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Conch Shell Mental Support 

Team: 8 aspiring UX designers
Role: User research, high-fi prototype
Duration: 3 Weeks
When: Dec 2018

A mobile solution to help staff at CSMS (Conch Shell Mental Support) to better assist users who suffer from mental problems.  

Stress, a common issue among Chinese International Students

The majority of international students in the US are from China. Most of whom moved to a strange country by themselves in their puberty. On top of the turbulence of puberty itself, they deal with loneliness, cultural shock, and endure extremely high expectations on their academic performance.

A survey released in 2013 by Yale researchers found that: 


45% of Chinese international students reported symptoms of depression

29% reported symptoms of anxiety

From whom do they seek help?


who are already worried...


who have their own struggles...

School Consolers?

who are supportive but are limited  by language barriers and cultural differences 

If not, then what?

CSMS is a non-profit organization that aims to provide Chinese international students with mental support through their peers and professionals.

CSMS has been using Wechat as their platform to provide peer mental support talk sessions which allow users to chat anonymously with CSMS volunteers every night from 6-9 pm PST.

And here comes the problems...

Using Wechat as the platform has limited the spectrum of the services that CSMS can provide to the students. Currently, the concept of mental support is only focusing on the communication aspects. CSMS is now seeking a better solution to incorporate more features.


Interview & Surveys

6 interviews with stakeholders (CSMS volunteers)

40 survey answers from end-users ( international students studying abroad).

Infinity Diagram - Interviews

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Key Insights

Finding 1

Volunteers have to sign out of their personal Wechat account in order to sign into the Conch Shell account which only allows two devices to sign in to one account at the same time.


Insight 1

Volunteers need an easier and faster way to access and start their duty.

Solution - Volunteer Login & Settings

Our app product allows each volunteer to have their admin account to log in/ sign out anytime they want without time constraints to provide services to end-users.

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Finding 2

When a volunteer does not know how to reply to the user, he/she will discuss with other volunteers immediately and decide on how to reply.

Insight 2

In many cases, volunteers need to collaborate with each other during talk sessions to generate the best answers.

Solution - Collaboration

Share conversation function which invites other volunteers to invisibly observe the conversation, and talk to each other as needed.

Finding 3

Volunteers have different schedules to assist users. They wish their availability schedule can be more apparent and manageable to all stakeholders.


Insight 3

Volunteers would like to have an appointment system that allows them to manage their working time better.

Solution - Appointments

Our app product implements an appointment feature that allows the volunteers to upload/edit their working hours and allows the users to make appointments with volunteers based on their availabilities. Volunteers also have the freedom to accept and change the appointment requests made by users.

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Who are the stakeholders?


What is our user scenarios?


Which applications did we look at for inspiration?


This is how everything works!


Style Guide


Trustworthy - Communicate with the users sincerely. Guide the users with plenty of instruction, provided in easily understood ways.

Companionship - Keep the experience conversational with thoughtful content strategy. Our use of color and illustration should breathe life into the design, and allow us to communicate with users in the visual language that is welcoming and accessible.

Empowering - Address real needs with practical solutions. Reassure users of the value that they are generating and encourage them to continue to do so. Provide feedback to users for opportunities to always change for the better.

with rounds angles but not childish


pixelated or hand-drawn


White space
leave plenty for breathability and the need to not overwhelm

mid saturation to be easy on the eyes, balancing between warm tones for positivity, and cool tones for calmness



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User Flow

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Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 11.54.10


Hi-fi Prototype

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