The UX of mental health: 5 considerations when designing a mental health app

March 7, 2023

With the advent of digital therapeutics treating mental health disorders, the user experience (UX) of these applications becomes crucial to ensuring that users find the apps helpful, easy to use and engaging. In our experience, a thoughtfully designed and researched UX is a primary driver for the adoption and “stickiness” of digital therapies, ultimately leading to positive outcomes and improved overall well-being for the user.

Here are 5 UX considerations to keep in mind when designing a mental health app:

User Personas and Needs Assessment: Understanding your target audience and their specific needs and goals is highly important to designing a successful UX study. A mental health app might have a diverse range of users, including individuals with different mental health conditions, ages, or levels of tech-savviness. Ensure all potential users are considered and represented in your research sample to gather the appropriate feedback for your product.

Ease of Use and Navigation: A simple and intuitive interface will help users access the features they need quickly and easily. Designing a clear and concise navigation system with distinct icons and labels can help users find the information they need quickly and efficiently

Personalisation: Mental health is a deeply personal experience. A user experience tailored to each user’s individual needs and preferences can have a positive impact on their overall well-being. Consider allowing users, where possible, to personalise the app to their liking. This could include the ability to select the type of reminders they want to receive, set their preferred notification frequency, or to choose a colour scheme that resonates with them.

Engagement and Motivation: To effectively promote improvement or stability in the user’s mental health, the app should be engaging and should motivate users to stay involved on the platform. Consider incorporating gamification elements, such as progress tracking, rewards, or recognition to help users stay motivated and engaged in their mental health journey. Providing users with meaningful feedback on their progress and offering support and encouragement along the way may help them feel like they are making progress toward their mental health goals.

Data Privacy and Security: Mental health apps deal with sensitive personal information and it is crucial to ensure that users’ data is protected. Implementing robust security measures, such as encryption, 2-factor authentication and secure data storage helps users feel safe and confident using the app. Providing users with clear information about how their data is being used and protected can also help build trust and encourage continued use.

Designing a mental health app requires careful consideration of the needs and preferences of the target audience. Ensuring the app is easy to use, personalised, engaging, and secure can help users find the support and resources they need to improve their mental health and well-being.