The Journey of Teduh

Yovita Irsad
9 min readNov 25, 2020

Teduh is a group project during my internship at Apple Developer Academy. Our group was formed because we were interested in mental health issues.

This topic hit home for us because either ourself or our loved ones have / are experiencing some form of mental health issues. Therefore, we all agreed to put all our hearts into this challenge.

Our hearts were racing with excitement; imagine how wonderful it would be to help people with similar issues.

We were fully aware that mental health is a very delicate issue so we took our time doing research. We found that depression and anxiety are the most common cases of mental issues. However, mental health issues in Indonesia are still considered taboo, a disgrace for the family, and branded as the crazy community. For these reasons, it prevent mental illness sufferer from seeking help.

1. Build Empathy

To gain better understanding about our target user, we conducted an interview session with five people who suffer from depression and anxiety. We asked them to share their experiences living with depression and anxiety. We let the conversation flow as our user wanted to be.

After gathering all the findings, we found that everyday they try to cope with the illness with the best way they could, but sometimes they resort to a negative coping mechanism such as making themselves very busy without realizing it would lead them to more complicated issues, or even affecting their physical health.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

Therefore, we wanted to help them to cope in the positive way.

Based on our research, we found out that mild symptoms of depression and anxiety are more possible to be help. Moderate and more severe symptoms require medication and medical treatment (out of our expertise).

Knowing the objective, we did a more thorough research to know everything about depression and anxiety. We found that depression and anxiety co-exist simultaneously and usually independent of one another. There are 3 similar symptoms. We decided to solve the problem of excessive worrying that affects young adults when they are experiencing depression and anxiety symptoms because it can lead to more severe symptoms of *MDE and **GAD, physical illnesses and suicide.

*Major Depressive Episode

**Generalized Anxiety Disorder

2. Keep an eye out

All of us were fully aware that this issue is not something we can easily solve. Desk research and user interview were not enough. We needed to do more research and gain more empathy towards the topic. So we conducted an interview with a certified psychologist, to gain better understanding from the professional side.

We prepared the objectives to be achieved, but rather than throwing a lot of questions and make it like a Q&A session, we make it more like a sharing session.

We asked our psychologist to tell us about her experiences in handling patient with depression and anxiety throughout her entire career. Thankfully, we got so many insights such as the majority age of their patient, the reasons behind their mental health issues, and the many methods suggested to cope with the symptoms such as grounding technique, memory bank, and journaling.

3. “The lamp” is turned on

Based on the information we already gathered from desk research, user interview, and psychologist interview, we brainstormed and decided to make two possible solutions: memory bank and grounding technique. Why didn’t we pick a journaling app? Because there are lots of similar apps on the App Store. We wanted to be different.

We now have two options: memory bank and grounding technique. We broke them down into two VPCs to see each other pros and cons. We were aware that we couldn’t work with assumptions so we decided not to validate our solutions to our user because sometimes user doesn’t even know what they really need. Also, based on our findings,

our users tend to stick to something familiar and comfortable doing during an attack, so we validated our solutions to our psychologist.

We found that grounding technique is the first aid to depression and anxiety symptoms. It is a way to distract yourself by focusing on something other than the difficult emotions you are experiencing.

Even though grounding does not solve the problem that caused the unpleasant emotions, it does provide a temporary way to gain control over your feelings and prevent things from getting worse.

Grounding anchors you, it gives you a chance to calm down, and allows you to eventually return and address the problem that is triggering the unpleasant emotions to begin with. This technique does not require any special tool, you can use your own body and senses. Therefore, this technique can be done anytime, and anywhere.

Memories bank is not effective for helping our user. This activity can’t be done if the user hasn’t calm down. On the other hand, it’s the next stage after the user has calmed down. Besides, like we’ve mentioned before, when users are experiencing depression and anxiety symptoms, they tend to stick with something they are familiar with. If our user likes to do journaling or listening to the music, this solution is not relevant and user might not be using our app.

Based on these considerations, we were convinced that grounding technique is the right solution. It’s a first aid, universal, can be done anytime and anywhere, without any special tool.

4. Driven by deadly assumption

Happy for what we have achieved, we plod through with our idealist minds. At first, we chose to provide grounding technique with a touch of gamification. We thought it would be nice to provide a first aid solution with gamification. We thought it would be really boring if we implement a grounding technique with sound and text guidance. We wanted our user to have fun, to see that our app is different. We got a really insightful review.

Is it suitable with what we want to achieve? Did we really understand about grounding technique?

Realizing that we barely know about the technique we were going to implement, we conducted another interview to our psychologist. We tried to validate our solution concept and get many possible options for development. First, we ask her to share her experience; how she implement grounding technique to their patients, the dos and don’ts. From this moment we knew we took the wrong path. After receiving a lot of insight, we were confident with our new solution concept: to develop a first aid app for mild depression and anxiety symptoms by showing a series of grounding technique that provided with illustration, text, and audio guidance.

5. Building the App

Unfortunately, we had to skip the wireframe phase, time was ticking and we were about to ran out of time. The design team, Putri and I, began to create the Moodboard. We brainstormed what kind of “visual” we want to implement on our app.

Our app provided a FIRST AID, which means we have to make sure that every feature can be found easily by user, so we implemented a clear and clean UI and UX. We picked a color that is calming for the users. We decided to choose a “sunset theme” color board. We thought, sunset is calming and our user would love the idea. So we jumped into high fidelity, we also put sunset scenery prototype image that we downloaded from Unsplash.

But we learnt from our mistakes. We performed usability testing with Marvel. We prepared the objective scenario (to make sure our UX are on the right track), and this is what we found:

  1. Our user didn’t like the colors. It didn’t calm them down at all. The color is “ too bold”
  2. Our user didn’t like the scenery prototype. The silhouette reminds them of their nightmare
  3. They prefer “simple yet calming” illustrations

So we consulted to our design mentor, Ms. Zinnia Nizar. She gave us a lot of insight and a homework, what color could represent the emotion our user is feeling during an episode. It’s an uncomfortable emotion, so let’s say its represent “hot” color wheels.

Hot colors contain most of the color in our “sunset” color board; red, orange, and yellow. Based on color theory, we need to implement a complementary cool colors, such as blue or green. It made sense to us so we made a major change. We made a color board predominantly with blue and a touch of orange-yellowish as a primary button and light green for text highlights to show the main point of the written guidance in the grounding session.

Here’s the UI and the user flow:

Home page

1. On the home screen, we have “first aid” and “all sessions” section. On the description page, user can choose one of the available sessions as their “first aid” session.

On the “first aid” we put a huge UICard and hope when the user can find the the “first aid” session easily when the user is experiencing an episode. The difference between the first aid and all sessions section, besides the sizing, is that any session that was added to the first aid section can bypass the “Description page”, so they can immediately start the session.

Square Breathing

2. This technique is called the “square breathing”. We use this technique before the start of each session to ensure that the user is calm before starting the session (this method is based on our psychologist’s insight). The user will be guided through 4 secs each of inhaling, holding their breath, and exhaling. This cycle will be repeated 4 times. We implemented an animation of a circle evolving(?) around a circle, hoping that it would visually guiding the user throughout the breathing exercise.

Session Page

3. After the breathing session, the user will start the grounding session.

Here is one example of Grounding Therapy technique. It’s called 5–4–3–2–1 Technique.

This technique helps you to bring your focus and presence to the present time, here and now, using all five senses, all guided by audio. The next button and replay button will appear after the audio guidance is finished.

Gratitude Page

4. After finishing a session , the user will be asked to record about one thing that they are thankful from that day. Based on our interview with psychologist, it would help the user to gain a positive thinking.

Journal Page

5. The user will be able to revisit their recording in My Journal view as needed, when they are feeling low or to show their psychologist the log of their anxiety episodes.

6. Validate

We validated our new UI to our user and they liked it! They said the colors are calming, and the illustrations are helping the calming process (credit goes to Asri Putri Rahayu, our gorgeous illustrator)

And there it is, our tech team started to develop our app with SwiftUI for the first time in their lives, and finished the development before the deadline of the challenge. We really needed to validate our final product and it would be effective if the user used the Teduh while experiencing an episode. So we shared Teduh to our user, and luckily, a user tried Teduh while experiencing an episode. You know what? We got positive feedback! Our app solved the problem! We’re truly “ a first aid app for mild depression and anxiety symptoms”.

Our hard work paid off. We succeeded in providing a solution. We learned that we had to have deep empathy toward our users, always validate concepts and not let ourselves driven by assumption, seek the gap where we could tackle the problem. We also learned how to collaborate effectively.

A big thank you to our mentors in Apple Developer Academy for helping us throughout our journey:

  1. Our group mentors: Mr. Benyamin Chandra, Mr. Octavianus Gandadjaja, and Mrs. Veronica Wijayanti.
  2. Ma’am Zinnia Nizar, Mrs. Rara Utami, Mr. Handy Tanuhardja.

Our psychologist: Miss Zahra Intani from Team Kinderhütte

Lastly, meet the people behind Teduh:

  1. Agnes Felicia — Tech
  2. Asri Putri Rahayu — UI/UX and Illustrator
  3. Benaya Oktavianus — Tech
  4. Rizqi Imam Gilang Widianto — Tech
  5. Yovita Irsad(me) — UI/UX and Project Manager