Role: UX Design / User Research for mobile app

1. Summary

Even the most driven person could do with some inspiration when they’re in the middle of a slump.

The High Road is a personal project that grew from the concept of a “reverse revenge app” — to help people succeed with constructive micro-goals instead of focusing on the negative situations in their lives.

2. User Research

Why do people set goals?

People have various reasons for setting goals, such as wanting to:

  • Be more accomplished and motivated.
  • Have a better sense of control of the future.
  • Organize time and resources better.
  • Improve their quality of life.

What stops people from succeeding at their goals?

According to a Dominican University study:

Those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals.

According to research:

The two factors that effectively help people achieve the behavior change they desire are incentives and accountability.

Motivational speaker Brian Tracy writes:

Perhaps the most important reason [as to why people don’t set goals] is the fear of failure.

I derived some conclusions about how to be successful with setting goals: the goal should feel motivational, the goal should be specific and time-bound, and following up on a written goal was of utmost importance.

Some level of accountability would also boost the user’s chances of being successful with their goals.

What are some frustrations users have with apps?

The research focused on people that use goal setting apps.

After visiting competitor apps and viewing product reviews of disappointed consumers, I gathered some points on what people did not like:

  • Complex options.
  • No clear directions on how to add manual goal (versus general goals set by the app).
  • App feeling “clunky” or buggy.
  • Unclear free trial information.
  • Missing daily notifications or reminders.

Those are opinions of people who have tried goal setting apps.

3. Requirements

Establishing user requirements helped me to think about the basic UI and product needs.


4. User Personas

Potential users of “The High Road” would be people who have goals, but are being held back by negative emotions such as fear or low self-esteem.

user_ingrid user_karen user_eric

4. Sitemap + User Flow

The sitemap and user flow designs give a clearer picture of the mobile app user navigation.



5. UI Style Guide


Popular goal-setting apps include Remente, Lift, and Wiselist.

The color palette and layout of these apps helped me to understand how to differentiate The High Road. For instance, it would not be a good idea to select the exact same shade of Lift’s green, or the bright multi-colored hues of the WiseList app.



The High Road needed to have a cheerful and motivational vibe to encourage the user to see through the goals they had set.

I opted for an orange color palette for a clean and light design.

The palette is mostly monochromatic to keep the user’s primary focus on taking action on micro-goals, instead of being distracted with “how to organize or categorize” the goals.


6. Wireframe

The solution was to establish a streamlined and micro action based structure through the design of the mobile application.

The priority was on implementing features to help the primary user personas accomplish their tasks of setting their goals. Emotional design was kept in mind via the addition of mood based indicators, so that users would have an emotional sense of awareness and connection to their goal setting journey.

The micro-mentoring section helps users to quickly get support or find an accountability partner when they needed it.

Sketch wireframe of the goal-setting section.
Sketch wireframe of the 5 Minutes section.
Hi-Fidelity wireframe of the micro-mentoring section.

7. Detailed Mockup

As mentioned in the wireframing section, emotional design plays a key role in users’ enjoyment and engagement of the app.

Having the user determine emotional anchor points was a key feature of The High Road. This was implemented with features like offering a list of positive and negative moods to select from. The emoticons in the background of the “set new goal” process also help to reinforce the associated emotional states.

Through the design, the user would feel a sense of progress as he or she made her way through the steps of creating and committing to a goal.

New user checking out the micro-mentoring section.
Returning user checking out the goal setting section.

8. Conclusion / Lessons Learned

I enjoyed focusing on the emotional design aspects of this project, so as to keep the user motivated with completing their tasks.

It was a bit challenging and refreshing to select the colors for a monochromatic palette that was not reliant on a dark or black background (as that allows for greater contrast with brightly colored font colors).

One thing I would choose to develop further is a gamification component of The High Road. Users could be given stars or points for every task they complete, including personal goals or micro-mentoring other users. They could also be given access to more features as they achieve different score levels. This could be a fun feature to tap users’ intrinsic motivations and enhance their engagement with the product.

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