Throughout people's experiences and lifetime, memories associated with negative events can lead to long-term effects such as mental health disorders and tendencies, mal physical health, and can affect an individual's ability to socialize in a negative manner. This dependency created from negative emotions and trauma from our memories can limit perspective and may influence future life experiences by reinforcing negative thought patterns over time. This, in turn, shapes daily lifestyle in a negative form.
Having the ability to rely on others and family during difficult periods in life is not always an option, and many struggle opening up to a third party, such as a therapist, when seeking help for a change toward a more positive perspective. This is even more apparent in teens and young adults who are not used to a support system and are experiencing complications in life for the first time.
With brighter, you can have a daily guide and support system in everyday life. Brighter is a mindfulness and positivity-influenced aid that provides a safe space for people to express themselves. El, brighter's emotional assistant, will help those who are struggling with their thoughts and negative experiences by influencing guided thoughts. Brighter offers a variety of methods toward a positively-minded lifestyle through the use of a visually provided safe space that changes based on emotional triggers. It offers an exploration and opportunity to reflect and obtain a moment of positivity in everyday life. By providing daily and weekly journal entries, El recommends cognitive-behavioral therapy exercises to transform negative thoughts toward a positive outlook. Thought records and positive affirmations are guides for introducing a more neutral setting on personal experiences. By completing these entries and CBT exercises, El creates trends and insights based on user data and personalizes an experience to see improvements over time. The shown safe space will begin to visually improve with personal customization for the user provided from completed journal entries. Are you ready to become brighter?
With brighter, you can have a daily guide and support system in everyday life. Brighter is a mindfulness app that provides a safe space for people to express their thoughts through journaling and recommends CBT-based (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) exercises to help them transform their negative experiences and emotions into positive ones.
The Problem: Memories we associate with negative emotions limit our perspective, influence our future life experiences and can cause detrimental impacts to our lifestyles. Therapy is often expensive and at times can be difficult when it comes to individual expression. Subtle guidance with suggestion is the best approach rather than pushing a process someone may or may not need. For those who struggle with emotional instability and lack of a support system, emerging toward a new chapter in life can be arduous.
Our objective: 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.
It was important to take into account statistics related to mental health. 13% of the US population die annually. This results in an average of five grieving people left behind. 40% of the grievers experience depression one month after their loss. There is five times more risk of suicide in teens after the death of a parent.
People suppress their emotions regularly, however, this is a temporary fix. Looking at the situation through a glass-half full perspective is more beneficial in the long run. This is possible through re-anchoring, talk therapy, and group therapy.
Throughout our research process, we identified appropriate subtopics to mental health and individuals that have experience with trauma from their past. Using a series of surveys, interviews, expert consultations, journal studies, open conversations, physical observations, and concept tests, we discovered main insights related to mental health and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), an effective form of therapy that restructures negative thoughts into positive. These spoke about coping mechanisms (including venting to friends and family as well as journaling and other activities), positivity and mindfulness (therapy and counseling provide reassurance and direction), and emotional association (memories associated with friends and family remind people of warmth, safety and joy).
After our journal studies, it became clear we needed to focus our target audience on those aged 12-23. Younger individuals started being exposed to traumatic events around the average age of 12. Older audience members were inapplicable due to a lack of data and rigid coping mechanisms.
We came up with multiple ideas in our idea pool. From our idea pool, we solidified upon the two ideas: Echo and Elated. First, Echo: 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. Our second was Elated, 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.
We turned to our voice AI, El. We created the persona El to guide our users through their emotional journey, becoming a better version of themselves. We wanted her to be calm, supportive, patient yet persistent. Using information that is picked up using AI technology, El recommends exercises that correlate with their negative thought patterns, beliefs, or triggers. Additionally, El provides customized motivational quotes, to draw emphasis on the positive.
Drawing up our designs, we needed to then test what we created. In order to create a seamless structure for the application we heavily looked into the system that allows users to understand where they are — and where the information they want is — in relation to their current position with several iterations based on the results. We started by creating the Wireflow. With the system in place, we held three user testing rounds in a series of 3 weeks. With over twelve participants and several heuristic and think-aloud sessions, we created solutions to problems in UI and interaction; illustrating journal entry insights in a helpful data visualization, defining the user flow for the CBT exercises, and improving the customization feature of the user's safe space were some of the many issues we solved in design.
After evaluating three rounds based on the tasks, our system usability scale questionnaire finally was out of the red.
Now introducing brighter! 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.
With brighter, you have a non-judgemental metaphorical safe space. Through the use of a visually provided safe space that changes based on emotional triggers, brighter offers an exploration and opportunity to reflect and obtain a moment of positivity in everyday life. With multi-input journal entries, El, brighter's emotional assistant, will help those who are struggling with their thoughts and negative experiences by influencing guided thoughts in the form of journaling. After journaling, science-backed CBT exercises restructure your thoughts. By providing daily and weekly journal entries, El recommends cognitive-behavioral therapy exercises to transform negative thoughts toward a positive outlook. Thought records and positive affirmations are guides for introducing a more neutral setting on personal experiences.
With completing journal entries and recommended CBT exercises, El creates trends and insights based on user data and personalizes your experience to see improvements over time. You'll be able to gain insights on your emotional triggers and track overall trends.
The interaction model (the way the user interacts and utilizes the app) for brighter works as follows:
First, you journal your emotions by typing and/or speaking. Then El provides trends based on the insights you've provided (after a few days of use). Through investigation, you can see your triggers and thought patterns from the entries you provided. As you view your personalizations, you learn acceptance and understand that it is okay to be feeling negative emotions. Moving forward, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises come into play. Using CBT, a positive and effective form of therapy, you can restructure and work through your previous thoughts by reforming them positively. By completing entries, you become motivated and are imbued with determination and confidence, receiving unlockables to design your safe space as you grow. Back at home, you can now reflect with your newly formed growth mind space, focusing on the positives rather than the negatives.
Lastly, in consideration of a potential target market demographic, an additional version, brighter kids, was created and adapted for a younger audience. For those under fifteen, it is still possible to have a companion besides you in the everyday. Brighter kids helps instill positivity at a young learning age and presents a more approachable environment with gamified exercises and simplified instructions.