Poz

Design, development, and launch of a mindful journaling app

Overview

Present

What is Poz?

Poz is an iOS app to promote mindful journaling. Poz was published to the Apple app store mid-April, and is completely free to download.

What was my role?

I designed and developed Poz from scratch in 2021, taking the product from idea to the Apple App Store. This project transpired during one of my Creative Computing courses at SMU where students were given full range to pursue any coding project.

Video Walkthrough

Project Duration: 

Feb 2021

-

Apr 2021

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

paragraph with bold

Text Link

Quote Block
  • List item
  • List item 2
  1. Numbered List Text Link
  2. Numbered List item 2
Hi

Context

In early 2020, the world was hit hard by an infectious disease known as COVID-19.

People all aroung the world were forced into quarantine and the world was changed forever.

As a result, the retail industry took an extraordinary hit.

Sales were down due to consumer concerns of contracting the virus, and consumers were forces to navigate unknown territories.

63%

of shoppers were at some point fearful to shop at grocery stores in 2020.

(C+R Research, 2020)

80%

of Americans have yet to return to their pre-COVID levels of comfort about everyday out-of-the-house activities

(McKinsey, 2020)

+15,500

stores closed in the U.S. in 2020 due to global pandemic.

(Forbes, 2020)

The existing website was frustrating customers and obstructing their ability to purchase.

Having fielded many complaints and spend enough money trying to mitigate its issues, the owner felt it was time to upgrade the website.

Thus, the owner met with two budding UX Designers to redesign his website.

Why create Poz?

At the time of building this, I was a third year Creative Computing and Psychology student at SMU with two major interests

  • UX Design
  • Mindfulness

I brought these passions together to create Poz, a mobile iOS app to make mindful journaling easy.

Just help one person

My aim was not to make a viral app nor to was it to get everyone on Earth journaling (though that'd be nice!), I simply wanted to create a tool that I myself could use to build a journaling habit. So for Poz to be a success, it simply needed to work for me. By keeping the core user as myself, I could ensure the app was actually solving a problem.

Hypothesis

Tangibility of a real journal + Convenience of a digital journal = 😇

If Poz can effectively capture the elements of a real life life journal, such as the pages, chronological structure, and simple interface, while incorporating the flexibility of a digital medium, users will be much more likely to maintain a daily journaling practice.

Research

Validating that journaling is actually beneficial

A bit of scholarly research validated my personal experience of the benefits of journaling. In recent years multiple studies have been published showing that taking a few moments to document your thoughts and mood has visible effects on our mental and physical health. These effects include:

Understanding the needs

I didn't want Poz to be just another journaling app. To accomplish this, I spoke with several individuals who had at least somewhat of an interest in journaling, asking about their attitudes and behaviors around journaling. To synthesize the findings of these conversations, I created personas to capture the breadth of needs and use cases Poz would need to solve for.

Mapping the flow

Journeys for avid and lay journalers

Pain points to design for

  • Most people want to journal and understand the benefits, but they cite a lack of discipline as a roadblock
  • Similar to journaling, people understand mindfulness but don't have the time or discipline to engage in it regularly
  • Digital journaling usually is too complex, and isn't conducive to reflection/introspection
  • Staying accountable with a real-life journal is challenging

40%

of customers are corporate entities

34%

of customers only buy 1 item

35%

of customers will call and ask for help, either in finding a product or while checking out

$300

spent per purpose (on average)

Challenge

How might we promote consistent mindful journaling?

Define

Initial idea

Beginning with some very rough wireframes, I imagined how Poz may attempt to solve some of the pain points identified. This original solution included

  • breathing
  • mood rating
  • journaling via text, photo, audio, and video
  • statistics
Preliminary wireframe - 2/1/21

Designing while developing

Since this was my first time actually coding and iOS app, part of the design exploration involved trying things out with code to see what was actually possible. Thus a back and forth commenced between designing some feature, trying to code it, and then finding some middle ground between there to implement. Below are some of the intermediary designs that came from this phase.

Creating an MVP

Throughout the process of iteratively designing and developing, due to both technical constraints and UX concerns, many features were excluded, some highlighted, and others marked as post-MVP. The features that made the cut included

  • Rich journaling, in a linear notebook-like interface (like an eBook or Kindle)
  • Ability to personalize the journal
  • Ability to set a daily goal, and monitor journaling progress

Design

A well-designed MVP

What was ultimately shipped was an app that focused on simple, functional, and personalized journaling. Rather than go for fancy features and designs that would take longer to implement, I narrowed the scope of Poz, at least for the MVP, to the screens below

Before

After

Testing

Develop

Coded from scratch

I coded the app from scratch using SwiftUI. This was my first time using Swift, and even coding a mobile app, so there were enormous amounts of limitations/roadblocks in terms of development. The final product that is available on the app store is very much an MVP

Check out the code on github

Conclusion

Shipped live to the app store

In April 2021, Poz was published to the app store, and is publicly available to download on all iOS devices.

View Poz in the App Store

~ 250+ downloads as of April 2022

It helps (at least) one person

I actively use Poz every day to document my thoughts, check in with myself, and reflect on my state of mind. Above all other goals and metrics, this was my main objective for Poz, so to that end Poz is a success!

In addition, it seems that multiple others have also benefited from Poz, citing it as a more fun and simple way to take notes/journal.

Work in progress

Poz is very much a work in progress, meaning that if you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions - let me know! Any input is appreciated and will likely help shape the future of the app.