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More so than the generations before them, millennials and Gen Z are increasingly aware of their mental wellness and look for ways to nurture it. Yet these generations face many obstacles when trying to find ways to take care of themselves. Traditional therapy has many barriers in the form of insurance hurdles, which may only cover in-person visits, or not at all. Those that do choose to see a mental health practitioner also have to deal with the constant shortage of practitioners or finding the right fit for their needs.

Reverie looked to address these opportunities and build a platform from the ground up that gave people the tools to self regulate and give them a nudge throughout the day to remind them to take time to address their body’s needs before they snowball into a larger problem.

Proof of Concept
Product Design

If you’d like to learn more about the work done for this project, please shoot me a message.

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Seeing a mental health professional can have many barriers to entry, thus people need a way to self-manage their mental wellness.


Give people the tools to self regulate and give them a nudge throughout the day to remind people to take time to address their body’s needs before they snowball into a larger problem.

Industry Research

Seeking Mental Care Comes with a Number of Barriers

There’s no end to the number of articles on the internet that validate our problem statement. Some of the broad pain points that were found include:

  1. Financial barriers to mental health treatment
  2. Lack of mental health care professionals and services
  3. Limited availability of mental health education and awareness
  4. Racial and geographic barriers to mental health care access and treatment

Some things that were interesting that we had not considered was a need to fill the geographic gaps in mental care. Many providers tend to gravitate to urban centers, leaving rural communities out to dry. While we do not want to replace a therapist with our product, it begs the question, is something better than nothing?


Meditation and Solo Practices Saturate the Market

We then took a look at what competitors in this space offered and what opportunities therein. Though our competitor’s offerings range widely, a few things stood out as common themes:

  • The meditation and breathing space is overly saturated and can’t be used to differentiate a product. At the same time, this content may be expected by our users.
  • While some apps have a social aspect that ask you to share content with a friend, practicing these exercises is largely a solo activity.
  • There is risk in offering too many different types of content and it’s better to specialize in one area, such as meditation.
  • All competitors compete with free content on YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram.

AI In therapy

People are Receptive to Sharing Thoughts & Feelings with AI

Our initial research caused us to look into mindfulness apps and AI tools as a potential solution or feature of our product. This turned up some very interesting information that we would later utilize in our ideation session.

  • Mental apps do show the ability to decrease user’s stress-levels and mental well-being.
  • AI chatbots have been around since a small part of the previous decade.
  • People do find chatbots helpful.
  • Chatbots are very useful when it comes to talking out a problem, reminding a user to perform some kind of exercise, or in the discovery and definition of a feeling or mental process, ie, the concept of “rumination”

The risks in this technology are what you expect: nobody wants the chatbot to become the user’s therapist and begin diagnosing their condition.

User interviews

Takeaways from user interviews

We conducted seven 45 minute interviews with users that fall within the young professional demographic, aged between the ages for 20-35 with a range of experience with the topic of mental wellness, either their own or a family member or friend’s.

Key Themes from Interviews


Self-regulation can be anything.


When practicing self regulation, discovery and definition of your emotions and how your body is feeling is important to remedy the moment.


Keeping your emotional balance throughout the day is key, but remembering to maintain that balance can be an after thought.


The Notes app is the most valuable tool to our participants.


Progress is non-linear and often goes backwards before it can go forwards again.


Starting something new is hard. Having accountability will get you to show up.


Participants are conflicted with what they would want in an AI-powered chatbot.


Define Our Users

The needs and pain points are very much a shared spectrum. This aligns with our user’s sense of progression with their mental wellness looking more like a scribble than a straight line. As such, our new users may have similar needs paint points as an experienced user, but in different contexts.

For example, a new user might have trouble sticking with a routine of activities that they use to self regulate their mental wellness, an experienced user may just forget to perform their routine through the day’s events.


Understanding Our Value Proposition

Instead of a traditional brainstorming session, we chose to create a value proposition canvas to define our user’s needs while differentiating ourselves from the larger market with innovative solutions to meet those needs.

With these insights in hand, we asked:

How might we empower users to create habits & routines that they can stick with?


Defining the Scope

We brainstormed a number of features that we might create to meet the needs of our users based on feasibility and user impact. Here are some of the features that were decided on:

  • Task Scheduling - Allows users to make time for their body and mind throughout the day by scheduling activities throughout the day.
  • Journaling & AI Chatbot - Journaling is the most important mental wellness activity that a user can do. We can enhance this function by making the experience AI enabled and allow users to talk through their thoughts and feelings, which can help users define what’s happening.
  • Personalized recommendations and discovery - While discovery is important for new users, more advanced users are willing to try out entirely different categories of activities—they just need to know where to look.

Information Architecture


Now that we have our features defined, we conducted a card sorting exercise for our research participants to better understand their mental model of the squishier content, such as "Goals" or "Insights," and what the user might want to utilize each of these concepts. For instance, a user may want Insights based on what they have reflected on, while mental wellness goals can be broad high-level.

At this stage, we decided that the home screen should be “Today,” which would serve as a starting point each morning for the day’s activities that the user would schedule for themselves.



We then sketched out a set of wireframes to test our task flows before moving into mid-fidelity to begin to get buy in from the larger team and test and iterate from their feedback.You can find the soft log in wireframe flow on the next screen.

Designing the new user soft login flow.


High Fidelity

Taking cues from the name “Reverie” and one of our core brand values, “Discovery,” we created a design that felt light and airy. The colors we chose are a mix of traditional health and tech spaces and mix them together to create gradients fields that are representative of the dynamic nature of the app and AI functionality.

High fidelity screens of the onboarding process, which includes a limited session with the Reverie AI chatbot.
Left: A returning user can use Rei to generate prompts and discussion over entries, but is not a required aspect of the project. Right: Rei can suggest daily first-party resources to add to a user's routine.


Usability Testing & Refinement

To test our designs, we conducted a series of usability tests through zoom and walked six participants through a series of scenarios with a task for them to perform, which included:

  • The different ways users could navigate through the onboarding process
  • Creating a journal entry
  • Adding an activity to their morning routine
  • Selecting an article to listen to and changing the voice narration of the article

We defined success by successful completion of each of these tasks and whether or not users understood how to save a journal entry. Because our task flows are very short, we did not measure time to completion. Our participants were able to successfully navigate through each of the scenarios presented to them. However, most made recommendations about the UI to make certain areas of content easier to understand or more contextualized.

See the Prototype

See the Prototype



Run tests on your team. Something that I have found of value as of late is to sit your team members down for a test run of any sort of research task which gives them better context of the work you’re doing and give better design feedback, usually on a scale that wouldn’t be obvious to an external participant.


Self-care looks different for everyone. We came into this project asking very narrow questions revolving around our understanding of what mental health was shaped like through our assumptions of talk therapy and the leading mental health apps. Initial interviews allowed us to expand our aperture by a lot and alternative, and maybe more effective, ways of enabling users to care for their mental health.


Keep asking why. Given how broad the results of our user interviews were, secondary research played a big component in filling in the gaps of how and why participants responded the way they did, particularly around the topic of AI tools.