Chris Barez-Brown and Jim Lusty started Talk It Out. As a consultancy style service, it helped people improve their wellbeing in a simple and easy way. Pitched as 'good nutrition for you mind' – the program was 1-to-1 training for companies.
As with all successful products, they had a scaling issue. 450 million people in the world suffer with mental health issue. 1-1 training wasn't going to scratch the surface.
They approached us to help them create a digital experience of Talk It Out. It had to work as well with self-serve consumers as it did with direct training.
We collaborated with Talk It Out to run a Design Sprint. We know it's the fastest way to meet the challenges ahead of us and test with real users to get the answers we need. Before hand, we ran a series of 1:1 interviews with our potential users groups. We needed to know how consumers and businesses interacted with digital wellbeing products.
We took all this data into our Design Sprint. On day 1, we collated all the ideas and data we had. Mapping out the desirable user journey, we were able to map out our assumptions. Will people understand what Talk It Out is? How can we get them to do their first session? How will we encourage them to make it a habit?
We sketched out our ideas and pulled them together. By the end of Day 2, we had created a storyboard of the full product. We built an interactive prototype on Day 3. We took this prototype to our user groups – looking to validate (or invalidate) our ideas.
We started our testing with some big ideas and even bigger assumptions. We assumed that users would run a full 20 minute session. Talk It Out requires you to talk, uninterrupted and free. Then you listen back to your recording to look for insights and triggers. The recommended amount of time is 20 minutes. But we found that jumping straight into a big session without a guide there to help you is a big ask.
During our research sessions, we also uncovered some great ideas. Every user we spoke to wanted to keep track of their progress. Like a physical fitness app, seeing their progress was an important motivation. It's something we didn't consider. But as we tested with our users it gave us a great idea to bring into the product.
We pulled together all our findings to start building our iOS/Android apps. Using our learnings, we brought in a new feature: Challenges. When a new user starts using Talk It Out, we give them daily challenges to help them build up a habit. This eases them into the product.
The nuom product team built a sophisticated cloud system and CMS. This would allow Talk It Out to create, set, and promote challenges within the app. They could run special challenges, events, and partnerships – giving them the ability to drive engagement.
Hosting both video and audio content gives the product a rich user experience. Users can engage with the Talk It Out platform on a daily basis. This helps them improve their mental wellbeing like they might improve their physical wellbeing. We took a lot of inspiration from fitness apps like Strava. Giving users a familiar yet unique experience was one of our key goals.
One of the key features of Talk It Out is the ability to record audio sessions. These sessions would be private recordings stored on the device. These recordings would be an uninterrupted flow of subconscious thought. The user would then playback these recordings and capture "insights". These insights are audio notes. Recorded by the user to comment on what they heard – so they could listen back objectively.
These audio notes get transcribed to text in the cloud for convenience. Saved as "actions" – these give users notes on how to tackle their problems and improve their wellbeing. The team spent the first weeks of the project testing different cloud platforms. Settling on Azure, we built a custom API to encrypt and accurately transcribe which fires back to the device.
In May, we launched the app to 750 enterprise client beta users. We gathered some qualitative feedback from users, gathering some useful insights. The impact on their wellbeing was massive:
“I felt very calm and like I had a new perspective on life, I love it and think it's surprisingly powerful."
Users were impressed by the app and have started to use it on a daily basis with over 75% of users engaging daily. Talk It Out have found that it's shown a 300% increase in productivity.
A public launch on the App and Play stores is scheduled for June.