KeepCalm: Conquering Social Anxiety

Jacqueline Steiner

Keepcalm is a mobile application that supports and encourages sufferers of severe social anxiety to conquer their phobia.

Social anxiety disorder is the third largest psychological problem in the United States today. It is characterized by an intense fear of social situations that causes considerable distress and an impaired ability to function in parts of daily life. Keepcalm utilizes systematic desensitization therapy by including customizable lists of fears that users can move through. Users are gently encouraged to create their own personal hierarchies of tasks and activities that get progressively more difficult as each one is completed. The application also collects and saves data through a daily check-in system and journal that allows users to share their progress and feelings with their therapist.

Consulted a psychologist, read through many, many articles on mental health, anxiety, and the wellness technologies that are out there trying to address these issues.

Sufferers of social phobia/extremely shy people.

User Scenario
Eric is a college student who's been suffering from severe social anxiety disorder. One of his major anxiety triggers is speaking in front of his class. Unfortunately for him, he has to present to his entire class at the end of the semester. Needless to say, he's very very anxious about this. Eric downloads KeepCalm and is then asked a few questions in order to establish a baseline to help him chart his progress later. He's brought to the home screen where he can access lists of different activities to complete for different types of social situations.This section is already pre-populated with a couple of lists covering things like "meetings at work", "dating" and "public speaking". Though Eric has the option to create his own fear hierarchy list he chooses to try out the pre-made "public speaking" option. He's presented with a scrolling list of tasks that he can add to. He notices the activities get progressively more difficult the further down he scrolls. The first task is simple enough. "Watch a video of someone giving a public speech". He selects this activity and completes the activity. He indicates that he did so in the application.

Eric's given permission to his therapist to view his progress through a website he's been given a private login to. As he completes more and more activities his therapist develops a better idea of what Eric's anxiety levels are like throughout the week. So he can better help Eric better prepare for situations that cause him considerable that presentation of his at the end of his semester.

I treated this thesis as a serious exercise in UX and UI. Many, many comps designed in illustrator. Prototyped in Developed using phonegap.

This project gave me the opportunity to seriously sit down and address an issue I've been living with for a long time. In doing this thesis I found that it helped me with my own anxieties tremendously.