MoodHacker is a mobile, self managed data-base-driven depression app, based on cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology. It allows users to track, understand and improve their moods, as well as reduce symptoms of depression. It encourages healthy habits, activity sleep, nutrition, and social support. It was created by Orcas, Inc., as an employee wellness tool. I entered the project after the first beta test to help design a better experience and create a set of follow-up emails and content to support the project.
User Experience Design
User Experience Audit
Orcas, Inc. Digital Staff
My initial audit brought to light concerns regarding the mood scope. I pointed out that users had similar messaging for all mood-types and there didn’t seem to be action-oriented copy for how to approach next steps in each stages. In addition, the experience was clunky after choosing/rating moods.
How does one get in the heads of depressed users and find a peppy voice and activities that aren’t patronizing, that also are proven to work scientifically.
I felt it necessary to add activites to the mix of inital subjects, and when speaking to users we must be empathetic, not too upbeat, and we must avoid the royal “we” tone, which sounded like an older doctor speaking to a brainless patient.
The amount of research on the subject matter could fill a small doctor’s office. In conjunction with Orcas’s behavior health staff, we created a matrix of content to test. And because they were working in an agile environment, all wires for design had to be done in a hurry. So I relied on mock ups, rather than full-fledged designs.
After the initial beta launch, MoodHacker picked up recognition for being one of the best apps of its kind in the marketplace. See some of the results articles.
It’s possible to create a health app that people will actually use throughout their life, and that helps them learn excellent habits to maintain their mood.
Create actionable copy
- Provide activities and incentives to manage depression along the entire scope of moods
- Create content for people whose moods ebb and flow
Change the Voice
- Focus less on the mood and more on the activity to improve it
- Provide a hierarchy of learning to help users learn about cognitive behavioral therapy
- Provide support even if users don’t track moods
- Content must be active, friendly, succinct, but not placating.
Create supporting content
- Not all users log into apps regularly. Providing a set of intro emails to help them learn how to manage their mood and coax them into using the app, gives longevity to the experience.
- Simplify the experience and making rating and finding activities easier to use
- Remove functionality that serves no purpose
- Make the app functionality possible to use from one screen without clicking from page to page or step to step.
To help you get an idea of my process, I’ve included a few of my project artifacts.
Included are a few work samples to help showcase project efforts.
This is a sample of the responsive emails I wrote to help support the experience.
Here’s an overview featuring MoodHacker and another app I worked on for Orcas: CoachHub.
My learnings from this massive project.
My mood improved
Working on this project gave me tons of insight into my own mind and how to treat and manage stress and depression.
Agile works, but only if you do it right
In all of my years of working in an agile environment, this team was the only group who did agile right. The team was small, everyone had one role, the meetings were brief, and the methodolgy we used actually worked. This is the only project I haven’t seen incredible waste after using agile.
Great products inspire me
If you have a great product with tremendous benefits, work doesn’t seem like work. Instead, it feels like you’re helping mankind.
Small teams get more done
Having been subjected to massive teams with undefined roles, I can testify to the strength of having a few who are experts at their roles do the work that they are prescribed to do.
“Aimee is creative and efficient. Always upbeat and personable. She listens and learns, as well as she thinks and communicates. Love working with her on complex content for health and mental health mobile apps.”
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