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Acceset

We believe in inspiring individuals to accept Care and reset Lives

Overview

Acceset’s got you if you need a listening ear from a non-judgmental person in the comfort of home.

Acceset (acce(pt) + (re)set, pronounced as asset) is a start-up that focuses on providing emotional support to (primarily) youth in distress by means of a trained volunteer attending to them via a digital letter-exchange platform.

The Challenge

For this pro bono client project, the challenge was modifying the existing product, meant for youth, to cater to the emotional needs of a different target audience - working professionals. Apart from targeting working professionals who would potentially seek emotional support, also known as Seekers, we also modified the site for a second group of target users - working professionals who might be interested in volunteering to provide emotional support, known in Acceset as Befrienders.

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Hi, I'm a Seeker. I would go on to Acceset's site to seek emotional and mental health support by writing a letter to pen my thoughts and feelings down.

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Hi, I'm a Befriender. I volunteer my time to respond to letters sent by Seekers to provide emotional support to them and to allow them to feel heard in their distress.

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Role

UX Research Lead, UI Designer 

I led the user research to discover the needs of working adults when seeking support for issues related to mental health.

The insights gathered allowed for the team to provide more depth in the product by restructuring the content and creating additional visuals to curate a better experience for potential Seekers.

 

I also worked on improving the UI of the site by upgrading the visuals and doing a revamp of the current outlook of the site to mature it.

Design Tools

Figma, Adobe Illustrator

Duration

3 Weeks

User Research

What would working professionals look out for when seeking mental health services and support online? What are some frustrations experienced by them?

Owing to the nature of the project, we intentionally looked for specific groups of people who would most likely visit Acceset’s site. This includes working professionals who might seek emotional support and working professionals who have experience providing peer support.

Existing Befrienders

5

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5 Females

0 Males

Age

Below 20

20 - 29

 

Above 50

2 Users

2 Users

1 User

Seekers

14

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12 Females

2 Males

Age

20 - 29

 

30 - 39 

6 Users

8 Users

Interviews were conducted with:

User Insights

"It’s not easy seeking mental health support in Singapore. Finding someone to speak to who is a good fit is particularly difficult."

The insights from the user interviews conducted revealed that when seeking mental health support, users do experience some barriers of entry owing to the stigmatisation that comes with seeking mental health support. More prominently, it is not easy to find the someone of the right fit when seeking help and this often ends up in trial and error. To this, Seekers expressed that they would prefer to have some information about the person they would be speaking to, to ascertain if he or she would be a good fit for them.

"I think I would want to know whether the organisation is reputable before deciding if I should engage with them.”

As working professionals, credibility and trust in the organisation came up as an important deciding factor as to whether to engage the organisation or not. This was the case for both Seekers and Befrienders.

Since Seekers Preferred Some Disclosure from Befrienders...

We decided to delve a little deeper into this to find out the sentiments of current Befrienders with respect to having to divulge some details about themselves to Seekers as opposed to remaining completely anonymous to them.

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“I am open to including a short write-up about myself if this helps seekers relate a bit better to me during our engagement.”

User Needs 

Here is a quick summary of the needs of the two respective types of users that would visit Acceset's site, based on the insights we derived.
 

Seeker
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  • Anonymity
  • Looking for right fit
  • Need to know credibility of organisation
  • Need to know credibility of organisation
  • Details and requirements of volunteering opportunity is important
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Befriender

Framing the Problem

"Users need to be convinced of an organisation’s credibility before they opt to offer their service.”

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"Users need access to mental health care and emotional support that is responsive to their needs.”

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What is Currently Happening

Mental health care is not a one-size fits all approach. We need to increase the entry points to allow for accessiblity of mental health care.

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Currently, the flow of Seekers on Acceset is as such:

 

To provide more entry points, we propose this userflow instead:
 

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Seekers now have three alternative ways to navigate through Acceset based on their needs and preferences.

Designing the Solution

a. How might we enhance the credibility of the service and gain audience trust to use the service?

After mulling over the insights gathered from the user research, we proceeded to design the solutions with a focus on four primary areas:

 

1. Content Design

Conveying effective meaning through content is essential in allowing users to gain trust in service. After all, how can one trust what they do not know? We came up with three steps to work on to improve the current content design.

 

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Educate

- Organise information

- Add & repeat information

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Clarify

- Succinct Language

- Simplified Content

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Standardise

- Call to action

- Terminology

2. Information Organisation

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Optimise

- Top of mind awareness

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Prioritise

- Review of existing features

- Creation of new features to include in redesign

3. Visual Design & Brand Voice

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Reinforcing the Brand Colours

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Orange represents Befrienders

Being the core of Acceset. Represents the people with heart to make a difference in others’ life.

Teal represents Seekers

Accepting care, revolving around the befrienders.

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Using Visual Design to Convey Meaning

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I designed these route maps to allow users to better understand how their respective journeys on Acceset could look like.

Personalisation of Avatars

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With Acceset's existing visuals, I designed more avatars to allow users to be able to personalise an avatar that would represent them more. The deeper intention behind this was to also drive home the message that anyone (people of different ages, sizes and colour) might require mental health support sometimes, and that's okay.

b. How might we enable users to communicate their support needs so they can be connected to suitable support?

Responsivity to user's individual needs was an important factor that we came to realise. This meant including a way to tailor user's preferences based on what they needed at any point in time. Having said that, we still had to remain focused on certain features we felt would add the most value. 
 

4. Prioritisation of features

Feature

Skip to

"Write a Letter"

Dashboard

Profile Preferences

Befriender Profiles

Priority

High

High

High

Low

Description

Allow Seekers to skip the sign up process by bringing them directly to Write a Letter page.

Personal Dashboard for Seekers where they can customise by saving their favourite quotes, letters from Befrienders and any inspiration that comes to mind.

Seekers are guided through a step-by-step process to set up and customise their accounts. Includes Progress Bar, “Level of Care” Slider and Befriender Preference.

Profile includes Befrienders’ short introduction, years active on platform, number of letters written (responsiveness) and their specialisation.

Reason

Seekers want the option to write a letter immediately and explore the feature before creating an account.

Allow Seekers to customise their experience on Acceset.

Allow Seekers to customise their experience on Acceset.

Allow Seekers to find the Befriender who meet their emotional support needs.

To address Seeker's needs of finding a good fit as well as seeking specialised services for their needs, we chose to:

a. Consider allowing Seekers to write letters before signing up for an account

b. Allowing Seekers to select Befrienders based on shared experiences

c. Seekers to customise their own experience on Acceset by means of a personalised Seeker dashboard

d. Curate an onboarding experience for new Seekers

From Paper to Pixel

We collaboratively birthed some amazing ideas during our design studio as evident from our sketches shown below.
 

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And so we brought these designs to life.

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The Final Product

As per any design process, iterations were part and parcel of producing our final product. We took the feedback given by our users during two rounds of usability tests to improve and refine our initial modifications.

Reflection & Next Steps

This project opened my eyes to the many ways that mental health support can be rendered. Even with my clinical experience gained during my days as a counsellor, the concept of digitising mental health support is still quite a novel concept. Though of course, with the pandemic, we have been forced to revolutionise the way we do things - what was once normal is no longer. I am grateful to have been given this chance to explore how we can creatively provide a human touch to human services that cannot be "humanly rendered" and to broaden my understanding and appreciation of what constitutes "emotional support".

For the next steps for this project, it would be exciting to consider delving into more research to find out whether there could be a larger group of individuals who would be keen to explore volunteering with Acceset as a Befriender to continue expanding the boundaries and reach of Acceset as a mental health support platform and to further expand and scale up on the Befriender matching feature that we explored briefly in this project.

Kudos to the rest of the team

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