Working with the JLEP project team, which included an adolescent mental health specialist, we strategized the best way to develop the app. We wanted to build an app that was engaging and interactive, but didn’t require or save personal information from the users who were all intended to be minors. The final format incorporates a simple quiz and invites users to consider their emotional state, define their feelings and explore possible causes and ways to work towards a solution.
We wanted the app to be a resource with mental health information and affirmations to help reduce feelings of isolation and the stigma around mental health. The app asks a series of questions and walks users through their feelings and potential causes. Users can submit positive comments for the next users (moderated by admins) and access resources like tip lines and emergency numbers for a variety of mental health or relationship issues.
After reviewing statistics on teen mental health issues and exploring how teens use popular apps, we outlined the functionality of the app and began writing the content. This included developing the copy for each section on the app and outlining the various user paths through the content structure. We facilitated a focus group with local teens to get feedback on possible names for the app. The consensus supported the name MyFeels.
With the name and content finalized, we turned our attention to the identity design. The selected script evokes handwriting and reinforces the personal nature of the app. The identity design color palette influenced the design of the app which included bright, appealing colors and fonts that appeared well on all devices. We needed to balance emotionally-heavy content with a design that was uplifting, but not overwhelming and falsely cheery. The resulting design is inviting, yet soothing; a youthful approach for the intended teen audience.
The programming process addressed the different operating systems - the app is available in the App Store and Google Play - and includes a content management system so JLEP can update resources, moderate uplifting comments left by users, add new quotes or quiz questions and more. There is also a simple website component with information about the app and links to download it.