Client: Accenture Digital Hackathon '17
Timeframe: 24 hours
Role: UI/UX design
Tools: Sketch, Proto.io
1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace and 12.7% of all sickness absence days can be attributed to mental health conditions. We created a desktop app called brainJoy to help employees manage their mental health and allow employers to understand the health of their workforce. From November 10–11, 2017, I participated in the Accenture Digital Hackathon, spending 24 hours prototyping ideas, products, and services that could create social and economic value for the community—improving how people live, work, and travel. Our task was to figure out how digital innovation could help create a truly human environment within one of the following categories:
To kickoff the event, participants circulated the room to make introductions, share ideas, and form teams. Each team was required to have 3–5 members and recommended to include a combination of developers, creative designers, marketing specialists, and data analysts. At the end of the half hour, I had teamed up with four others: two designers, a developer, and a data analyst.
We spent several hours nailing down a category, discussing everything from the reduction of food waste to a global chat room with a built-in automatic translator. My teammates and I finally settled on working with mental health, under Opportunity, due to its undeserved stigma and prevalence in daily life.
Building the product
As working conditions and environment could have a huge impact on mental health and vice versa, we thought it was important for employees to have a safe space to talk regularly about their psychological and emotional well-being. Better awareness of employee morale would also allow businesses to implement preventative measures, saving money and increasing productivity in the long-run.
To help us solve the challenge, Accenture provided a list of digital levers to incorporate including wearables, gamification, and artificial intelligence. We chose AI as it could closely approximate human intelligence and would be able to sense, comprehend, act, and learn. By using a friendly voice and tone, we hoped employees would feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, much like the experience of chatting with an old friend. Since office employees spend the majority of their workdays at their computers, it made the most sense to house the AI chatbot within a desktop app.
We also knew that privacy would be a primary concern and affect employees’ willingness to use the platform. To help establish trust, they would be assigned randomly generated usernames in the form of numbers and letters. Information would be anonymously collected and analyzed by the app’s parent company and then sent to their managers periodically for review. The platform would also be subject to mandated reporting: if an individual posed a threat to themselves or another person, the appropriate professional or emergency services would be contacted. Additional functions we discussed included text-to-speech for people with visual impairment, sensitivity training for managers monitoring their direct reports, and the provision of quarterly reports to employees to help them track their own mental health journeys over time.
The platform needed to be motivational and comforting while projecting expertise users could trust. After a couple makeshift style tiles, we zeroed in on blue and green as main colors with orange as an accent. We decided to call the AI chatbot Joy to humanize her further and help inspire happiness, while the app itself became brainJoy. At the end of the 24 hours, we gave a three-minute presentation in front of a judging panel to showcase our mockups and clickable prototype.
On the employee dashboard, the mood tracker used common weather icons to symbolize feelings. App usage was also recorded to ensure that employees log on on a regular basis. Goals were set by the user to encourage self-care: taking occasional breaks, moving around, drinking water.
Our developer created a chatbot that asked initial assessment questions based on a scale from 1–10. After getting this baseline, Joy would ask users to tell her about their day, how they felt, and if anything was wrong. If they were quiet for too long, she’d reach out to check on them. If they had a bad day, she’d follow up to see if things were going better.
In the manager view, employees’ data would be aggregated to provide overall statistics about their morale, goal tracking, and app usage. Any negative changes would be classified as concerns in order for the manager or business to address them more efficiently.
I added a general activity feed so users could see at-a-glance what they’d accomplished, while the calendar kept track of scheduled vacation days, company wellness events, holidays, and mental health days. The additions of guided meditation and a journal offered even more ways to manage wellness.
The assessment questions felt like talking to an automated answering system, so I incorporated them into the actual chat to make the interaction seamless from the very beginning.
The manager view would also have a calendar displaying upcoming events, and concerns was moved to the top of the screen to make sure they were addressed.
Though our team didn’t place, the experience reaffirmed the importance of the ideation phase for me. We spent most of the 24 hours trying to find a solution that was both thoughtful and feasible in a short time, going through many failed ideas in the process before landing on the right one.