We wanted to create a convenient, modernized journaling application with methods and components that are backed by science. Our spin on the readily available journal logging application is our take on the idea of awareness itself. What does it mean to be aware? What form or shape can mental health awareness come in? These were the key questions that we were curious about exploring, and we wanted to integrate this idea of awareness into our application. The “awareness” approach of the journal functions by providing users with the tools to track and analyze their moods and thoughts, as well as allowing them to engage with the visualizations of the journal entries to foster meaningful reflections.
What it does
Our product provides a user-friendly platform for logging and recording journal entries and incorporates natural language processing (NLP) to conduct sentiment analysis. Users will be able to see generated insights from their journal entries, such as how their sentiments have changed over time.
How we built it
Our front-end is powered by the ReactJS library, while our backend is powered by ExpressJS. Our sentiment analyzer was integrated with our NodeJS backend, which is also connected to a MySQL database.
Challenges we ran into
Creating this app idea under such a short period of time proved to be more challenge than we anticipated. Our product was meant to comprise of more features that helped the journaling aspect of the app as well as the mood tracking aspect of the app. We had planned on showcasing an aggregation of the user's mood over different time periods, for instance, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. And on top of that, we had initially planned on deploying our web app on a remote hosting server but due to the time constraint, we had decided to reduce our proof-of-concept to the most essential cores features for our idea.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Designing and building such an amazing web app has been a wonderful experience. To think that we created a web app that could potentially be used by individuals all over the world and could help them keep track of their mental health has been such a proud moment. It really embraces the essence of a hackathon in its entirety. And this accomplishment has been a moment that our team can proud of. The animation video is an added bonus, visual presentations have a way of captivating an audience.
What we learned
By going through the whole cycle of app development, we learned how one single part does not comprise the whole. What we mean is that designing an app is more than just coding it, the real work starts in showcasing the idea to others. In addition to that, we learned the importance of a clear roadmap for approaching issues (for example, coming up with an idea) and that complicated problems do not require complicated solutions, for instance, our app in simplicity allows for users to engage in a journal activity and to keep track of their moods over time. And most importantly, we learned how the simplest of ideas can be the most useful if they are thought right.
What's next for Mood for Thought
Making a mobile app could have been better, given that it would align with our goals of making journaling as easy as possible. Users could also retain a degree of functionality offline. This could have also enabled a notification feature that would encourage healthy habits.
More sophisticated machine learning would have the potential to greatly improve the functionality of our app. Right now, simply determining either positive/negative sentiment could be a bit vague.
Adding recommendations on good journaling practices could have been an excellent addition to the project. These recommendations could be based on further sentiment analysis via NLP.