The World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that, by 2030, depression is going to be the number one cause of global disability.
In August 2015, we launched the first version of Moodnotes – a CBT-based journaling app we created together with Thriveport, the LA-based company responsible for the popular MoodKit app. Our collective aim was to help improve mental wellbeing by using CBT techniques adapted for mobile usage.
Of all the sectors we operate in, digital health represents arguably the biggest opportunity to make a large and lasting positive impact. The goal for Moodnotes is to provide people with accessible, engaging, and evidence-informed tools to increase self-awareness, improve mood, and enhance wellbeing.
At launch, with the app featured prominently in the App Store and across a range of press outlets, we went to number one on the Health and Fitness paid charts, and quickly collected over 15K users. Since then, we’ve seen consistently higher than average conversion rates on the App Store.
Building on this initial enthusiasm, continued downloads and a high user-retention rate has further validated the value of Moodnotes. At the start of 2017, Moodnotes has a community of 10K monthly active users, with many using the product daily. Our user-centered design approach has been instrumental – user reviews and feedback have been our inspiration and guide, especially when it came to launching Moodnotes 2.0, our major update one year after the initial release.
Our continued collaboration with CBT experts is also foundational to Moodnotes sustained success. Through convening the right team, with Thriveport’s clinical psychologist founders, Dr. Drew Erhardt and Dr. Edrick Dorian and a group of user-centred product designers at ustwo, we have been able to bring scientifically credible content, excellent design and user-focused thinking to digital health. We understand that finding the right kind of partnership is the key to creating truly useful and sustainable products which meet unmet user needs.
Minimum lovable product
One of the reasons we’re committed to launching our own ventures is to truly feel and understand the commercial pressures of our clients. We kept our ambition with Moodnotes laser-focused – to design, build and test a minimum viable product with a unique value proposition to launch in the market within 10 weeks.
Our product vision helped frame our thinking from the outset:
To create a smart journaling tool to help people develop healthier thinking habits.
This statement became the focus for every feature we generated and every decision we made about the application. Through continual rounds of product development, user validation and learning we co-created an experience which benefits people not only when they’re feeling down, but also when they’re feeling up. At each stage, Edrick and Drew helped to keep us on course to create an app that was tailored to improving people’s thinking habits and emotional health.
Our intention was to design an experience that addressed both positive and negative moments, and not just another ‘happy app’. Our goals for the product were simple:
- Help people to become more aware of their moods
- Help people identify which thinking traps they are falling into
- Facilitate an experience which helps people develop more positive thinking habits
There is a great duty of care with anything health- related. So before taking the app to market we wanted to carry out a beta trial to get additional feedback and double-check some of our assumptions. With a few tweets we were able to invite 500 people onto our trial. Out of the 1500 people who saw our landing page, 500 signed up to be part of the trial – a conversion metric that gave us further confidence in the proposition we’d created. Analytics allowed us to measure usage of the app features within our trial group and we were able to see that our retention rate was good (52% after the second week). Qualitative research helped us to understand our user needs further – their feedback shaped our prioritisation of the backlog prior to launch.
Working fast to get a product out into the wild and in the hands of real users is always exciting – it’s the users who ensure we’re making the right decisions and spending our time creating the right features which meet their needs.
A multitude of apps compete daily for people’s attention, but Moodnotes gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself. It empowers people to take control of their emotional health and mental wellbeing and this, for us, is the biggest reward that Moodnotes offers.