Humans naturally yearn for empathy. Most apps provide “simple solutions” to mental illnesses, instead of adapting to help the user. Pacifica uniquely analyzes user response to help manage anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. However, in its current state, users find that they get lost in its complexity and lack of personality.
Revamping Pacifica included user interviews, an audit, updated user flows, interaction design, conceptualizing natural language processing, and journeys.
I researched and designed this project in 3 weeks, during Accenture Digital's Apprentice Program at Intrepid Pursuits.
Given the time frame and limited resources, I interviewed 2 Pacifica users, and researched articles and app reviews for feedback. Users favoured features included logging their moods with journaling, and "Thinking Trap" CBT activities.
However, users also stated that Pacifica currently has long and unstructured app flows, doesn't give users specific tasks, and demotivates users with its impersonal tone.
Users stated how most apps oversimplify their emotions.
I looked into prominent tech in the space: Moodnotes, Happify, Headspace, and Reflecty. While these all have great intentions, they direct users to one goal: happiness, and nothing else. Logging a mood often ranges from feeling “Really good!” to "Awful…" without any combination or flexibility.
Redesign: Humans are Emotional Blobs
Show Moods via Interaction
Humans, like blobs, sometimes just feel like mush. Some users also mentioned how they struggle with verbalizing the way in which they feel.
For users to show rather than tell, I considered different kinds of animated emotions and gestural interaction. Iterations included emotive shapes, reflecting Disney’s Flour Sack concept, to tapping and swiping to relay feeling.
The final interaction calls to therapeutic exercise, in which users can “paint” their mood(s). The provided moods are 4 foundational emotions (based on current mental health studies).Happiness. Sadness. Anger/Disgust. Fear/Surprise.
Because people can feel a mixture of all these emotions, they can express different amounts of each.
After logging their mood, users can enter a journal entry to dive deeper into how they feel.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Activity
Personality & Identity
The redesign is meant to emulate the accommodating tone and verbiage of a therapist.
How the App Speaks and Behaves:
Trustworthy, approachable, and professional.
With research from interviews and therapist-written articles, no two therapist sessions will sound identical. It’s not the stereotypical chaise couch talk. How therapists speak depends on what the user needs and feels. Using natural language processing, Pacifica dictates verbiage that curates to the user.
Based on what the user logs into their journal, Pacifica responds with text that has analyzed user’s personality and needs. Displaying "How are you feeling?” every time a user opens the app, walks the line of the personality acting passive. Instead, the headers will be constantly living – changing over time, just like the users.
Kept Pacifica's main green, changing the tones to more calming hues. Other colors taken are assigned emotions.
Red: Anger. Blue: Sadness. Purple: Fear. Yellow: Joy.