top of page
kure cover (2).png

Practicing self-care with mindfulness 

during the COVID-19 pandemic

kure cover left.png
kure right.png

My Role: 





Research, UX Design, Branding, UI Design

Research, UX Design, Branding, UI Design

Adobe XD, Photoshop, Whimsical, Procreate

Adobe XD, Photoshop, Whimsical, Procreate

May - July 2020

May - July 2020

Interactive Prototype for a New iOS Mobile App

Interactive Prototype for a New iOS Mobile App

Solo Conceptual Design

Solo Conceptual Design


IDEO's Human-Centered Design Process

IDEO Process (1).png


How might we help people cope with negative feelings particularly during quarantines and lockdowns?

47% of the people reported negative mental health effects during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Source: KFF Health Tracking Poll | March 2020 in the U.S. with the sample of 1,216 adults ages 18 and older

Surgeon in Uniform
tired mom.jpg
Image by Joshua Rawson-Harris

Many social interactions and outdoor activities are not available at this time to maintain mental health and an overall sense of well-being. Some situations could be: 

Scenario 1: Living alone and feeling lonely and isolated

Scenario 2: Working from home while spending all day long with their kids

Scenario 3: Having no choice but going out for work and feeling exhausted and worried


A journal app for self-care and mindfulness


Track Mood & Activity

  • Help visualize emotions

  • Recall things and events that make you feel this way

  • Relieve stress and feel comforted by interacting with "Kure" -- the bear


Write Down How You Feel

  • Clear mind, express thoughts and set goals

  • Use it anywhere and anytime with a password protection

  • Insert images and audio to add more meaningful details


Mood Correlation and Graphs

  • Practice mindfulness of your mental health

  • Pin-point what makes you stress, depressed, motivated, happy and etc

  • Track progress and connect with positivity to combat negative feelings


The inspiration: I enjoyed the meditative pleasure of journaling when feeling stressed. Can journaling also work well for other people? I read through online articles and blogs to understand how journaling affects mental health and how journaling tools have evolved these days based on people's needs.  

Journaling can improve mental health and make people 42% more likely to achieve their goals.


Source: The Study of the Art and Science of Goal Setting by Dr. Gail Matthews | In 2016 with the sample of 267 adults worldwide

People are switching to digital journaling:


Source: "Take Note: Journal trends to kick off the new year"  by Brooke Walker, Jan 2020

cause 1.png
cause 2.png
cause 3.png
cause 4.png


Three user personas were synthesized based on the user interviews and the insights.


Three user personas: Phoebe, Suzuko and Aakash

kure persona.png

I used the personas to help me stay anchored on the users and avoid letting my desire for features trump user needs.

My interviewees were struggling with family duties, careers, and mental health issues. They need a self-care tool to relax, reflect and remind. 


I conducted 1-on-1 interviews with 12 people ranging in age from 25-38. They were the ones who got hit by the economic turmoil of this pandemic and were practicing or had tried self-care by journaling.

Interview finding1.png
Interview finding2 (1).png
Interview finding3 (1).png


  • My interviewees preferred digital journal products so that they can access journals anywhere and anytime. 

  • Beyond expressing thoughts and feelings, my interviewees wanted to be mindful of their mood patterns to inspire life-changing actions.

  • 9 out of 12 participants would like to try a "Journal Printing Service" to keep physical journal books as memories or gifts for their loved ones. 


I found a gap in the current market in bonding the short-form digital journaling to a mood/activity tracker.



Apple Editor's Choice



Sync Social Media to Journal



Day Tracker For Non-Writers

The insights from the SWOT Analysis of the three competitors:

  • A guided structure helps people keep journaling in a quick and easy manner.

  • Some users like to integrate the journaling features with social media, such as sharing and inserting audio, stickers & pictures.

  • Daylio's mood analysis report is eye-opening: discover what makes you happy and stick with good habits.

  • Reminders or widgets show the personality of the app and can motivate users to keep up using the app.

  • They all charge a monthly subscription fee for unlimited features. How should I balance the fee and features? Some users mentioned they like the journal printing service. I would like to test it more to see if it is a feasible idea to create decent revenue.


The storyboards helped me identify key moments in the experience of Phoebe, Suzuko, and Aakash taking a break from stress and using their journal app to practice self-love.



Three storyboards based on user personas and the concept


The storyboard also revealed the key screens early in the product development process: Notebook, Print Shop, Mood Analysis, and Setting. 

Kure Sitemap
  • Key user flow: mood tracker + create a journal​

flowchart techo.png
  • Key screens on sketch paper: notebook, print store and mood analysis​


I mapped out the solution in Whimsical to help me identify key actions within the app and the screens to focus on first.

I invited three interviewees for the remote usability tests. I found it really important that I had the MVP to test with the real users to ensure the usability and functionality of the app before moving forward to the high-fidelity designs. Due to the pandemic, all the tests were remote.

  • I wanted to make sure the app users could create a new journal.

Phoebe: "Can I customize moods and activities?"

Suzuko: "I want to skip the mood and jump directly to the journal."

Create a journal.png
  • I wanted to make sure that the users could easily navigate to the print store and mood analysis.


"I like how the mood and activities are analyzed in different ways!"


"Printing out a journal and holding it in hands is rewarding! I would love to order one once I  have enough pages."

Print Store & Mood Analysis.png
  • I wanted to know which way did the users prefer when receiving a reminder -
    widget or notification?


"I'm not familiar with the app widget. Notification works for me better."


"The widget is so creative! It motivates me to keep up the string."


"I'm tired of seeing both. I might turn off both. Only use the app when I feel like doing so. "

User Setting & Reminder.png


Two major improvements were made based on the user feedback.

  • Iteration 1: Options to skip the mood tracker


"Sometimes I just want to jot down my thoughts... Recording mood and activities are tedious."


Add a skip button to skip the mood tracker, so users can quickly start writing journals. 

Options to skip the mood tracker.png
  • Iteration 2: Options to add other mood or activity


I can't find a mood or activity that fits my day. Can I customize them?


Users can enter "Other" moods and activities in the pop-up windows to better describe their day.

Instead of adding customized moods and activities to the list, I decided to only show them on the journal editing screen. By doing this, users wouldn't be overwhelmed by the growing choices in the future.

My users preferred this idea too. 

Options to add other mood or activity


  • People like a feature, but sometimes they may want to skip it for more important things. Giving them options to use in either way is the key.

  • In iteration 2, the option for adding customized moods and events gave the users flexibility to use the app. Here is the question: what if a user would like to add the specific moods or events to her common ones?  Will she/he also want to add meaningful pictures or icons to them? I could imagine the interests coming from users uploading their hand drawings to describe their moods. It is a potential direction to be tested later.


Based on the user interviews, the users would prefer a clean and soothing design to help them calm down and focus on thinking. 

Inspiration: Just like children sharing secrets with their teddy bears, adults need their comforting app too!​

I created a journal pal in the app to accompany and guide my users through the process. 

I did research in color theory to make sure I was picking the colors that represented sunshine and calmness to bring positivity out during the pandemic. 

Style guide.png


High-fidelity screens established a realistic experience to encourage useful feedback in the future.

Create a journal
Kure's 4 tabs


GIF: Kure's process of tracking mood and activities


GIF: Kure's 4 tabs -

Notebook, Print Store, Mood Insights and Me

Final product.png


Sample screens




  • Deliverables
    Designed and prototyped MVP screens illustrating the concept of an iOS mobile app; tested with 3 users. 


  • Values
    Kure Journal's concept provides value to users' mental health and the business as well, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic. If I did launch this app, I would be looking at the conversion rates.

What I would do differently

  • Due to social isolation, I couldn't meet the users in person. When observing their interactions with the app, I focused on their mobile screens and didn't pay enough attention to their facial expressions. I might miss some important reactions they had experienced. 

  • Next time, I would record both screens, ask them to say out loud more.

​What I learned

  • Often, user experience and business goals go hand in hand. 
    I tested a different way to make revenue other than the monthly subscription fee. The journal printing service brings memories from the screen to the users' hands, and my users turned out to love this idea and were interested to order one. 

Thank you for reading!  👏🏻

footer cover v3.png

Thanks for visiting!

Like what you see?

Let's chat.

bottom of page