Android Development, Research, UI/UX
Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Keynote, Paper & Pencil
Product Designer & Developer
Calvin Dong, Daniel Phiri, Hanfei Ren, Siqi Wang
CS 160: User Interface Design
The majority of people (89.7%, according to NIH) have dealt with some sort of traumatic event or mental health issue. However, there is a lack of widely accessible support, especially for students.
A virtual healing space, with a focus on reflection and community, for students who have been directly affected by a traumatic event, or are dealing with a mental health issue.
How It Began
I was assigned a team to work with in a class I took, User Interface Design and Development. Our goal was to find an important problem to tackle around the theme ACCESS+ABILITY that would increase opportunity for a target user.
Each team member was tasked with thinking about challenges in this particular problem space.
The five of us came together to brainstorm, and tried to think of problems people with certain needs run into on a day-to-day basis.
We had to build our idea as an Android mobile application, though we did not limit ourselves at this stage. The point was to think big, which led to the seedling for Peace.
We talked to five students to understand more about current mental health support available. We learned that:
1. Reflection is healing
Journaling is one popular method of reflection, which sparks more constructive thinking.
2. Communities understand
Many seek out solace in communities, such as cultural clubs on campus, because members see where they're coming from.
3. Third parties can help
Sometimes, it's hard to confide in people you know, and it might be easier to talk to someone new who relates.
From these insights, we focused on developing the feature set for Peace around individual reflection and external communities.
"How Might We... enable individual reflection and community-based support for students struggling with mental health issues?"
We created two iterations of wireframes to get user feedback.
Peace's main competitors in its space are Headspace and Calm—however, there is room for all of these products.
Peace is focused on reflection and community. Using the specific insights from our interviews, our team created a space that would be ideal for notes, creating virtual tokens of remembrance, and creating new connections.
These features cater to needs we heard from college students, and address ways of coping that have not been explored by other products or services.
A sensitive problem
Conducting user research interviews and making design decisions was difficult due to the sensitive nature of the project.
Takeaway: We had to agree on an interview question guide that made interviewees feel comfortable first and foremost. Any assumptions we made, we made sure to validate with our users.
The private pond and public river are meant to be interactive, animated spaces. These virtual environments are intended to elicit a calming mood through visuals and motion.
Takeaway: Our team had to design graphics that would be suitable for rendering and animating during the engineering phase of the project.
With more time, I want to explore moderation of the public river.
Takeaway: Especially given this is a mental health and healing-focused community, it's important to ensure that space is kept confidential and respectful. It's a challenge, but essential to have in place before Peace is launched.