I used tenets of behavioural design to create a series of interactions that would help users of the ROOM app transfer what they learned in the app to their daily lives.

ROOM: an app you don't need to use

Client: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Role: Researcher and interaction designer

We were designing and developing an app for student well-being at Erasmus University. The app is a library of 32 emotional regulation exercises and 18 self-assessments all geared towards learning and practicing ways to deal with difficult emotions.

Many users said they viewed their phones as a source of stress. So they saw a contradiction in an app for mental well-being. The scope of the project was set and changing the shape of the solution was not possible. So we start with a challenge: can we design an app that you don't need to use (a lot)?

The context
The challenge

We created explicit connections between the user's environment and what they learned through ROOM to create a habit loop with physical cues. This was done through stickers and shapes in the environment.

We integrated an implementation intentions sequence to enhance reflection and make application contexts explicit for users.

We designed Interactions that encouraged users to match the steps of an exercise to body movements to facilitate remembering and performing exercises in high-pressure situations.

The solution

Role: UX researcher and interaction designer. I designed interactions which I prototyped and piloted. I also conducted interviews, various co-design sessions, a diary study and an A/B test with 200 users to help me shape and evaluate the first version of the solution.

I conducted over 30 interviews to understand how to help users of health apps engage with their goals beyond their screens.

Students during the co-design session (taken with their consent)

Section of initial concept and idea board.

Based on these results, I led the discussions to create interactions that would encourage learning transfer. In other words, to encourage users to learn emotional regulation techniques in the ROOM app and then apply those techniques individually, without needing to take out their phones.

These interactions were iteratively shaped and evaluated through 5 co-design sessions with students, 30 think-aloud sessions, a diary study and an A/B test with 200 participants.

The process