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A mindfulness app that provides a safe space through journaling and recommends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based exercises to change negative thoughts into positive ones.

Time Frame

10 weeks

Winter 2020


Perceptual & Cognitive Human Factors 

Dr. Sung Park

Team Members

Nandika Gupta 🔗

Amanda Kong 🔗

Baley Firlus 🔗

Connor Mclnerny

My Role

Project Lead

Interaction Design

Interface Design

Defining the Problem

Memories we associate with negative emotions limit our perspective and influence our future life experiences by reinforcing negative thought patterns which shape our daily lifestyle.


To design an interactive service, product or mobile application that 

emphasizes human memory.

Our Goal

Provision of a safe space that promotes freedom and independence to express one's thoughts, beliefs and feelings freely. To aid transform any negative expressions into positive ones and foster an optimistic attitude.

brighter- Vision Video

brighter Vision Film by: Jared Wersota (Editor and Videographer), Aparna Somvanshi (Script and Actor), Amanda Kong (Graphics and Actor), Connor Mclerney (Actor), Nandika Gupta and Baley Firlus)

Understanding the relevance of the problem

Slide 9_ SR (Types of Negative Emotions)

The Research Methodologies Overview


Survey Insights

We aimed to define our target demographic by gaining quantitative data. For the User Survey, we procured 173 responses in around 6 days.



In order to gain qualitative understanding of people’s emotions and experiences and  achieve a deeper understanding of the different types of coping mechanisms used we conducted 8 User Interviews with 4 Males and 4 Females.

We aimed to gain industrial insights from subject matter experts  by conducting 4 expert interviews.

Slide 40_ Findings and Insights (User In
Slide 44_ Findings and Insights (Expert

The Package: Cultural Probes

Experimental Group:
• Journal
• Letter of instructions
• Hand Grip
• Stress Ball
• Heatable Stuff Animal

Control Group:
• Journal
• Letter of Instructions
• Candy
• Emotion Stickers

The Journal

The Journal Studies were divided into two different sections:

• Positive Affirmations and Motivations

• Self- Reflection and Data Visualization

Cultural Probes Findings


Data Affinitization

700+ data points with over 150+ clusters 

Target Demographic

12 - 23 year olds

• Younger individuals started being exposed to traumatic events around the average age of 12
• O
lder audience members were inapplicable due to lack of data and rigid coping mechanisms

Competitor Analysis


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Competitor analysis overall review.png

Based on the understanding, we started conceptualizing

Initially, we came up two different concepts from our idea pool.

An algorithm based iPad/tablet application that allows users to record or write their experiences, using which it identifies negative and positive thought patterns and recommends exercises/activities that assist in coping with the emotional process

Slide 90_ Sketch for Concept 3.png

An emotional artificial intelligence robot that provides a safe space and social structure to help people process negative experiences and suggest methods to maintain a positive outlook

We chose to focus on the first concept but with additional features from the second concept


Introducing brighter

“brighter” is a mindfulness app that provides a safe space for people to express their thoughts through journaling and recommends CBT-based exercises, guided by an emotional voice assistant, to help them transform their negative experiences and emotions into positive ones.

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Information Architecture

Initially, we came up two different concepts from our idea pool.

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Wireframing and Prototyping: Lo-fi and Mid-fi

Tools Used: Figma


Evaluation Methods

Quasi Empirical Method
       -    Wizard of Oz
       -    Thinking Out Loud

Questionnaire (System Usability Scale)
12 Scheduled Participants
3 Rounds

Design Updates and Iterations

Results from the System Usability Scale from Rounds 1 and 2


We received great positive feedback on the customization aspect of our app. People really enjoyed the rewarding aspect of being able to unlock new furniture or house plants to decorate their safe space. 

The participants suggested that we add more customization unlockables, and so we delivered!


The CBT exercises were not fully designed & this confused the participants. Our goal was to have El, the emotional assistant, guide users through the exercise, but this was not coming across.​ We did a complete redesign of the exercises user flow, made it more conversational & added improved the wording of the exercises to make it more empathetic.


A constant point of challenge for our team was figuring out the best way to illustrate journal entry insights to the user that is actually helpful for them. Our goal was to help them identify their recurring & dominant thought patterns & highlight things that helped them feel better. With feedback from the first and second user tests we were able to make this screen much more insightful for the user.


Processbook 🔗    /    Application Prototype 🔗  /   Poster 🔗

A mindfulness app that provides a safe space through journaling and recommends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based exercises to change negative thoughts into positive ones.

Time Frame

10 weeks

Spring 2020

My Role

Project Lead

Interface Design

Interaction Design



Adobe Illustrator

After Effects

Adobe XD

Application Prototype

Application Features

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How does it work?

Executive Summary 🔗   /    Poster 🔗

fireShield  /  brighter  /  bud  /  Project Turf
Copyright © Aparna Somvanshi 2020