BEAN: Mental Health App meets AI

Step 1:






This project was assigned during the span of a semester for my Topics in Design class. I was assigned to conduct research for a given prompt and create a prototype for an application based on primary and secondary research methods. I was assigned to be the lead designer and lead the development of the brand and stylistic, visual choices.


Throughout this assignment I was to…

  • Conduct research over the prompt which was to create a mobile app with the use of AI for mental health within the college student demographic.
  • Create a brand identity for the given demographic in order to facilitate trust with AI.
  • Develop a working prototype with the use of Figma.

My personal thoughts will be documented in this column! Hi (:


I was not the lead researcher so for this section I mainly focused on what would benefit me to research in terms of design so in terms of secondary research I focused on the competitor analysis portion to get key takeaways from reviews, functions, design, etc. With that being said here is a brief summary of the analysis I made:


  • Strengths:

    • Interesting messages that facilitate self-reflection.
    • Provides a secure space for venting and processing feelings.
    • Offers tools to help organize tasks and manage anxiety.
    • Introduces a “coach” similar to a therapist with unlimited messaging support.
  • Weaknesses:

    • AI malfunctions and mental health vulnerabilities could be problematic.
    • Occasionally ignores extreme statements and follows a normal chat protocol.
    • Does not always understand or answer questions effectively.
    • Charges for more advanced topics, which may be a disadvantage for college students.
    • The term “coach” may mislead users into paying therapist prices for non-therapeutic support.


  • Strengths:

    • AI communicates in a more human-like manner.
    • Effectively distracts from problems and handles minor issues well.
    • Provides topics for users who may not know what help they need.
    • Non-invasive questions.
  • Weaknesses:

    • Does not remember previous topics discussed.
    • Scripted and limited choices for interaction can be frustrating for some users.
    • Some jokes may be perceived as childish and annoying.
    • May not comprehend as well as Chat GPT, relying on keywords and prompts.


  • Strengths:

    • Easy and discreet use through text messages.
    • Automatically tracks mood based on user responses.
    • Simple and user-friendly interface.
  • Weaknesses:

    • Provides vague responses and does not respond based on text content.
    • Less advanced compared to Wysa and Woebot.
    • App occasionally fails to load, requiring manual refresh.
    • Unlimited text messages require payment despite general responses.

Me+ Daily Routine Planner:

  • Strengths:

    • Promotes productivity and good habits without therapy aspects.
    • Tracks routine maintenance and offers self-care plans.
    • Includes quizzes, a fun alarm clock, broadcast feature, and a reflection feature.
    • Incorporates meditation, workout suggestions, motivational quotes, and more.
  • Weaknesses:

    • Encourages users to purchase the full version, with frequent ad-like pop-ups.
    • UI may be messy and confusing, potentially problematic for users with ADHD.

Other Notes:

  • Me+ Daily Routine Planner: Ranked #1 in the health and fitness chart, despite lacking AI.
  • General sentiment: Free use is not strongly encouraged across all mentioned apps.

We then conducted primary research in the form of surveys and personal interviews of three people each. Here are the key takeaways from my three interviews:

Interview 1 Summary: The interviewee expresses a positive view of AI, seeing its potential to revolutionize various aspects of life. They value empathy and trust, defining trust as keeping promises for others’ best interests. As a student, time management is a significant struggle, and motivation comes from pursuing happiness and achieving goals. Academic fears include not meeting expectations and dealing with stress. The interviewee acknowledges past stress affecting their ability to stay focused but is currently stable in mental health, having sought therapy in the past but not regularly.


Interview 2 Summary: The interviewee holds a negative view of AI, stating a lack of trust compared to human interaction. They prioritize relationships, with trust built over time. Academic struggles include procrastination, making friends, and exam anxiety. Motivation stems from the desire for a happy, stress-free life and providing for future children. The fear revolves around completing the college career. The interviewee acknowledges possible ADHD but has not sought professional mental health help due to reluctance to pay for it and difficulty establishing a connection.


Interview 3 Summary: The interviewee sees AI as both cool and concerning due to its rapid progress. Empathy is valued, particularly through words of affirmation. Trust is built on connections and shared experiences, especially with close friends. The interviewee overcame academic struggles through a healthy work-life balance but faced challenges in high school due to external factors. Motivation comes from aspiring to professional success, stability, and family life. Safety paranoia is a significant fear. The interviewee has a history of mental health struggles, including eating disorders, but currently copes without medication. They express skepticism about the efficacy and motivations of doctors and find alternative coping mechanisms like a self-harm pledge app more helpful. Although considering therapy, the interviewee is uncomfortable talking to strangers and prefers journaling or doodling as coping methods.


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The research portion was very interesting to me, particularly the interviews and surveys, because I didn’t expect people to still distrust AI.


The ideation phase started with creating a basic branding guideline which was something we did struggle with and reworked several times as a group to find a color palette and different stylistic choices seen through several wireframe iterations.

Once we finalized colors we then had several color wireframe iterations and once we decided on the best colors, we created the prototype and animations for different screens. I personally did not man the motion graphics part, but witnessing my groupmate doing this was very inspiring! 

The first iteration was more focused on the logistics of the flow and with several functions this was very important to do, so I want to remember this for other projects!

As the portion that I lead I found that creating several iterations and saving all the different milestones were very helpful. I find that I usually don’t do this, but working with this group allowed me to work in a different workflow that I was very happy to experience. Perfecting everything such as making sure everything was lined up properly, font sizes were consistent, colors were strictly from the palette, continuity, etc. was also within my role and making hard final design decisions as well. 

I learned so much from this group and I was very happy to be partnered with them!!


This is the final style tile with the color palette, fonts used, logo, character, tagline, icons, etc. 

And finally here is the final prototype is still up and running here to view:  Bean Prototype.

I absolutely love and am so proud of how this prototype came out because it feels simple enough for the demographic to use, but also very visually appealing!


Although this was not my first UX Design project within a group dynamic, this was such an interesting class to take with the prompt and all the work being assigned in a way that replicates the flow of a traditional UX job which was very nice to not only experience but familiarize myself with. Dividing areas within sprints with different leads was very helpful and the brilliance of everyone in my group was very eye opening.


The key takeaways from this project are that…

Saving progress throughout the process is very helpful. There were several occasions where we would try something new only to realize we liked the original idea and this would not be possible without saving the progress. I tend to be very quick to not save these iterations to save storage and to limit the amount of design decisions I would have to make, but working within a group or with a client, this way of working would be very helpful.
Relying on your group and their expertise is just as important as making your own impact. I used to be very insecure if I was not leading the project or showing that I was capable of being helpful, but working with this group of people allowed to me to learn that there are some things I simply am not as strong at and sitting back and learning is still a sign of strength.