Thoughtful app — See what occupies your mind with a simple & intuitive tracker, getting started on a journey that takes the mental well-being and self-help app market in to the mainstream.

Little bit about the maker

At 30, I’ll class myself as much blessed to have experienced so much in my life. I spent an amazing 2 years in a high school in Dubai, a total of 8 years in London & wider England where i studied accountancy, graduating from Oxford Brookes University. Deep down i was never really turned on by accountancy and so in late 2012 when a rare opportunity knocked at my door, I just couldn't refuse to join in. Some close family & friends who had been in the telecommunications industry were planning to start a Telco startup in Pakistan.

I moved to Islamabad in Jan 2013 & helped setup Smartcube Technologies (SCT). We started from a small co-working space with a mere $10,000 in funding & in few months time had managed to secure a $300,000 service contract with Telenor — Pakistan’s leading telecom operator.

By the end of 2014 we were doing $1m in revenue and by mid 2015, we managed to secure a hefty VC funding from a middle eastern property tycoon for further expansion.

Starting a Digital Product Studio

In late 2014, we decided to expand into the digital technology arena and there i was again, ready to take up this new challenge. I took it upon myself to learn everything about the technology arena from digging in to the different App Stores, e-commerce platforms, blogs, tech-influencer’s, communities like Product Hunt etc and over the course of next 18 months literally lived my life around the tech world.

DevWizards — Our Digital Product Studio was started with the aim of bringing our own successful products to market as well as to partner up with the global tech industry to launch innovative new products that shape the digital landscape.

After having finalized a technical co-founder & successfully hunting a small vibrant startup team, we started working on thoughtful. As the product maker, i knew our first in-house product had to be something very personal, a product that excites me as well as the team, a product that i use for myself on a daily basis and which adds value to other people’s lives. So on that core premise, the idea behind thoughtful gradually evolved, taking in months of brainstorming, research & feedback.

Inspiration behind the thoughtful app

I am sure we’ll all raise our hands for better mental health culture & wanting to improve ourselves. However digging a little deeper into the App Stores, we don’t necessarily find this enthusiasm translating into popular mainstream apps tackling these areas.

Why not? Well we found that hardcore mental health apps have a very small narrow audience to start with ( Perhaps we still don’t have the appetite to digest the word mental health), people tend to join in when they are feeling really low & desperate and these apps are generally quite complicated to use demanding users to input a lot of details and hence putting them away, eventually ending up not being used at all.

Looking at the self-improvement side, you see hundreds of apps sitting there on the App Store like ghosts, poor concept, no thought out user experience, odd design & not updated in years. Interestingly majority of these self-help apps are filled with inspirational quotes and that’s about it.

There you have it! So If we could somehow find a balancing act here and make an app that is focused on gradually improving your mental well-being, an app that is built around self-improvement & self-awareness paradigm, an app that is simple, quick & easy to use, essentially acting as a building block to something that transforms the mental health & self-help space for good.

Start by tracking what keeps your mind occupied!

Thoughtful is designed to help you identify & track the thoughts, issues, thinking habits & traps, fears & feelings that keeps your mind occupied on an almost daily basis, influencing and affecting your daily life.

Breaking down the above generic terms, I am sure we can all relate to those little doubts, those demons, inaction triggers, some old recurring memories, relationship troubles, vulnerabilities, overthinking habits, some mental blocks, Pep talks that we give ourselves as well as those dreadful fears that drag us down etc.

Easing you in — a delightful design & great app experience

We brought simplicity to the design with an overall minimalist & light approach and made the tracker incredibly easy to follow for the users as all the prime action is happening on just one screen i.e the Dashboard.

The graph that sits at the top of the dashboard is designed to give users an enriched experience of their progress as well as having the ability to easily consume upcoming add on features to the app.

Usability promise — We can confidently claim that the users can go in & out of the app with a 5 to 10 minutes session and still able to extract a value out, an aspect which the light & casual users would find very liberating and an essential ingredient that is clearly missing in the wider mental well-being & self-improvement app market.

Briefly touching the core features

  1. Dashboard as mentioned above acts as the primary driver in our app consisting of a neat action button at the bottom, a simplistic table view (as promised) alongside a counter sitting in the middle and an intuitive & engaging graph, tailor made to help users track & analyze their thinking pattern overtime.
  2. Journaling Board is an important pillar of thoughtful, whereby you write down your daily happenings i.e activities & mood, assessing their impact on the thoughts you’re tracking and building a more insightful perspective about yourself overtime. Currently the app allows you to put in multiple entries against a specific day as well the ability to do backdated journaling for greater flexibility and follow up.
  3. Exportable Reports gives users the ability to easily export & share their tracker logs in a very presentable & graphical way. Choose data export range that suits your requirement and the app creates a PDF file for you. We believe this feature gives our users the power to escalate their issues to a mental heath professional in a manner which gives the professional access to digestible information & valuable insight about their patient, saving them time in their diagnosis.
  4. Customizable Reminders & Passcode Lock adds value to the overall product. It’s very important for the users to log their tracker on a daily basis and the pro tip here is to set a reminder for your bedtime whereby you can re-run the whole day in your head, updating the app accordingly. Switching on the Passcode lock ensures that no one has access to your private thoughts.
  5. Apple Watch Extension allows the Apple Watch users to log & update the tracker with a simple tap on their wrist.

Pricing — $0.99 to get you started

After much deliberation, we have chosen $0.99 as the price tag of our app. The core element of our pricing strategy is to take mental well-being | self -improvement app market into the mainstream and we believe lowering the prices is a step in the right direction.

Our research shows that people who are conscious about their mental well-being and want to start working on themselves are generally put off by a $4 | $5 price tag for an app.

So as things stand, we believe that with the current feature list, our app essentially gives the App Store audience value for their money.

Vision — Upcoming features, Product scalability & Collaborations

Upcoming Features — We promise our users continuous improvements to the tracker experience & to improve on the journaling aspects as well, so the app continues to add value to their daily lives & building an insightful personality. However we would love to get your valuable feedback on the overall app environment and features so we could make future updates better targeted around your needs.

Scalability — We aim to disrupt & transform the mental health & self-help space for good and looking to build upon the following areas

  1. We believe there is a space in the app market for community based self-help platform, which in this case would be acting as an ADD-ON to the thoughtful app. A friendly and a non-judgmental place for people to share their experiences, suggest solutions against an specific thread & ability to create different channels to discuss topics related to their interests. This is something we believe has the potential to become very big and could potentially help us take the Self-improvement | mental well-being culture mainstream.
  2. Another thing which we would like work upon is the Exportable Reports area. A huge number of man hours are being spent by the mental health professionals around the world to better understand their patient’s background, their thinking pattern & behavioral habits, a process costing governments & hospitals billions of dollars every year. A close collaboration with mental health industry could provide an opportunity where we could tailor some of the upcoming app features, e.g the ability to allow real time access to your mental health professional to track your progress and intervene if necessary.

Collaborations — We are an avid believer in collaborations and continuously looking around for like minded people to work with, specifically people who share our passion to transform the mental health & self-improvement space.

We are also interested in exploring & discussing funding opportunities with investors to scale up and improve our product.

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts about the article and the mental well-being | self-help space in general. Don’t forget to download the thoughtful app and visit the app page for further details here.

You can buzz me directly at Nabeel Hanif to catch up or email me at nabeel.hanif@softoo.co

Note: We are looking to launch our app at Product Hunt in few days time, So see you all there for a vibrant and engaging discussion :)

(PS. Currently working at www.softoo.co as a UX Lead)