A report by the Mental Health Foundation shows that anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness. According to the World Health Organization, 3.6% of individuals worldwide have an anxiety disorder. Although the actual causes of panic attacks and panic disorders are unclear, the possibility of having panic attacks to a larger extent is genetic. There also seems to be a connection with drastic life transitions and intense stress. Being a problem in the society, there is a need to address it at the earliest otherwise future generations could face even higher levels of panic attacks.
The motivation behind this app is to address the rising health challenges of anxiety and panic disorders to society. The app was designed for the following reasons:
- To help users track what triggers them to panic, the symptoms they experience as well as review their progress levels.
- To offer some techniques patients can practice when having a panic attack.
- To provide users with fun activities that can help them calm down and relax. Research shows that the root cause of panic attacks is stress, therefore, if a user is introduced to fun/relaxing activities, there will be minimal incidence of panic attacks.
- The world is a global village, therefore, the app will connect a user with like-minded users that are experiencing similar issues from around the world.
What it does
PanicNoter is a mobile application that allows people that suffer from panic attacks to track when they panic.
How the application works
- A user first downloads and installs the app on a mobile device.
- The user is then welcome on the PanicNoter splash screen followed by the 3 onboarding screens.
- Afterwards, the user can then sign up to use the app. An existing user can immediately sign in to use the application. Also, a user that decides not to sign up upfront can do that later.
- Upon signing up or signing in, a user then lands on the homepage.
- The homepage features 5 sections namely: Relax, Track your panic attacks, Journal, Get help and profile.
- When a user clicks on the "Relax" section, the user is redirected to the Relax page. The Relax page comprises sounds (a collection of ocean, rain, fire, animal sounds), motivational podcasts, inspirational music and movies, and games.
- When a user clicks on the "Track your panic attacks'' section, a user is redirected to a page where he/she can track panic attack symptoms. A user can check/uncheck the box that matches the degree of symptom he/she is having at the time. User has the option to view the report of each symptom or an aggregate of a selection of all the symptoms being experienced. If the symptoms are mild or moderate, a user can choose to practice some of the stress-relief techniques in the app, however, if the symptoms are severe, the user can dial an emergency number or seek the help of a therapist.
- A user is redirected to the journal page once the "journal section" is clicked on. The user has a notepad section to write down information. This section gives the user the option to spend time evaluating his/her past entries to ascertain what causes him/her to panic. This will help the user to understand the strategies that helped to cope with symptoms.
- A user gets redirected to the Get help page once the "Get help" section is clicked on the homepage. The get help page contains articles about panic attacks. Knowledge is power, hence learning about the problem will allow the user to be aware of how to handle the situation when things go wrong. On this page, the user can find things to do when he/she panics, the user has an option to speak to a therapist, a user can join the community as well as find events that are happening nearby.
- When a user clicks on the "profile" section, he/she is redirected to the profile page. On the profile page, a user has the ability to receive notifications, invite friends, get help, give feedback as well as sign out from the app.
How we built it
The app was designed by applying the following design thinking process below. Basically, the Double Diamond UX process was implemented in this project. This involves (a) research and (b) design The research part involved the discovery stage (focusing on the user challenge) and the define stage (identify the area to focus on), the design part involved the develop stage (work on potential solutions) and the deliver stage (deliver the solutions that work). For the research part, I conducted research to understand what challenges people suffering from panic attacks encounter. In the course of my research, I came to empathize with those suffering from panic attacks, considering the fact that it can happen to anyone. Based on my research findings, I decided to focus on the aspect of panic attack. In my attempt to work on potential solutions, I developed an Information Architecture, a wireframe and a prototype.
Challenges we ran into
The major challenge I faced during this project was time. Because I only knew about the project 3 days to the deadline and coupled with the fact that I had other tasks/deadlines to meet up with, it was difficult for me to conduct an extensive research on the topic, conduct a thorough competitive analysis of the industry and conduct user testing.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Designing a working prototype with a short timeframe, which can be handed over to developers for actual development of the functioning product.
What we learned
Persistency, determination and focus are important for achieving one's goals. If I didn't exhibit these traits, I wouldn't have come up with this prototype within a very short notice despite the pressures & challenges. I also learned that life is so precious and we must strive to live a healthier life.
What's next for PanicNoter mobile application
The next iteration of the PanicNoter project is for me to conduct an extensive study of the industry, users as well user testing. The app will be developed and made available on Google store, Apple store for public use.