Nina Barnett
Product Designer

Easing anxiety & feeling supported

Helping students gain clarity with an interactive app

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Sage iOS app - Product Design


  • In this interactive journal, a student will go through the process of answering self-reflective questions, in order to gain clarity on what's causing them stress.

  • For each problem they write about, they'll get to choose a plant and watch it grow.

  • Afterwards, the plant will then be added to their garden.

We used the Double Diamond Method for our design process

We used the Double Diamond Method for our design process

Process + Timeline

We app to help students manage their stress

Students ages 14 - 22

My Role
Lead Product Designer

One Product Manager and two Developers

12 weeks to define problem statement and build MVP

Figma, Miro, Zoom

Sage iOS app - Product Design

Problem Statement

Students who don’t think their problems are bad enough to go to a therapist lack sufficient alternatives to ease anxiety.



At the discovery phase of this project, I conducted user interviews and sent out 2 surveys in order to get a better understanding of the problems that are on students’ minds.

  • Interview with 16 participants / Interview with 5 students

  • Students ages 14-22, Teachers of pre-school and grades K-12, and parents

  • Survey with 59 responses / Survey with 34 responses from students


  • What causes you worry?

  • What were some stressful moments you had to go through?

  • When faced with stressful or worrisome situations, what do you currently do to cope?

  • If you don't do anything or talk to anyone about it, why not?


  • Relax, Distract, Sports, Ignore, Draw, Journal, Cry

  • Being productive or taking a step back

  • Talking to friends/family to seek empathy/guidance

  • 14 students talked to someone, 16 students didn’t talk to anyone

To understand how customers find and interact with the service we created a Customer Journey Map.

To understand how customers find and interact with the service we created a Customer Journey Map.

Customer Journey

  1. In the first step, the student goes to school

  2. She studies, and wants to succeed

  3. She feels hopeful

  4. She has a stressor event

  5. She wants to get through it

  6. So she distracts herself, or talks to friends, but

  7. She cries, feels anxious and lonely. These solutions don’t really help.

  8. She looks for empathy and a safe space,

  9. but Still feels overwhelmed and lost.

    And, the cycle repeats again when there’s another stressor event.

Sage iOS app - Product Design

Interactive, engaging mental wellness app.

Self-guided journaling where you’re rewarded for confronting your feelings and making a plan.

Idea Clusters

After doing Crazy-8’s to brainstorm ideas, we grouped similar solutions together and voted on our top choices.

WINNER: Why we chose this idea

• Consistently reliable
• Private
• Easy and Fun
• Productive

5 Stages of Plant Growth

5 Stages of Plant Growth

MVP Features

For our Minimum Viable Product, we’re going to have the core functionality of creating a plant, while going through the process of answering self-reflective questions. The plant will then be added into the user’s garden.

Prioritized Features
• Self-guided journaling process
• Plant growth after each answer
• Seeing current and previous plants in the garden

Sage iOS app - Product Design


At the beginning of my design process I created wireframes for testing purposes.

  • It was useful to see our ideas in a visual format for the first time

  • Mid-fidelity in Figma

  • These were used for testing

  • There was another round of wireframes which incorporated the feedback from the testing

Sage iOS app - Product Design

Usability Testing for
Concept Validation


  • Were the wireframes easy to understand?

  • What are your overall thoughts on how this looks and works? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how motivated would you be to use this app in times of worry or stress? How useful is it?

  • Which elements best represent our goals for this product? Concept validated?


  • Students ages 14 - 22 (2 male and 1 female) over Zoom.

  • Participants were asked to complete a series of tasks and answer questions, including rating the difficulty and reason, pass or fail task.


  • Overall design was favorable and concept was validated

  • Overall ease of use was a 4.5 out of 5

  • Overall the users gave a 7.75 out of 10 for how motivated they are to use the app

  • We continued developing the app based on the positive feedback

Sage iOS app - Product Design

Colors + Artwork

I searched for illustrations that were light-hearted and playful, with a positive feeling, and a modern, relaxed vibe. I was inspired by the users to choose this style, since they are young, and have their whole lives ahead of them.

They would be coming to this app to relieve stress, and I wanted the colors and artwork to uplift their mood, and calm them at the same time. I’d like them to leave this experience with a sense of hope.

Sage iOS app - Product Design

UI Design

Once I tested out for usability issues, I started designing the final screens in Figma.

  • I referred to Material Design for button and type sizing

  • I designed for iOS

  • Choosing the plants and using the illustrations to create artwork are some of my favorite elements

  • The final design reflect that the users want a design that is simple to use, uplifting, and calming at the same time

  • The design helps to achieve our goals, by allowing the student to type in what’s bothering them, and to choose questions to answer, allowing them to explore what’s on their mind in regard to a particular stressor. Since each question can be answered at different times, the overall experience can be bite-sized, and not take a long amount of time. It’s a quick, fun, private and customizable way to gain clarity and reduce stress.

Style Guide

Final Style Guide to come soon!


Final User Research and Insights to come soon!

Sage iOS app - Product Design

Next Steps

  • Final user testing of color prototype

  • Engineers to develop mobile app from web app

  • Go to Market Plan

Future Considerations

  • Leaving plant unfinished would make it start to wilt

  • Daily anxiety-reducing quotes

  • Visiting other people’s gardens and gifting them rare plants/accessories

  • Option for generic journaling questions

  • More question choices

  • Earning points based on number of questions answered

  • Buying new accessories with points

  • Unlocking different habitats the longer you’re involved

What I’ve learned

  • I learned how to create a product from concept to development with a product manager and developers, and learned that I love the entire process!

  • The user flows needed to be finalized before moving on to the color screens, so that the developers could start to build the backend. Since this was going on at the same time as getting user feedback, I had to make the necessary changes first, and learned how to juggle between priorities with the developers.

  • Moving forward, we have added three additional developers, and our communication and alignment have greatly improved, as we have streamlined our processes.