After asking some of our friends studying overseas, we came to the conclusion that home-sickness is a prevalent feeling, especially in the initial few months since moving overseas. The widespread lockdown in the foreign countries only served to worsen mental health. We want to build a solution to allay this problem.

What it does

Project Relax is a web application, that has 3 main features.

Firstly, a mood journal. This provides a platform to pen down the user's thoughts. Writing down one's emotion is a form of catharsis and we strive to provide a welcoming platform to do so. This feature is coupled with Analytics, where the user can track their mood and thoughts over time. In addition, our program hopes to predict user's moods during certain periods of the month, redesigning the platform to suit the user's current emotions.

Secondly, a newsfeed of positive news about Singapore. Based on our research, our friends mentioned that reading heart-warming local news does at tug their heart strings and made them feel more viscerally connected to Singapore. We provided just that. We placed an added emphasis on light-hearted articles to lift the user's spirit whenever they are down and missing home.

Lastly, an emotion checker cum helpline. Emotions are confusing, they are influenced by an array of intangible factors. With the hustle and bustle of overseas life, our user's might not have the luxury of time to sit down and reflect on their inner thoughts. Our emotion checker provides a sensing of the user's current mood and some resources to help them cope. We researched existing measures that were in place to curb mental health issues. To our surprise, they were uninviting and felt unapproachable. We rethought the process and came up with an alternative to providing such help. This is through taking a short survey and with the results, we will generate a list of resources (hotlines and organisations) that would serve useful to the user.

How we built it

The amalgamation of our ideas was first built on Figma and we set up a wireframe for the skeleton of the user flow. Following, we used html, css, and javascript to build a web application of some of the features such as the mood journal and mood checker. Google Sheets was a crude substitute for our Backend and database, but it provided the necessary functionality we desired. For our analytics, we built the dashboard with Google Data Studio. We hosted our web app on Netlify and CI/CD pipelines to deploy and test new versions of the web app.

Challenges we ran into

Our biggest obstacle was the balancing between deep-diving into functionality and design. Time was a scarce resource and we wanted our web app to be dynamic and scalable. However, that would be at the expense of building a more user-friendly and aesthetic app. After much discussion, we were better able to prioritise our tasks and find a compromise between the two.

Another issue we faced was the lack of tests to gain feedback on our prototypes. After having a chat with our mentor Kimberly, we realised the importance of having real world data to back our ideas and solutions. The added insight would definitely prove useful if we had the time to curate it.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Despite the pressing timeframe, we managed to push out a working prototype of some of our main features. This is attributed to our organisation skills and task allocation -- a divide and conquer system. We also did a lot of learning on the go, which was not an easy task. Interacting with our complete wireframe on Figma also gave us a huge sense of accomplishment!

What we learned

One takeaway from Codefiesta is that we learnt the process of design thinking, about walking the user's journey, discovering pain points, using first principle thinking and ultimately creating a relevant product. In Ideation Sink or Swim, we were introduced to the philosophy of product management which was unfamiliar territory to us. We were also greatly inspired by the 2 guest speakers and strive to be like them in the future.

Another takeaway is the embracing the idea of a growth mindset. MVP is a buzzword thrown around in the start up industry but we did not truly comprehend the weight of that phrase. It was only until the guest speaker Joshua shared about failing fast, quick testing and locating features to improve accordingly that we understood the concept.

What's next for Project Relax

Of course, we hope to be able to build this project with GovTech. With the mentorship, expertise and resources from the professionals at GovTech, we hope to apply AI and ML capabilities to some of our features such as the Emotion Checker and the Mood Journal to cater a more personalised experience for our fellow Singaporeans overseas. One example is sending quote notifications based on their general mood -- forlorn users will get more sentimental quotes. Question prompts in the journaling section will also adapt based on the general sentiment of the user.

We are bursting with more ideas that we wish to implement! Changing up the social media scene, we want to add a feature of sharing audio recordings online, where users can anonymously listen to other's inner thoughts and feelings.

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