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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

Experience Design


User Journey



User Testing

Pitching to clients


As part of a multi-disciplinary team, we were approached by a startup called Fika who were looking to develop the experience for their upcoming emotional wellness app of the same name. The Fika app aims to turn the act of ‘talking it out’ into a habit through anonymous phone conversations with other Fika users.


In response to the brief, we used a design thinking approach and researched user needs through interviews and surveys, developed the experience of the app based on the research focusing on three opportunity areas; onboarding, retention and offboarding, and developed various fidelities of prototypes.


I was involved in the project throughout the design process, which included conducting user research, mapping out the user journey through the app, developing the user interface and rapid prototyping before designing the look and feel of the app to be presented to the client.


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


This is what was reported in recent studies on physical and mental health. 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.


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.


“People often spend a lot of time alone, either through loneliness or isolation”


I then looked at the current Fika customer journey and identified gaps and pain points that needed to be addressed. The app in its current state was only a product with a core function, but there was no defined method of getting to the app in the first place. Another team member and I, identified 3 opportunity areas:


  • Implementing an onboarding process for users

  • Retaining  users of the app

  • Offboarding of users who have finished using the core app function.

Fika customer journey map.jpg

The team came up with several new features to include in the application, focusing on the 3 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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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.


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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Call scheduling was another feature I worked on. The current app had no way of taking a Fika session at a more convenient time for the user, which was an insight gained from the user research. Users said they didn’t like making the initial call themselves, but felt more comfortable talking to strangers if the call came to them. Call notifications could be scheduled for later on in the day at a time more suitable for the user, up to a maximum of 14 hours. Onbuddy would guide the user through the call scheduling process to make it streamlined while maintaining a friendly presence.


I am a firm believer in incentivising users to continue to use the app through a gamified badge system that awarded users with titles such as ‘Chatterbox’ and ‘Big Ears’, for those who complete a certain number of calls as a talker or a listener. The number of calls and listens were available on the user's profile page, which gave access to further options.


Further recommendations for the client to consider were options for users to learn how to become a great Fika listener by going through the Fika Academy, a place within the app that gave listeners great tips and advice for getting the most out of their sessions.

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