We feel that mental health is often overlooked, and now that everything is so uncertain, people are finding it really difficult to cope, and we wanted to help people who are struggling.
What it does
Positinfo is an online project to help students and teachers to cope with online education and any unwanted emotions they’re struggling with in these unexpected circumstances. We plan to give anyone, who is finding the new normal in the education system difficult, an opportunity to learn how to survive and thrive, despite all the curveballs being thrown at them. It’s a website (and future app) with tutorials for using different online education and conferencing software, as well as mental health help and stress relief.
How we built it
Brainstormed - wanted a combination of education and (mental) health, then prototyped on Marvel using our personas as starting points. Everyone is feeling pressure and stress right now, and we wanted to help as many people as we could with this, which is why we decided to make it universally available via the internet. We found lots of news stories for the chatbot (from reliable sources) which we built using IBM Watson, and we played around with names and icons until we came up with “Positinfo”.
Challenges we ran into
Our first minor setback was when we realised the limits of the plan we were using on Survey Monkey, such as when we had more questions than allowed in the plan, or when we reached the maximum number of responses allowed. However, we simply merged questions together where they didn’t have to be separate, and created new copies of the survey when we reached the maximum number of responses.
We were already trying to make sure that the news we used and linked on our website was reliable and true, so as to not feed users false information and cause unnecessary alarm. However, after hearing a talk about how much fake news is circulating especially during these times, we realised just how big of an issue it is. This was really important to us since our chatbot links positive news stories or news stories about specific topics to the user, so we need to make sure the users are not being misinformed by us.
Lastly, we also wanted to make sure the data collected is not used unethically or without permission. For one, we need to make sure we follow The Data Protection Act 1998 to ensure the data is processed lawfully, stored securely, not held for longer than necessary and used only for the purpose which the user was told about. However, aside from the legal aspects, it’s also important to us that the user’s privacy is respected and that their rights are not violated.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have been really on the ball with getting the website and powerpoint done (they had been finished by the end of the second day). We also got a good reach with our survey, and got some great data which reinforced our hypotheses that motivation and productivity were lower now and stress and sadness occurred much more frequently. This strengthened our pitch.
What we learned
We learned how to use and navigate Marvel and IBM Watson in order to create a website and chatbot which we feel would benefit the user, as well as look visually appealing. We also developed our teamwork and communication skills (especially while working collaboratively online - via Discord - which we are not as used to).
What's next for Positinfo - team 23
- We would like to include a thorough set of terms and conditions to make sure that our website or app is a safe environment for the users, for example any users under 13 need their parent/guardian’s permission to create an account and sign up.
- We would also add to the chatbot. We would make it more complex so that it could answer more questions and respond to a wider range of vocabulary and input from the user, potentially being able to redirect the user to different parts of our webpage. We would also make it more visually appealing so it looks friendlier to users.
- Around 60% of our respondents said they are coping with this pandemic by doing what they love and learning new things. Therefore, future sections we could add are recipe blogs, exercise tutorials and an online chat system (which would be regulated by both human and computer moderators).
- When asked what they would want to see from our website, frequently mentioned subjects were: mental health, organisation, a reward system, games, challenges and motivational reminders tailored to each user.
- Additionally, we would have liked to create a mobile app, since market research conducted suggests that people find apps easier to navigate when on phones; We also considered trying to make an offline mode so that people can access it on the go, or just in general when they have no internet access.
(The login details for the chatbot can be provided upon request)