RISE: Discovery of a new mental health offering from Hestia

An 8-week project covering research, prototyping and testing of RISE: an online recovery space inspired by the Recovery College model

4 min readApr 29, 2022


🖼 Project overview

  • Vision: Boost the mental health of people recovering from trauma by providing live and self-directed digital courses that help you to develop strategies and skills for improving your mood and achieving the goals important to you.
  • Goal: To clearly define the proposition for the new offer. By the end of this phase, we should be able to clearly describe who it is for, what it offers, what the benefits are, and what the experience would feel like.
  • Timeframe: 8 weeks, from start of March to the end of April
  • Services: Discovery, Prototyping, User Testing

🧰 What we did

The project contained three phases. Discovery, design, and testing. We worked closely with Eve Critchley at Hestia, and ran a workshop with subject matter experts at Hestia during the discovery phase.

As a working title, we decided to name this project RISE. If the project goes further, we’d need to do a bit more exploration and due diligence on the name, in case similar things exist with the same name.

What we did

🔍 Discovery

This involved desk research to develop our understanding Recovery Colleges.

The model arrived in UK in 2010 and there are now over 30 recovery colleges across the country. The purpose of a recovery college is to support people’s recovery from mental health difficulties through learning and education that is co-produced by people with lived experience and people with professional expertise. — NHS Devon Partnership

We reviewed other digital products and services that help people with mental health recovery journey.

Frame from our Miro: Recovery College overview

🧭 Design

The main outputs here were user journey, proposition and UX design, and timetable design (different courses and sessions on offer to participants).

User journey and timetable design

The user journey was built from a service model, plotting all the key component of the service. We developed the timetable so it covered all aspects of the recovery journey. The Hestia team contributed ideas for courses and sessions. The timetable needs refining, but it’s a good start.

Frames from our Miro board: User journey and timetable design

Proposition development, UX design and prototyping

We wanted people to test something tangible, so we decided to build a clickable prototype of RISE using Webflow.

The prototype took a week to build. It’s not perfect, but it did the job. Better yet, we have something to build on if RISE goes into full production.

Browser showing RISE homepage hero area
RISE homepage
Screens from the RISE prototype: About, Courses, and Join RISE

👩‍💻 Testing

We recruited test participants from the Hestia Better Lives Forum. We planned to test with 5 people, but only managed to run 3 tests.

The process was still super-insightful. With plenty of aha moments.

Overall, feedback was positive. We have a few things to improve around positioning, usability, how ‘joining RISE’ works and the role of RISE Guides work (people that help you set goals and navigate the RISE service).

🪜 Next steps

Eve presented a playback to the CEO and directors.

They were thrilled with overall progress and liked how the prototype gave a clear sense of the experience. They added it as great to have feedback from people with lived experience.

We’re pausing work on RISE for a few months.

A second phase of development is likely to involve:

  • Make website changes based on feedback and explore messaging
  • Develop the joining process and role of RISE Guides
  • Timetable development — engage biz dev, local authorities and Better Lives Forum members
  • Refine the service model and review admin processes
  • Review and decide on tech — a No-Code stack should do it
  • Do another round of testing — with users and staff
  • Socialise plans with potential commissioners and funders

🙏 Final thank you…

Eve and Hestia for bringing us in to work on this project. We’ve loved working with Eve to help shape a new proposition. Fingers crossed, we get to develop it further and help bring it to life.