The product that helps deal with anxiety.

Product Overview

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Solace is a mobile app with a niche approach to dealing with anxiety that is offered to young adults in Finland.


The app is available inside the official private healthcare providers’ online platform.


The app is available in English and in Finnish. The project is conducted together with the Finnish healthcare authorities.


Objective and Task

Develop an app that will be solely focusing on coping with anxiety, solving problems of young English speakers in Finland. The approach to anxiety management should be systematic and wholistic, hence there will be multiple services.


Calm, Headspace, Sanvello, Mindshift, BetterHelp, Happify

Key Metrics for the launch

1. Acquisition

Conversion rate
Drop offs 

2. Retention

Active users

3. Technical

Unresponsive user interactions

4. User Experience

Rage taps
UI freezes
User journeys

Design Process


Secondary research

Market research

Competitor analysis

Hypotheses, research questions

Interviewing users


Pains and problems  Motivations and needs


Priotitising problems




"How might we"

Prioritising ideas


Information architecture


User flows


Low-fi designs

High-fi designs

Interactive prototypes


Usability testing

Implementing feedback

Stage 1. Empathise

When I dive into the research, first I need understand project requirements and what problem I am trying to solve. I do the problem/idea validation, confirming if the problem that the business wants to solve actually exists by going through the previously collected and analysed quantitive data.


Then I do market research and competitor analysis. Also at this stage I communicate with the stakeholders to collect all the requirements, business goals, and limitations.

Problem research

In Finland there is the highest estimated incidence of mental disorders in the EU, close to 1 in 5 are affected. Anxiety disorder is the second common mental health problem after depression. Among people suffering from anxiety in Finland 70% are young adults.


Moreover, according to official population statistics, there are 8% of foreigners from the total population, and it keeps growing steadily. Based on the data I've gotten from the healthcare authorities I can confirm that the problem is common and relevant.


On top of that, the project has been kicked off during covid-19, so the problem of coping with anxiety is more relevant than ever.

Market and competitor analysis

There are some apps that provide mood tracking, online psychotherapists, meditation and so on. The niche approach to dealing with anxiety in a very targeted way for a particular age group is not common. Also, there is no certified and trustworthy platform available in Finland in English.

There are some apps that provide mood tracking, online psychotherapists, meditation and so on. The niche approach to dealing with anxiety in a very targeted way for a particular age group is not common. Also, there is no certified and trustworthy platform available in Finland in English.


I formulate the list of hypotheses and prioritise them. I divide the hypotheses into different categories based risk vs high perceived value. My goal is to find the hypotheses with the highest potential to be confirmed during the qualitative research. Based on the hypotheses I formulate the interview questions.

Some of my initial hypotheses: 

A person who suffers from anxiety often limits their communication circles.

A person who suffers from anxiety doesn’t know that it’s caused by physiological processes in the brain that malfunction and that this can be treated.

People with anxiety disorder have their own practices when dealing with anxiety symptoms.

The majority of people who suffer from anxiety first of all consider meditation or breathing techniques.

Tracking daily events will help people who suffer from anxiety to understand the reasons for certain feelings and emotions.

When a person has a possibility to track progress he strives to achieve better results.

People who suffer from anxiety often go to see a doctor only when they can’t manage on their own.

Qualitative research: Interviews

To understand the problem and the context I need to conduct qualitative research. But before that I create a short screening survey to limit the pool of potential respondents.

Then it's the time to dive into the potential user interviews.

My key goals for the interview:

Who our potential user is; what their problems and pains are.

What their current experience coping with anxiety is.

People with anxiety disorder have their own practices when dealing with anxiety symptoms.

What their motivations and needs are, and what barriers they have in 

Interview analysis

After the interviews I translate the respondents’ answers into the text form. Then I formulate the patterns and insights and place onto the digital sticky notes.

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Stage 2. Define.

After I've made a list of insights and patterns, I analyse and place on separate digital stickers what pains and problems the users experience, what their motivations and needs are. I need to understand the user even more.

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Prioritising problems

I organise workshops with the Product Management team in order to scope and prioritise the problems, as well as to present the rest of the team with my research findings.

How do we choose which problems to solve? What kind of work to do for the users? To do this we need to prioritise all the information that I’ve received and structured. We use Two-Factor Analysis approach to prioritise problems.

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Jobs To Be Done

Now I move to the next stage of analysing the interviews within the framework of JTBD.
This framework allows to structure the information obtained from the interviews and compress it into a one-sentence format. It is done to clearly understand what each interview was about, compare them and find common patterns in the interviews I’ve conducted.

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Stage 3. Ideate.

Now that we’ve decided which problems we will be focusing on solving it’s time to ideate. I try to involve other team members into the ideation stage when possible. Ideation is about the rapid generation of many different ideas. We use the Ideation stage to:

Find a large number of solutions

Choose which specific solutions to concentrate on

Work through them and understand which of them would be more beneficial than others

Prioritise which solutions will go to implementation

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Prioritising ideas

After generating many ideas and choosing the winners, together with Product Manager we prioritise these ideas using the Two-Factor Analysis. 


First of all, we will focus on ideas that solve the users’ problem well and we can easily implement. As a result we get a prioritised list of tasks, according to which we will work in the first version of our product.

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Stage 4. Prototype.

After I’ve done the mind map to understand all the connections and the information architecture, I move onto the creation of the user flows and the low-fi prototype. At this stage I involve the development team into the planning process to understand the feasibility of preliminary features.

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Stage 5. Test.

I do the usability testing with low-fi prototypes to see if the users understand the logic and the flows that I have created are easy for them to use. I make changes to the logic if needed and then I create high-fidelity mockups and test again.

When the high-fidelity prototypes are successfully tested the project moves to implementation.

Login Experince

Minimalistic login experience with the focus on what's important. Information input flow is divided into small steps for user's attention focus. The primary button (interactive element) is as big as possible to emphasise call to action. UI elements seem to be tangible, even though they are behind the glass screen. To overcome that mental gap I added a change colour animation on click, that represents the result of direct manipulation.

User Interface

Pop-up Windows


Competitor analysis and user research indicated that the extra effort was needed in UX writing. The tone of voice had to be supportive, positive and friendly, giving a relaxed, safe and trustworthy feeling that one would get talking to a friend.

The product-to-user communication is the core of this app. User flows have several pop-up windows, reminding that the app cares and exists in order to help.

Mood Slider

Mood states are presented as a funny minimalistic illustrations and each mood change is also indicated with the background colour change. A combination of image and colour is the fastest and easiest way for the user to reflect on feelings.


User research showed that for 87% of the respondents it was difficult to differentiate their feelings when there are more than 5 options, making them spend time thinking, increasing the anxious feeling. (A perfect example of Hick's Law).

Activities and Feelings


User research showed the icons need titles for clarity, as users tended to interpret icons differently. A need to create your own was also discovered during the user testing.

Activities and feelings screens are presented as a grid of icons with titles for clarity. There's also a possibility to add your own option, providing the user with as much freedom to reflect on their day in as much detail as possible.

Summary Screen

There's an option to take a photo/attach image to make the journaling experience as convenient and detailed as possible. Where there's an image feature there's a voice feature! . 


Competitor research indicated that attaching files is commonly used. User research proved the necessity of attaching images.

Home Screen

Minimalistic screen with no distractions. The centre point of the screen is mood graph, that helps the user see their mood changes right away when they open the app.
S.O.S button is the key feature as well, it gets user's attention right away because of the usage of the negative space that clearly separates it from the rest of the screen content. 


According to user research, the most important features were the way to reflect on their feelings and emotions and be able to monitor progress. Also, an immediate relief for anxiety was needed.


A interactive left tab menu is convenient for navigation. A familiar interface for a music player.

Stats and Insights


User research showed that people would prefer to complete short and easy-to-follow exercises rather than read articles.

Dashboard and stats screen  an incredibly important part of the mental health app in order to get results people need to have a possibility to monitor their interactions with the app.



An important insight found during user research: for some users it was important to discuss their problems and progress in the app directly with their therapists.

There are 2 options for the chat: one-on-one and group chat. As mentioned earlier the app isn't restricting the user in any means and ways of communicating. There are 2 easy alternatives, making the chatting experience suitable for everyone.



User research established that the S.O.S. function should open in a separate screen. If there were any other elements on the screen the users couldn't focus.

Exercise that's easy to follow due to the help and communication from the app. Minimalistic design allows users to focus on the circle and clear their mind.

Gamification and Settings


User research proved that it's important to allow users to include custom notifications. Some kind of their own motivational, encouraging, calming messages (as they are very personal to everyone).

Points and rewards system introduces the feature of gamification. It's a good way to develop a habit for the new users and make users communicate with the app regularly. The app not only helps solve users' problem, but also provides an additional satisfaction by rewarding their efforts. 
The app strives to achieve a friendly and individually tailored connection with each user.