UX RESEARCH · PRODUCT DESIGN

Envisioning an ecosystem of accessible mental healthcare for UMD students

ROLE

UX Research
Product Design

Team

1 UX Researcher
1 Visual Designer

Client

Counselling Division, University of Maryland and CommunicateHealth

OUTCOME

Redesigned the current website and added a companion application

2021 Healthy Minds Study

“34% of college respondents struggle with anxiety disorder and 41% with depression.”

Nearly 73% reported moderate or serious psychological distress, and the rates are even more sizeable for students of color and LGBTQIA+.

In partnership with CommunicateHealth, UMD wants to create a tool for students to access credible mental health support and resources when they are on and off campus.

PROcess

We took to popular online forums to dig into how Terps manage their mental health, and their perceptions of university’s current services.

Talking about mental health openly is not easy for many. We interviewed 6 UMD students from different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations. We also looked at other prominent US universities and how they handle mental health on campus.

PROBLEMS

Our biggest takeaways from our interviews showed us pretty glaring problems

-> Isolation and lack of community support.
-> Hopelessness
-> Cultural shock
-> Financial constraints
-> Stigma
-> Discrimination

PROcess

We created an empathy map to truly understand the mental health needs of our fellow Terps.

Every Terp felt the wrath of COVID-19 on their mental health, but students of color and LGBTQIA+ suffer far too many additional challenges and barriers.

We let the “How might we” questions help us think about innovative solution concepts, using Crazy8.

Design

We put down our ideas on papers and conducted expert walkthrough for further refinement.

REDESIGNING THE WEBSITE

Get immediate help quickly in times of crisis

What we improved

Students no longer had to visit a bunch of pages to look for important contacts and information.

Showcased and Highlighted options to students

What we improved

Clearly highlighted what sessions exists, explained and showed booking options right there.

A complete section for our very diverse population with direct links to Identity and Community based resources

What we improved

We saw that international students, people of color and LGBTQ had much more difficulty with access to resources, so we dedicated an area to them.

DESIGNING MIND COMPASS

Everything you need to stay on top of your mental health, at a glance.

What we designed

We wanted a mobile app to seamlessly sync with the resources and track moods.

We made a light check-in companion application to keep a track of moods with feedback and helpful resources

What we designed

Daily mood check-in questionnaire (mood monitoring)

We wanted students to be able to search for resources and topics for themselves

What we designed

An Explore page (refreshed on basis of daily mood inputs) + local search

OUTCOMES

What would our success look like?

We planned to rigorously test our products out with strong quantifiable metrics

-> Initial impressions and usability for short term

-> Adoption rate and rise/fall in people receiving mental healthcare in long term

REFLECTIONS

We had a lot planned for the future of UMD’s healthcare

-> Create a multi-platform experience with these two tools, and many more!

-> Facilitate digital group therapy in a more intuitive way.

-> Develop more relevant mental health-related tracking features in the app, using semi-automated tracking and integrations.

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