January 28 - February 8, 2024
Online therapy is becoming popular, and it's a good thing that more people are doing the inner work to help improve themselves. But something missing is a way for members of the latino community to connect with therapists who come from a similar experience and culture.
I named this app, "Colita de Rana"because if you grew up Hispanic, your mom likely chanted this to you when you scraped your knee:
"Sana Sana, Colita de Rana
Si no se sana hoy, sanará mañana."
Translated literally, it means:
"Heal heal, tail of the frog.
If it doesn't heal today, it will heal tomorrow."
But just translating it from English to Spanish isn't the same as actually experiencing and understanding the culture. That's why it's important for us to be able to connect to mental health specialists who understand our experiences and culture. There's also a stigma in the Latino community about seeking therapy, and I'm hoping having a way to connect to latino therapists would help ease those considering therapy and make it feel more accessible.
Lead UX designer and UX researcher.
User research, Wireframing, Design, Prototyping
I used remote unmoderated usability testing, by sending the prototype to 5 local participants to go through on their own time and provide feedback on their experience. I also did in person moderated usability testing with 5 different users in Detroit. The participants shed light on areas for improvement in the user journey and usability of the app.
User Pain Points
Users wanted a way to log into the app, message their therapists, and access documents + reading from prior sessions. Users wanted an in-app way to connect with their therapists; message and call them, without using an outside source like Google Meet. Having this available in the same app they can access their documents and important info adds convenience and ease for usability.
Sol is first generation, born to two immigrant parents from Argentina. While a blessing, this comes with struggles unique to this kind of situation. She needs a therapist who understands what she's going through; all to help her make sense of her past and possibly even understand the world her parents come from. She's specifically looking for a therapist from the Latino community.
Education Level: Bachelors
Hometown: Pacoima, CA
Family: Mom, dad, little sister, 1 nephew, and 2 dogs
Occupation: Nursing assistent
"I can't even imagine how hard it must've been for my parents come to a strange new land where they don't know anyone- not even the language."
Needs to unpack the very specific experience of growing up with two cultures and figure out where she belongs
Wants to get to know herself better and where she comes from
Her parents wanted her to assimilate to make life easier, but she's lost touch with her culture and background
She clashes with her parents because they come from wildly different experiences and worlds
I recruited participants in Detroit to an in person moderated usability test for the lo-fi prototype. I asked users to think out loud so that I can understand their thought process. This way, I was able to identify problems early on.
The following is what I looked out for while observing users:
How long does it take for users to accomplish tasks?
Are there any parts where the users are getting stuck?
Is the app easy and intuitive for the user?
They want to be able to further personalize preferences
Happy with ability to filter for qualities in a therapist
Ability to confirm successful completion of task
Keeping in mind the needs of those with different abilities and needs, you'll end up finding solutions that help a wide range of the diverse human population.
Overcome language barriers
The app is bilingual; there's a switch on every page to translate from English to Spanish and vice versa. This also helps children of immigrants who weren't taught Spanish but would like some practice; they can switch back and forth between language
Iconography - used whenever possible, to further overcome any present language barriers.
Intake questionnaire (user flow after "create an account)
The questionnaire helps the user get matched with the right therapist. However, there's a "skip" button to allow users to skip it for any reason. For survivors of trauma, it may not be helpful to work through it without a therapist- so I've provided an option to skip it if it's not helpful to them and their experience.
Descriptive copy on buttons
Using simple-to-understand copy is not only a good accessibility practice but a good UX practice. It helps those who use English as a second language, it's good for those who use screen readers. It's also helpful in responsive design; on smaller screens the text would have to wrap, so I keep that in mind hen writing brief descriptive copy efficiently. I also keep screen readers in mind, and that the copy on my buttons should be clear enough to be helpful to someone using a screen reader.
Design using as few columns as possible
Every device now has a “Dynamic Type” feature that allows users to adjust the size of text displayed on the screen. The visually impaired use this feature, as well as those who see perfectly fine but prefer larger text. I kept font scaling in mind, the risk of having a broken design when a user interface includes too many columns. So I made sure to not use more than three columns on my screens.
Users found it easy and straightforward to navigate the app. Some users had way too much fun switch back and forth between Spanish and English.
This is a pet project of mine. I read psychology on the side, since it's one of my passions. And being first generation born of immigrants, I felt I put a bit of myself into this project. Fun fact: mom is from Colombia, dad is from the Dominican Republic.
What I learned:
How to conduct a usability study
How to build an app from start to finish
How to empathize with users
How to plan a study