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ICare Mental Health App

Your personal mental health companion

A mobile app that helps/empowers international students navigate complex mental health system and feel inclusive


May - Aug 2023

(4 Months)

Project Type

Individual Project

My Role

UX Research 

UX Design


  • Figma

  • Miro

  • Google Form

  • Google Sheet

  • Procreate

Project Planning

User Research

Secondary Research 

Literature Review

Competitor Analysis

Primary Research 

Expert Interview

User Interview 




Affinity Map

User Persona

User Journey Map


Concept Design 


User Flow Chart

Information Architecture

Low-fi Design

Design Iteration 

Design System 

High-fi Design


01 Goal

  • Empower Claremont Colleges (5C) international students finding accessible mental health support and feel inclusive, regardless language, income level or immigration status

  • Provide a safe and supportive intelligent tool for international students to connect, learn, and grow

02 Problem

  • Mental health issues are more and more prevalent among International students, and they face additional barriers seeking accessible mental health support from current 5C school system

  • International students face difficulties in adapting to a new culture, overcoming social isolation, and feeling a lack of belongingness

03 Solution

  • Design a digital tool that can empower 5C international students seeking accessible mental health support and make connections

This project is featured in Scripps Magazine!

  • I was honored to be interviewed by  Scripps Magazine to share my "defining moment" during my time at Scripps. ICare is one of the key projects I highlighted in the interview. Feel free to check it out here

Design Solution

Take a sneak peek at the final results👇



Personal Companion

  • Communicate with you in your most comfortable language

  • Guide you through the whole therapist booking process in school

  • Match you with the right therapist based on your personal preferences


Find Suitable Resources and Activities around Campus

  • Browse through ongoing and upcoming school events and provide recommendation based on your needs



Keep in touch and have regular check-in

  • Keep in touch with you throughout the appointment

  • Follow up with you after sessions to get to know your feelings


Story Behind

How I Get Started

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Many of my international friends often expressed “I don’t belong here” during our daily conversation. They struggled with navigating cultural differences and coping with mental health issues in a foreign environment. 

As an international student, I deeply understand the importance of having access to resources that can help with these challenges. However, current resources are
not accessible and inclusive for most international students in Claremont Colleges.

Made Possible with Support From

The whole project started from my initial thought about creating a platform designed specifically for international students and helping them find inclusive and accessible mental health supports. Luckily, my thought was able to be turned into real action.

We Act Grant in my school provides strong support to me. It supports self-designed projects during summer that transform knowledge, passion, and ideas into action, demonstrate creative problem-solving, and produce a positive impact. This is how ICare gets started!

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Secondary Research

Literature Review
Competitor Analysis

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Primary Research

Expert Interview
Online Survey

User Interview


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Secondary Research

01 Literature Review


  • To gather information and insights from existing studies related to the research topic, which can be used to inform the design.

  • To gain a deeper understanding of the user group being studied.


42% international college students in the US have mental health issues 

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35% increase in international college students' mental health issues
from 2020 to 2023) 

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02 Competitor Analysis


  • To identify existing threats and explore potential opportunities

  • To gain inspiration from the existing platforms or apps


  • Lack of international-specific resources

  • Navigation is complex and not-intuitive

  • Tone is too formal and not user-friendly

Primary Research

03 Expert Interview


  • To understand common challenges that international college students are facing in the US

  • To delve deeper into mental health issues and the factors contributing to them among international college students


  • Semi-structured interview

  • Conducted 4 expert interviews
    (3 therapists, 1 psychology professor)

  • 30-40 min each interview

  • Use affinity map to synthesize data

Expert Interview
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  • International students face significant life challenges when they come to a new country

  • Stigmatization prevent international students seeking for mental health support

04 User Interview


  • To understand life challenges that international students are facing in the US

  • To gain understanding of international students’ perceptions about current mental health resources
    Identify possible ways that can alleviate international students’ mental struggles


  • Semi-structured interview

  • Conducted 4 user interviews
    (All 4 interviewees are international students at Claremont Colleges)

  • 30-40 min each interview

  • Use affinity map to synthesize data


User interview affinity map
  • International students feel socially isolated

  • International students struggle with navigating complicated school mental health care system

05 Online Survey


  • To obtain a large amount of information in a relatively short amount of time

  • To find potential willing interview targets

  • To understand the main challenges for international students in the US

  • To support qualitative research findings


  • Created a google survey to collect responses

  • Collected 33 survey responses and received 31 valid responses


Survey Results

Graph 1

67% international students are not satisfied with current mental health resources

Graph 3

83.9% international students think Cultural Adaptation is the biggest challenge for them in the US

Graph 2

54.8% international students report Navigation Difficulty and Therapy Limitation when finding mental health support

Graph 4

80% international students in the survey report mental health issues

Key Findings & Design Requirements

Screenshot 2023-10-22 at 10.36.05 PM_edited.png

Problem Statement

Mental health issues are more and more prevalent among international college students, and they face additional barriers in seeking accessible mental health support and finding community

06 User Persona


07 User Journey Map


Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 1.15.16 AM_edited.jpg


How Might We create a digital tool that can help international students find the right and accessible mental health support and make connections?

01 Crazy 8

IMG_1127 1.png

I sketched 8 concepts in 8 minutes and this fast sketching helped me generate ideas that inspire further ideations

02 Three Concepts and Concept Testing


Concept 1

Educational Platform
(Mental health and Culture 101)


  • Very informative

  • Has strong educational purpose


  • Schools and other mental health platforms already have plenty of existing resources

  • Looks like a course, so users might lack the motivation to use

03 Final Concept

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04 Information Architecture

Ruby Mental Health Project_edited_edited

05 User Flow

User Flow


01 Low Fi Design

02 Design Improvement (UX Expert Design Review)

Based on Nielsen Heuristic Evaluation


Lacked of Visibility of System Status

  • UX Issue: Continuous progress bar did not provide a clear information for users and let them know where they are

  • Recommendation: Change the continuous progress bar into step by step one, and provide question number


The design did not follow User Control and Freedom Rule

  • UX Issue: Current design did not provide opportunity for user to go back and re-enter their needs if they want to change their therapist preference

  • Recommendation: Add “change needs” and “rematch” function for users to leave the unwanted action


The design did not follow Recognition rather than Recall Rule 

  • UX Issue: Current design did not consider that user might forget what special needs they have selected

  • Recommendation: Add a summary page to remind users their special needs and minimize their memory loads

03 Color Psychology

In designing the user interface for this mental health app, I intentionally chose a color scheme predominantly centered around blue and green, leveraging color psychology theory to create a calming and reassuring experience for users

Screenshot 2023-09-16 at 10.46 1.png

Blue, associated with serenity and trust, provides a sense of stability and reliability, fostering a safe environment for users to engage with the app

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Green, representing growth and harmony, complements this by instilling hope and balance, aligning with the app's core purpose of promoting mental well-being

04 Design System

05 Hifi Design

User Needs Recap 

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Flow 1  Onboarding

04 Better navigate system

05 Seek for help without stigma

Flow 2   Customized Therapist Finding Experience

01 Adapt to a new culture

03 Be better informed about insurance

04 Better navigate system

05 Seek for help without stigma

Flow 3   Make Social Connection through Activities

01 Adapt to a new culture

02 Overcome Social Isolation

Flow 4   Keep in Touch with You

04 Better navigate system

05 Seek for help without stigma

Screenshot 2023-09-16 at 8.28.28 PM.png

What I Have Learned

01 What I Have Learned

  • Do not assume users’ needs until you really do the user research: let the findings speak for themselves

  • Design should be intuitive for users

  • Think about color psychology when using color in design

  • Help me develop my empathy and get to know some important underlying issues

02 What's Next

  • Plan to connect with school mental health resource office and student organizations to share my research insights, project idea and talk about further implementation

  • This app could be applied to international students from other campuses and communities

  • Plan to incorporate AI-related feature

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