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Role: Designer and UX Researcher/Designer 
At: University of Michigan School of Information | Class: SI 582 Interaction Design 

Time Frame: September - December 2022 | Collaborators: Ying Wang & Eileen Yan

Project Overview

1. Objectives
2. User Research
3. Initial User Flow
4. Paper Prototype 
5. Wireframe
6. Final User Flow
7. Iteration Snapshot
8. Hi-Fi Prototype
9. Impact

A mockup of the MindPour app displayed on an iPhone 14.

Eileen, Ying, and I expressed an interest in using technology to aid mental health. We formed a group in our Interaction Design class with the intent to create a high fidelity prototype of a mobile application. After a bit of research we produced an initial design statement: How might we help people in therapy be more mindful of their progress and goals?

The responsibility of progress tracking is kept by the therapist and patients must rely on the therapist to update them. By creating a self evaluation tool in a convenient mobile application, patients can keep track of their progress according to their own standards.


1. Objectives

To design a system without inserting our own biases, it was important to conduct user research. We began with constructing open ended interview questions. We organized a total of eleven questions around four target areas:

  • the user's therapy background

  • the user's expectations and goals

  • the user's current preparation and reflection for therapy sessions

  • the user's experience with pre-existing tools

Through the data generated by interviewing real people who fit our target audience, we were able to construct personas to help guide our design decisions.


2. User Research

A vector image of a woman of Asian descent with detailed information about her persona.
A vector image of an African American man with detailed informatin about his persona.

Persona 1

Persona 1

Persona 2

To get a more comprehensive understanding of how our users would behave while using our app, we generated storyboards. Each storyboard presented a unique situation and explored how the previously created personas  would respond.

A storyboard detailing how a user would interact with the MindPour app.

Storyboard 1

An additional storyboard detailing how a user would interact with the MindPour app.

Storyboard 2

An additonal storyboard detailing how a user would interact with the MindPour app.

Storyboard 3

3. Initial User Flow

Based on our personas and storyboards, our initial user flow looked like this. Initially, we thought we would focus more on the reminder feature. As we progressed we chose to focus on the four quick capture features (voice memo, free writing, photo/video capture, and wordcloud).

The intial user flow of MindPour. Different shapes mean different actions and features.

Initial User Flow

4. Paper Prototype

Once we had a firm understanding of our features, we began to lay out the design of the app. Paper prototypes are a cheap, fast, and effective way to try out an initial design system. If, during user testing, we were to discover that our features are not functioning as intended, it would be considerably easier to make modifications. Little time would be expended on designs that do not materialize.

Paper prototype screens of MindPour lined up in two rows, sequentially order with red arrows indicating interactions.

Paper Prototype with Interactions Mapped

We conducted a few micro usability tests on our classmates and felt comfortable enough with our paper protype design to move on to wireframe creation.

5. Wireframe

Working on our wireframe forced our team to focus on the essential features of our application. The data collected from our interviews, personas, and micro usability tests gave us a comprehensive point of view of our ideal users.

We realized the "quick capture" features were the most impactful elements of our app and would be the most useful for helping users achieve their goal of keeping track of their mental health.

Wireframe Final.png

Results from wireframe user testing helped clarify what supporting features were still needed. Features users mentioned would be helpful included:

  • "[I'm] looking for a search engine" (in the analysis page)

  • wanting to "enter your own keywords" (in the entry page)

  • the opportunity for "drawing feelings out, to draw [my] feelings"

We also wanted to ensure our app was supporting the users' goal of mental health progress tracking and made sure to prompt users about this aspect.


  • In regards to helping track mental health status, one user reported "it would help point me in a direction and help me be aware of things that aren't so obvious and have taken time to add up".

  • Another user mentioned it "would be helpful for people that aren't as self-aware of their own emotions".

But we also received feedback that the analysis page was not as robust or clear as it could have been: "[it's] nice to see trends but not sure how [I] would be able to analyze [my] thoughts".


This user also validated an ethical concern I had considered during the paper prototype phase that the app could cause harm through self diagnosis. The user said "[I] wouldn't want to self diagnosis if [I] was depressed for a week". To address this issue, we brainstormed ideas to encourage users to provide updates on their well-being, even during times of good mental health.

6. Final User Flow

The final user flow starting at the login screen. The chart includes quick capture features, profile, analysis, and entries page.

The final user flow looks a bit different than the initial user flow. Looking at the above diagram, it's apparent the focus shifted to our quick capture feature which included voice memo, video/picture, free write, and word cloud. The analysis, profile, and entries page stayed but we shifted the focus away from using the the app as a tool to help remind users what to discuss in therapy. 

7. Iteration Snapshot

Screenshots of the wordcloud quick capture feature demonstrating how it evolved over time.

Wordcloud Evolution

MindPour went through many iterations. One of the quick capture features, the wordcloud particularly went through many design and usability changes. We toyed with the positioning of the words to be selected. Initially we grouped together concepts but data from user testing shoed the unequal circle sizes of individual words to be confusing. We then tested out a menu that expanded as the user selected words. This was also a somewhat confusing choice for users and in our final prototype we reverted back to words as "bubbles". Users could select bubbles as as they did the contrast changed to give an indication that a word had been selected. 

8. Hi-Fi Prototype

Imagine you have just downloaded the MindPour mobile app and would like to quickly record how you're feeling. Watch a quick demonstration of our prototype here:

As you can see in our final prototype, we polished the look of MindPour. We incorporated vital information we received from user testing. We contemplated including resources for mental health but decided it came too close to diagnosis and was out of our scope. If we were to further develop this application, we would include a disclaimer during the onboarding process explaining that this is not a tool for self-diagnosis but for tracking progression to use in conjunction with therapy and professional help.


9. Impact

The most significant impact of our created app is its ability to empower individuals undergoing therapy, enabling them to actively participate in tracking their mental health progress. By providing a user-friendly mobile application with a self-evaluation tool, we have put the power in their hands, allowing them to monitor their well-being based on their personal criteria.

Our app's "quick capture" features, including voice memos, videos/pictures, free writing, and word clouds, provide effortless ways for users to express their emotions and reflections. This fosters mindfulness and self-awareness, empowering users to gain deeper insights into their thoughts and feelings.

By facilitating progress tracking and promoting ongoing engagement with mental health, our prototype encourages users to take an active role in their well-being, ultimately enhancing their overall therapeutic experience.

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