The goal of this case study was to develop a mobile app to assist teens in obtaining timely access to self-care resources and support the development of self-care routines.

UX Research
UX Design
UI Design
IOS Mobile App
Jan 2023 - Apr 2023


How might we improve the real-time accessibility, learning, and ongoing practice of self-care activities and provide timely support for participants of the ROOTED program?

Weston Frontlines Centre, a non-profit organization in Toronto's York-South Weston neighbourhood, serves local teenagers (ages 13-17) through its ROOTED program, offering mental health and self-care workshops. However, due to a gap in providing ongoing self-care support outside of these workshops, Frontlines teens currently struggle with practicing and maintaining self-care routines, and find difficulty receiving immediate support from the Frontlines team.


Frontlines has requested our team's assistance in designing a mobile application to provide timely support and relevant practices for Frontlines teens experiencing stress or anxiety. To tackle this challenge, My team and I designed an app that enables teens to access self-care resources promptly and develops a long-lasting and personalized self-care routine. We addressed the problems by designing five essential features: Daily check-in, Daily affirmation, Habit tracker, Q&A Forum, and External resource. These features allow the ROOTED participants to build and hone their self-care skills, as well as support Frontlines in expanding the availability of self-care resources.



Primary research

"What makes it difficult for users to maintain self-care practices?"

Our primary research was conducted through two methods. Focus group interviews were conducted with 8 participants to gather qualitative data. Additionally, the same participants were provided with a Google survey to gather quantitative data. Due to the vulnerable population involved in this research, My team and I assisted the organization in formulating interview questions, conducting interviews with the participants, and recording audio.

Key Findings
● Nearly all participants found school to be their main stressor which is closely related to exams, heavy workloads, time-management challenges, and lack of sleep causing negative feelings, especially during after-school hours.

● Their motives to engage in self-care practices include reducing stress and becoming happier, while the main challenges they are facing are managing multiple priorities, and saving enough time for them to take good care of themselves.

● Many of the activities that participants indicated they were engaging in for self-care are activities that are typically completed alone, such as drawing or painting, journaling or writing, as well as reading.

● Positive thinking and affirmation, motivation and consistency are what participants need the most to continue with self-care practices and build a positive mentality.

Affinity Diagram

Using the Dovetail platform, I transcribed audio recordings that we received from the Frontlines and tagged important quotes to build an affinity diagram to visualize the raw data collected.




Let's meet Tyler and Jordan

The ROOTED teen participants are the end-users and are represented by the primary persona.

The Frontlines staff closely engage with the teens through the delivery of the different programs. The staff will manage and maintain the final project solution. We represented them as the secondary persona.

User Journey Map

Let's walkthrough Tyler's current experience seeking self-care resources and support.

Let's see Tyler's new experience with a self-care mobile app

Ethical consideration

My team and I ensured no harmful content that might create adverse effects on youths (age 13-17) is included in the app. In addition, we identified 4 ethical considerations that are essential to ensure the successful delivery of the pp. These items require special attention and/or additional resources to carry out effectively.



Inspiration board

For brainstorming, our team created an inspiration board to visualize ideas and concepts.

Ideation/Prioritization Grid

My team and I ideated on potential solutions centralized around meeting users’ needs of coping with school-related stress, gaining positivity and affirmation, and self-care habits cultivation, as well as the organization’s needs to enable user access to resources and support outside of Frontlines operational hours and promoting users’ overall sense of connectedness with Frontlines and ROOTED Program. Our team of 5, along with 3 members of the client team all voted on priority (value), and our team had an internal voting session to vote on design effort given the limited time and resources. We arrived at a prioritization grid that helped us break down the features into stages of releases.

Project requirements and scope

To identify our project requirements and scope, My team and I utilized our research findings and client inputs throughout the research phase to arrive at 14 proposed app features under 5 overarching themes:


My team and I sketched five must-have features: An anonymized Q&A forum, Daily self-care check-in, a Habit tracker, Daily Affirmation quotes, and a List of external support and resources.

Mid-fi prototypes

Our client remarked on the well-thought-out details of the wireframe designs, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the overall simplicity of the design layout to maximize the intuitiveness of the features. My team and I then further iterated on our designs based on their feedback, creating medium-fidelity designs.



Usability testing

Once the medium-fidelity designs were finalized, our usability evaluation was conducted with a total of 4 participants. Given that they are a vulnerable population, Frontlines offered to recruit and conduct usability testing with teen participants on our behalf. This is advantageous as they are already acquainted with the teens, thereby reducing the potential risks associated with having unfamiliar individuals conduct usability tests with them. However, given that the testing was conducted by two facilitators who had not conducted usability tests before, potential misalignments in the facilitator’s understanding of usability testing concepts resulted in shortfalls in certain portions of the testing, such as 1) guidance and coaching being provided to participants during task completion as well as 2) the use of incompatible testing devices. To ensure the comprehensiveness of our testing feedback, we then conducted additional testing sessions with 2 non-target users to obtain thorough attitudinal and behavioural insights. We received positive feedback from all participants on the intuitiveness of the app.

Key Findings

No critical usability issues were found during the testing sessions. The majority of the feedback was given to the habit tracker feature where users were confused by the different stats on the screens and found the screens to be overloaded with information. Based on comments, we fixed those identified issues when transitioning from mid-fi to high-fi.



Design system

For high-fidelity design, My team and I created a design system leveraging Frontlines’ existing brand colours and typography, while integrating icons and illustrations reflecting self-care. Because the Frontlines team wished for the app to exude certain nature-like elements through the colour usage of green and blue, we utilized Frontlines’s main brand colour, purple, to ensure the overall consistency of the look and feel of the app with the Frontlines brand.

High fidelity prototype

Through daily check-in that asks introspective questions about current levels of stress, emotions, nutrition, and sleep, users can check daily condition.

An external resources connects users to different programs around Toronto

A daily Affirmation motivates users to consistent commitment to their self-care

A forum helps users learn new skills in self-care and ask questions about self-care on the forum while involving the Frontlines team.

A Habit tracker makes maintenance personalized with goal setting and reminder and keep up a self-care routine.

"With support options available through the app,
users do not have to wait until Frontlines’ operating hours to receive support."


Collaboration leads to project success

Collaboration was an essential ingredient for the success of this project. By effectively respecting one another and maintaining clear communication, My team and I  were able to ensure that all team members were aligned and comprehended their roles and contributions to the project, which led to successful project completion (achieved A+). Also, working alongside others from diverse backgrounds and perspectives has allowed me to gain valuable insights and broaden my understanding of different approaches to problem-solving.

Always have a plan B

Plan B ensured our project to be proceeded according to the original plan. Throughout the usability testing, My team and I encountered challenges such as the unavailability of trained staff to facilitate the testing sessions, potential participants being unable to participate due to various reasons, and technical malfunctions with our testing device. However, since we anticipated such possibilities, we prepared an alternative approach. With the alternative ways to conduct usability testing, we were able to keep the project moving forward and achieve successful project outcomes.

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