identified.

Prototyping and testing

Alysia testing paper prototypes

Using the ideas from the design studio, I developed a prototype which involved my persona Zara, using the app for the first time. Her tasks involved:

  • Going through an onboarding process
  • Creating an account
  • Completing some activities with the goal of making her feel more positive.

Testing in the early stages helped me to see whether people got the maximum value out of the app and whether they felt happy or frustrated once achieving all the tasks set. Based on the feedback from testing, these are my key findings on the paper prototype:

  • There were too many screens
  • The app was too complicated
  • There was an overload of features

This feedback was valuable because it gave me the opportunity to make changes so that my product would provide users with a successful experience and help them achieve their end goal.


When designing at a higher fidelity, I focused on making the changes I received from my paper prototype testing. This included removing the lengthy onboarding process and limiting the amount of activities. Doing this made the signing up process quicker allowing users to complete the set tasks.

This is the feedback I received from my low-fidelity prototype testing:

  • The navigation was fluent
  • There was some confusion between the goal selection and next button
Confusion between the goal selection and next button
  • The video and activity were competing with each other
Activity page

Using the feedback I got from low-fidelity, I resolved the flagged issues by:

  • Removing the ‘next’ button until a goal was selected by the user.
  • Rearranging the layout of the activity page so that users would focus on the video first and the activity second.


Having made these changes, these were this was the feedback I received from my mid-fidelity testing:

  • Easy to use
  • Likes that you can watch a video and complete an activity
  • Would want to see more life to the design — use of block colours is boring
Mid-Fi prototype

Creating a moodboard

Before going into high-fidelity, I spent some time searching for inspiration and developing a style guide starting with a moodboard.

As my tester mentioned, block colours isn’t very exciting so when coming up with ideas for the visual designs, I chose to use bright colours and illustrations.

Colour Palette

“Orange is the happiest color”
— Frank Sinatra

Certain colours and shades evoke different sentiments in people. With that in mind, I chose the colours blue and orange as my primary colours.

  • Blue calls to mind peace and serenity. Blue can improve concentration, stimulate thinking and provide mental clarity.
  • Orange on the other hand is an extraverted colour. It’s enthusiastic, energetic, optimistic and it encourages us to be active.
    These are the sentiments I want my users to have whilst using the app.

Developing Illustrations

“The eye has to travel”
— Diana Vreeland, a noted columnist and editor in the field of fashion

You’ve probably heard the famous saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This phrase is especially true when talking about the importance of illustrations. Illustration is an efficient way to provide the user with a piece of information in a faster and easier way than text.

As Diana Vreeland said “the eye has to travel” and illustrations do just this. They provide the opportunity for the eye to travel and create a pleasant user experience. For Boost, I chose to use illustrations to spark interest and help my users feel good and engaged.

This is what my illustrations look like hand drawn:

This is what my illustrations look like digitalised:

Interactive Prototype

You can view the final, high fidelity clickable prototype on InVision here. In the mock-up, Zara is a first time user which means she will have to go through the sign up process. She will then select one of her goals and accomplish her daily tasks.


“Well-structured presentation telling the story of the project through to the solution and desired outcome”
— Project feedback from my instructors

I had so much fun working on this project. I’m proud of the final product that tested well and received strong feedback.

Next Steps

So much was achieved in this two week sprint but there are many other things that I’d like to explore. This includes:

Conducting a longer period of usability testing using diary studies

Self-esteem is a sensitive and personal topic and can only improve over time. Using diary studies help me understand long term user behaviour and experiences including habits, attitudes and motivations and changes in behaviours and perceptions.

Implementing a reward system

Referring back to my user interviews, when synthesising my findings, one of the main things that increased users happiness and positivity was accomplishments.

Implementing a reward system would give users an incentive to come back and use the app but would also help them improve their self-esteem over a longer period of time.

Creating a community feature
Community support is extremely powerful and effective both online and offline. When asking users what made them feel encouraged, a lot of people replied ‘support’ and ‘friends and family’. This would be a great feature for people to encourage each other in their journey.

Thank you for reading! If you’re interested in UX/UI, remember to follow me on Medium (here) for more content or if you just want to say hello, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.



Written by


UX Designer & Adventure Lover @herpaperweight

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