What is Kindly?
Kindly helps people manage their anxiety through meaningful interpersonal connections, habit development and healthy coping mechanisms. The app helps alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation and assists the user in maintaining genuine connections with friends and family.
Length: 10 weeks
My Role: Product designer
Tools: Pen + paper, Figma, Zoom, InVision
Icons + Imagery: Unsplash, Ionicons
Younger generations have been experiencing anxiety and stress at a much greater incidence than previous generations.
1. Discover user pain points and behaviours through various research methods.
2. Design a potential solution for the increase in mental illness amongst younger generations.
3. Determine MVP and build out prototype.
Psychology Today states that superficial engagements compromise a deeper relationship with the self and with others. Young people today are inundated with so many meaningless connections that they feel overwhelmed, depressed and hopeless.
The Vancouver Foundation found that nearly 1/3 of people aged 18-24 said that they felt lonely.
Nearly half of respondents in a 2018 survey said they felt their relationships were not meaningful and that they were isolated from others.
One in five youth in Ontario will experience a mental health issue, and five out of six of them won’t get the treatment they need, according to a 2015 report by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
I conducted 5 interviews over Zoom with people ages 18-32 struggling with varying degrees of mental illness in order to determine their pains, behaviours and motivations.
The main themes observed through interviews and surveys were:
Almost everyone interviewed expressed some concern with their interpersonal relationships.
Most said they wished they spoke with friends and family more often.
Almost everyone stated that they feel better when they have a support system, or people to talk to about their mental health, although some said they felt like a burden talking to friends and family about it.
SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
Most people interviewed stated that they wished they used social media less.
They felt they were wasting their time and that the relationships they had online were more ‘on the surface’ than genuine.
They also felt that social media has a negative effect overall on their mental health.
Very few interviewees stated using social media or smartphones as a productive way to support their mental health.
LACK OF RESOURCES
Across the board, interviewees felt that there was a lack of resources from the government for people dealing with mental health.
Timeliness to get a psychiatrist appointment, lack of crisis workers, difficulty getting checked into crisis centres, and lack of free or affordable subsidized resources were all issues that were brought up in interviews.
Based on an overwhelming number of responses surrounding human connectedness, I decided to focus on this area as the main theme for my digital solution.
How might we help younger generations develop better habits when it comes to maintaining interpersonal relationships, in order to reduce anxiety and stress caused by feelings of loneliness and isolation?
In order to better understand my potential user, I developed a user persona based on the pains, motivations and behaviours of my interviewees.
In order to determine a viable digital solution, I used the persona I developed through interviews and created an experience map to help me look for opportunities to improve the current landscape for potential users.
Core Value Proposition
Based on feedback from research interviews, the general consensus was that people were suffering due to lack of meaningful connections and general loneliness. After looking at potential opportunities on my experience map, I decided the core value proposition of my solution would be helping people to improve their connectedness to themselves and others, in order to feel less anxious.
Through secondary research, it was found that people can improve their mental health through better connections with others. Younger generations have trouble with genuine connections due to an overexposure to social media and unhealthy coping mechanisms when it comes to dealing with stress. In order to help younger people improve their relationships with others, the Minimum Viable Product for my solution would need to focus on changing habits and routines over a period of time. This would help them to alleviate some feelings of anxiety, improve coping mechanisms and develop healthier relationships overall.
I decided to do a thorough competitive analysis to see what digital offerings currently exist for people dealing with anxiety. I found there are a lot of meditation apps as well as various forms of therapy. I was also able to find some journaling apps, and Reddit has subgroups which help users find peer support for their mental illness. Fabulous is an app that focuses on habit formation, but it is not specific to mental illness. This further verifies that habit formation as a treatment for anxiety is something that is needed in the current market.
Focusing on the MVP of habit formation, I designed a task flow that emphasized the functionality of this. I also decided personalization was important based on the varying degrees of mental illness I witnessed during my interviews, so designed an onboarding process to illustrate this.
I began by sketching various screens for each step of my task flow in order to decide which would function best for the app.
After deciding which sketches I wanted to use, I began designing my first version of lo-fidelity wireframes on Figma.
In total, I conducted 10 user tests over 2 rounds with iterations between each round. Most of the changes were small, such as changing font sizes or reducing the amount of text on the screen. I also implemented more interaction design and user control in the form of back buttons, options to skip onboarding questions, and the ability to easily exit out of modals/pop-ups. Below you can see the final hi-fidelity mockups with UI components injected and the changes from user testing implemented.
In order to determine the colour scheme for Kindly, I came up with some brand adjectives which I felt represented a solution to mental health:
Peaceful, Happy, Mindful, Calming, Friendly, Loving, Relaxing, Clean, Warm, Light, Minimalistic
I then created a moodboard with these adjectives in mind, and extracted some colours which I thought would fit well with the design of the app. Since the app is based around mental health and connectedness, I wanted a happy theme when it comes to colours which is why I chose oranges and greens. I decided to use a forest green as my main brand colour because it has a very calming, natural feel. Pairing it with a nice, subdued orange colour gives the app an approachable, modern look.
Moving forward, I would like to focus on expanding the app based on interviewee concerns. Support groups were often brought up as something that users felt were important in staying consistent with their treatment. I would like to create a safe space for users to be able to interact with their peers who are going through similar things, similar to a social media app. I also think it is important for users to have access to emergency services when it comes to mental health and would like to incorporate that into the app in the future. Tracking progress is also important in determining how well the app is working and how consistent the user is with their tasks and routines, so this is a feature I would like to build out right away.