UX/UI, Concept App Design is a native app that provides mental health support at no cost to the end user. offers on-demand emotional health coaching, tele-therapy and guided self-care. My team was tasked with creating an offshoot of specifically for teens.



0. Overview is a leading mental health app that makes it easy for employers to provide their employees with on-demand emotional health support. recognizes the importance of home life stability to overall mental health, and seeks to extend services to their employees’ families. This includes the demographic with the most mental health instablility- teens. My team was tasked with creating a version of for teens.


Interviews, User Personas, Affinity Mapping, Journey Mapping, UI, User Testing


4 designers - Colin Tackett, Libby Coleman, Lindsay Zambrotta & myself


2 weeks




Ginger believes that teens deserve access to high quality stigma-free mental health care



Technology can provide 24/7 care while ensuring privacy and solving the issue of physical access


What?, an iOS mobile app for young adults ages 13-18 that provides research-based mental health coaching


1. Discovery


  • Interviews

  • Affinity Mapping

  • Journey Mapping

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Personas

FOCUS: Interviews

We initially interviewed teens and parents of teens, but added a group of school psychologists to the mix because we realized they could have valuable insights on building trust with teens.

Here were the 3 major trends we found:


Teens don't want their parents involved in their mental health


Teens care about having a customizable experience


Teens want to feel like they aren't alone in the way that they're feeling

FOCUS: Personas

Using our research, we created 2 personas.


Lula: Low Risk User

- 16 years old

- Just moved to a new school

- Typically confides in her friends

- Feels lonely and sad

- Doesn’t want to burden her friends from afar


Jackson: High Risk User

- 13 years old

- Parents are going through a nasty divorce

- Feels like his home life is falling apart

-Trouble sleeping and concentrating on schoolwork

- Has starting falling asleep in class and failing tests

- Doesn’t want to talk to his school counselor, feels like she would tell his parents

2. Challenges

Our initial interviews revealed a few glaring pain points.

a) Teens have trust issues

  • initially wanted the app to come from the parents’ employers, provided by the parents to the teens

  • We realized the teens would not use an app that came from their parents

  • Teens were highly reluctant to reveal any troubles to people they believed might share their problems with their parents

  • Teens seemed to reach out to networks of peers (friends & online communities) with issues



of teens interviewed said they don’t believe a therapist would honor their confidentiality

b) does not follow iOS HIG or Material standards

  • Our task was to create an app that followed a design system

  • 8 of the 9 teens we interviewed owned an iPhone

  • Had to make the UI feel like while simultaneously following iOS HIG standards


c) We needed to drive users to the chat function


Mood Tracking Features

show little efficacy, according to clinical research


Talk/Guided Therapy

has been found much more effective



Teens are highly private and untrustworthy of confiding in people they don’t know.

3. Solutions

a) Build trust by changing entry point

  • Toyed with ideas of advertising on popular networks used by teens (ie: Pinterest, Amino, and Steam)

  • We let those ideas fizzle out when we couldn’t figure out how to fit them in with Ginger’s model: provide mental health services at no cost to the end user


We recommended a pivot in business strategy:


Provide service through schools instead of the parents’ employer.

b) Adapt Ginger’s UI to iOS standards

  • We modernized the aesthetic of’s UI and applied iOS design patterns to each screen

GingerRoots Presentation (1) copy.jpg

c) Add a mood log feature

  • One-third of teens interviewed expressed explicit interest in tracking their moods

  • Though clinical research views mood tracking as ineffective, we viewed it as an entry point into using the app

  • Teens would build familiarity with the app and we could gain their trust while they used the mood log

  • In a crisis, a teen would already be familiar with using, and could easily transition to the chat feature

Mood Log.jpg


We had the privilege of testing our product at HomeAdvisor’s UX Research Lab. HomeAdvisor’s UX team performed user testing on while I stood behind a two-way mirror watching how the user interacted with our product. After the test, I got to ask the user and the UX team direct questions about the product.

Here are the major takeaways I gleaned during user testing, and how I’d iterate in version 2:

a) Tools button looks like a settings button

  • Iconography used for “tools to improve your mood” is denoted by a hammer and wrench

  • Users thought this icon would take them to settings

  • Instead of calling the section “Tools”, call it “Mood Booster” or “Improve Your Mood”

  • Change the icon to a smiley face to improve heuristics


b) Improve the learnability of nav bar

One user expressed that she didn’t realize the options on “What would you like to do” screen were the same as the nav bar options. HomeAdvisor’s UX team offered suggestions for improving learnability

  • Color code the icons

  • Put icons in the same order on each screen

  • Eliminate the “What would you like to do?” screen completely

  • Replace it with a “walk through” feature where the user clicks through arrows informing them what the nav bar icons do

Nav Bar Icons 2 screens.jpg

c) Increase customization of tool kit

  • User found the “Did that help?” pop-up after puppy video confusing

  • She said she probably wouldn’t know if it helped

  • Suggested instead a “save” feature

  • If the video did indeed help, she’d want to be able to save it to her personal toolkit to revisit later

  • Also wanted to upload her own videos to her toolkit

  • In our research phase, we found that teens want to feel in control over their own therapy path

  • Customization of toolkit is in line with those findings, and warrants further exploration

Did this help_.jpg

And now, the fun part


Got questions?