With the focus on preventing the spread of the pandemic, there is also a focus on the development of the mental health pandemic. Caused by trauma, isolation, and loneliness, people’s mental health has worsened with the increase of anxiety and stress. Stress can cause negative feelings like fear, anger, sadness, as well as changes in attitude arises such as changes in appetite, energy, concentration, sleeping, and more. Where the mental health of the person is declining, it also causes physical health to worsen. To help alleviate such heavy feelings and tension in their minds, I created NEUM.
This project started out as a desire to explore human experience of those not only suffering through COVID-19 but also to those who may be stressed from work, school, and etc. Also, having the desire to showcase remedies outside of the Eurocentric view was an important factor in the decision of the final design. In the beginning, there was a challenge in determining which method of mediation I would pursue to design. Beauty such as face masks or more natural methods like essential oils were two different options. To solve this, I reflected on the experiences of people living in dense areas like cities where most times there is a disconnection with nature. Then the pandemic essentially amplified this disconnection through quarantine. Realizing this, I opted to include natural incense and teas, to help meditate the user and leave the body and mind clear of any unwanted thoughts.
The project grows out from an auto-ethnography research conducted done on two productivity gamification app, which could not successfully motivate me for a prolong period of time. Some reasons for this was due to the lack of engagement and feedback. It was noticeable that with little positive feedback response from both apps and building of stress due to repercussions, resulted in lower motivation to continue those tasks. This lack of satisfaction is also partly due to the weak gratification towards the incentives and lack of intrinsic motivation. The goal of this project is for users to be able to feel productive while having fun accomplishing the tasks. It is also important for the users to approach the tasks with ease. To alleviate those tensions, the app will be a friendlier alternative where they do not feel burdened by their own goals.
To alleviate any tension of not wanting to do task, the app is designed so the user can focus on one task at a time in the home page, using cards. With immediate information displayed and clean design, it makes clear what needs to be done. The goal of this app is for the users to feel intrinsic motivation, which can only be done when they continue to do the tasks purely for enjoyment. To support that goal, many elements of gamification were implemented, such as a journey map, customization of characters, group tasks, and rewards. Also, to heighten motivation, an activity page is included to show their accomplishments and progress, driving them even more to continue with their tasks. The app creates a space for individuals to test their own limits on what can be done, as well as implement positive and optimistic thoughts that they can do the tasks at hand.