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My Role

Project Lead

User Researcher

UX/UI Designer

Tools & Processes

Design Thinking 
Human-centred Design 
Double Diamond

User Research 
How Might We Statements

User Journey



User Testing

Pitching to clients


How might we enhance the experience talkers go on through their journey to emotional wellness?

The team were approached by a startup called Fika who were looking to develop the experience for their upcoming emotional wellness app.

The team were asked to create an experience for users of an emotional wellbeing app, aimed at improving emotional fitness through anonymous phone conversations. 


As part of a multi-disciplinary team, where I was involved throughout, we were approached by a startup called Fika who were looking to develop the experience for their upcoming emotional wellness app. 


Fika already had an MVP app with limited features. The MVP aims to turn the act of ‘talking it out’ into a habit through anonymous calls with other Fika users.

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  • Callers can ‘Talk it out’ with a Fika Academy Trained Listener 

  • Anonymous calling

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  • Actively listening to the caller reaching out

  • Listener receives training from Fika Academy


Loneliness, defined by emotional isolation (not physical isolation) and ruminating thoughts is becoming a global epidemic with reports that claim isolation is as bad, if not worse for your health than smoking.


The World Health Organisation has predicted that by 2030, obesity will no longer be the biggest health risk to humans. It will be overtaken by depression.

"2 in 3 UK adults have no one to talk to about their personal ruminations and problems."


  • 16 User Interviews

  • 1 Expert Interviews

  • 1 Analogous inspiration

  • Secondary Research


Catholic Confession with a Priest.


The aim of the analogous inspiration was to discover the activities, emotions and behaviours of parallel situations.

Attending confession offered a similar experience to the Fika app. One team member attended confession and was able to talk without fear of being judged and was asked prompting questions to encourage deeper thinking and reflection.

  • Activity: Talking about something on your mind anonymously

  • Emotion: Getting something off your chest, whether it’s positive or negative

  • Behaviour: Talking to someone about your thoughts without judgement. Actively listening and asking prompting questions to promote further conversation

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I started with interviewing people from the client's target demographic. I wanted to discover who someone might want to discuss their thoughts and feelings with, whether it be those closest to them or complete strangers, and why people might need a product like Fika and the situations in which they might use it.


The main finding from these interviews was that people often spend a lot of time alone, either through loneliness or isolation. Because of this, the interviewees said their circle of friends was quite small which sometimes added to the sense of loneliness if those friends weren't available.


Finding the hidden ‘gems’ within our research

  • You tell people good stuff because you’re proud of yourself and you want others to feel the same

  • Some people feel a sense of achievement by sharing their news with others

  • “Sharing news releases some of the pressure I feel inside me. I feel at ease when I get something off my chest”

  • People share negative news because they’re seeking help

  • Keeping things bottled up has a negative impact on people’s mental wellbeing

  • Dwelling on thoughts can cause them to develop into something larger

  • Not having someone to talk to can make people feel isolated

“The brain is always wired to remember the bad stuff, and not the good stuff.”



Identifying the areas where we could add value to the app

  • Onboarding the user to the app

  • Retaining the user through repeated use of the app

  • Mood-tracking

  • Call scheduling

  • Gamification

  • Reducing isolation

  • Focusing on the good stuff, while not forgetting the bad stuff

  • Self-reflection


Exploring a variety of ideas to take forward

Ideation activities included:

  • 50 ways to draw a hairstyle (creativity warm-up)

  • Brainstorming

  • Crazy 8s

  • Idea napkins

  • Round robin (building on each other’s ideas)

Some low-fidelity ideas were tested with users to gauge initial reaction and feedback. The best parts of those ideas were taken forward and iterated on in a continuous feedback loop.



The team came up with several new features to include in the application, focusing on the 2 opportunity areas.


The first of these features focused on the onboarding experience in the form of a new digital companion within the app called Onbuddy. This companion was more than just a digital friend; it was a new tone of voice for the application that aimed to make users feel welcome and integrated. The team’s research led us to discover that the tone of voice was important when talking with people who felt lonely or isolated. Low self-esteem and insecurities made some of our interviewees feel like everybody ignored them. The aim of Onbuddy was to make users feel like they always had a friend to talk to, no matter where they were in the app.

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Another feature I was part of developing was a home screen that grew with each call the user partook in. The more calls the user was involved in, the bigger the home screen grew in visual representation. The team wanted to give the user the feeling of personal growth to eliminate the feeling of loneliness or isolation.


The research showed that people tended to focus on the negative problems and ignore the positive ones. The home screen feature reverses this, so users can focus on the positives while still having the option to reflect on the negatives. Emotions are represented by individual circles; the size of the circles depended on the emotion stated at the end of the call; the larger the circle, the more positive the emotion. Users can also interact with the home screen to pull up details about each call and look at the notes added at the end of a session for personal reflection.

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Onbuddy was designed to help new users check-in with their feelings each day, another new feature the team developed as a way of tracking one's mood through repetitive usage. This mood-tracking aimed to help users develop the habit of talking to people about things that are on their mind by keeping a record of their previous moods and feelings. Users who checked-in with their daily feelings could keep an eye on their mood and use the app to see if they could spot anything in particular that triggered those feelings.

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