JOURNALING GOES DIGITAL
Journaling, previously associated with teenage girls and intellectuals, has become a defining aspect of the self-care trend, alongside meditation. This recognition is well-deserved, as scientific research supports the numerous benefits of journaling. These benefits include improved mindfulness, memory, and communication skills, as well as better sleep, increased self-confidence, and even an improved immune system.
Time Frame: 2 weeks
Role: UI/UX Designer, Researcher
Scope: UX/UI Design, Qualitative and Quantitative Research, Visual Design, Branding, Interaction Design, and Prototyping
Mentors: Rita Martins & Joana Oliveira Carvalho
The goal of this project was to create a solution for users that want to start journaling, but have never done so digitally or they were unsuccessful in trying to make this practice a daily habit. And also to make this experience feel as close as a physical journal.
With my research, I was eager to understand how people approach journaling - their motivations, and how it fits into their daily routine.
"I usually journal immediately after I wake up, so the process needs to be clear and under ten minutes."
"I struggle to adapt to journaling on my notes app because I never know how to begin or what to write"
"I love personalizing my experience when writing in a physical journal and I don't think I could replicate that in an app"
Before getting started with my design, I took some time to analyze my competition and gain a better understanding of the current journaling tools available. I discovered that while these tools are effective in helping users review their day and stay focused, they all had a very long flow from start to finish and were also lacking specific daily prompts in order to help the less proficient users.
The journaling interface in Penzu is crafted to emulate the appearance of a traditional notebook paper, with the added capability to adjust the font style and incorporate visual elements, thereby enriching the overall journaling experience.
Although this app allows for more personalization, many reviewers deemed its interface 'outdated' or even 'kitschy'.
The Day One App is a well-regarded journaling solution, with a clear and user-friendly interface.
Additionally, the app offers a range of customization options, including the ability to add photos and embed audio recordings, enhancing the overall journaling experience.
However, the app lacks prompts and lacks the look and feel of a more physical journaling experience.
In Daylio, journal entries are recorded by selecting a mood icon and activity icon to represent the day. The mood is represented by a choice of five smiley face icons.
There is no typing required, but the option to add supplementary notes is available for those who desire more detail.
Daylio also has some drawbacks. Some users may find that the app has limited customization options and lacks the look of a 'real' journal.
Kim Gordon 28, Architect
Kim is an accomplished architect with a passion for travel. In her free time, she loves to venture to different parts of the world and take in all the sights and sounds of the local culture. To remember her travels, Kim jots down her experiences in her little notebook.
Recently, she found out about the benefits of journaling daily through a friend, realizing it could be a great way to reflect and unload.
Although she usually loves writing about her adventures, Kim struggles to maintain a consistent journaling habit. She often finds herself staring at a blank page, unsure of how to start and what to write.
Kim desires to make journaling a regular part of her routine and not just something she does when she travels.
Kim wants to be able to process her thoughts and emotions by journaling about her daily experiences.
"I try to write down my thoughts every now and then but I have never been able to turn it into a daily pratice."
How might we create a journaling app that inspires and motivates users to consistently reflect and document their thoughts and experiences, while fitting seamlessly into their daily routine?
Photo by Jamie Hagan via Unsplash
Here are the proposed goals based on research and the design challenge:
Design an onboarding flow that allows users to personalize the app with four different themes and input their monthly goals. These goals will show up on the homepage to keep the user focused and give purpose to journaling.
Develop a clear and uncluttered flow for the app that encourages the creation of a daily routine, promoting consistency.
Create prompts that inspire users to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, experiences, or daily activities, which can be a question, quote, situation, or image.
Provide a section for users to review their past entries. After weeks or months of journaling, it's essential to take time to reflect and recognize any patterns or themes that emerge.
Include a section where users can write freely without the constraints of prompts.
Brand attributes: calming, dreamy, lightness, natural.
My goal when choosing the colors for this app was to embody the brand attributes and create a soothing experience for the user.
Based on my research, I understood the importance of customization and the personal touch it adds to the overall experience, which is why I made sure to include four different color themes for our users to choose from. This way, each user can tailor their digital journal to match the feeling of a physical one.
Testing & Iteration
In this stage, I did two rounds of testing to make sure my mid-fidelity designs make sense before moving into high-fidelity prototypes. Below you have the main changes between to two fidelities.
Added the current date to the Homepage
moved the calendar feature to the Log
Removed logo from Homepage
Added "a thought for today" feature
Made the forward button bigger
Added a progress bar
Moved the calendar to this page and added a toggle to switch between the two views
Added a line that connects the days within the month to show continuity
This was my first solo end-to-end project, so it was a challenge not only regarding the technical aspects of the experience but also regarding time management and prioritization.
The next step would be to develop the user's profile and metrics page so that the user has access to their progress.