Menzies School of Health Research is one of Australia’s leading medical research institutes. They are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians and are global leaders in tropical research into life-threatening illnesses.
Menzies wanted to help improve the mental health of Indigenous youths by creating an Android app that helps individuals identify their strengths and worries, and put steps in place to help them accomplish their defined goals.
A shared *goal*
Develop a cool, fun Android app that encourages improvement in the wellbeing of indigenous youth through gamification, sounds, colour and an emotional connection with relatable characters.
Empathising with the audience
We were creating an app with a very specific audience. As designers, it’s our job to identify and empathise with the user to create the best possible solution to the problem. Michelle Sweet from Menzies helped Nick and Haydon to understand the cultural and individual needs of the userbase.
An *agile* approach
Once we understood everything that Menzies wanted in the app, we created a backlog of tasks that we could action. We were working with an exceptionally big backlog and a tight deadline, so we collaborated with stakeholders Michelle and Josie to prioritise the different functionalities. Because we were working agile, Michelle and Josie were able to change priorities throughout the design and development process to make sure that we were providing the highest value product to the audience.
Because this app had so many moving parts and possibilities, the team spent many hours wireframing how this app would work. Wireframing is a visual process that helps us to understand what information will be displayed on each page and how each page links to another. We started with paper prototypes and then moved to Adobe Xd to create a polished prototype for Michelle and Josie to test themselves.
Creating a design system
To make the development cycle smoother, Haydon created a design system that could be built onto throughout the project. In this creation phase, we decide on fonts and colours that suit the demographic we’re creating the app for.
Having a design system allows our developer, David, to create parts of the app with the modules in the design system, instead of having to wait for someone to design each screen individually. This makes for a more consistent product and a quicker development time.
Look and feel
We worked hard to ensure that the colours used, images, icons and overall style would resonate with the target demographic. Michelle helped us fine tweak the look and feel by providing feedback throughout the design phase.
Just wanted to say thanks heaps for all your work on the project, getting it done on time and all those *fabulous* characters!
Throughout the process, we had many touchpoints with the Menzies team to make sure we were heading in the right direction. We made a few pivots along the way but were always aiming towards the same shared goal.
Relaxation through gamification
Michelle and Josie wanted to include calming activities in their app that would help users practice mindfulness without realising it. They came up with a few game concepts including fishing, flicking a football through goalposts, identifying animal sounds in nature and popping bubbles.
Completing the games unlock further levels which provides an incentive to play, but the user can also choose to continue playing the game for as long as they’d like after reaching the set target.
Speedy *development* velocity
During development, David put “code reusability” as his highest priority to allow for quick iterations and fast development!
Using this strategy allowed him to get through more work within a shorter timeframe by keeping the approach to functionality cohesive and modular. This meant we were only ever moving forward with development, never sideways or backwards.
The Aimhi-y app
Meet the AIMhi-Y App! Helping to improve the mental health of Indigenous youths.
With its vibrant colours and relaxing games, we’re confident the AIMhi-Y app will be a hit among Indigenous Australian youth.
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