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Case Study | Desktop App Design 

Motivator App

Created at Design at UCI's first designathon, my team and I created Motivator, a productivity and mindfulness desktop app, that won the Best Overall design award.


Our app tackles the problem of lacking organization, prioritization, motivation, and accountability. We incorporated features such as a gamification system to assist users in accountability and measure progress, social sharing and allowing users to connect with friends through the app to hold each other accountable, as well as mood check-ins to provide an outlet for users to reflect on their mental health. 


Nov 2020 (48 hours)


Figma, Miro


Allison Yick, Jonathan Lum, Stephanie Chang

Project Methods

  • Competitor Research

  • User Survey

  • Personas

  • User Journey 

  • User Flow

  • Lo-fi Wireframes

  • Hi-fi Design

  • Prototyping

​Procrastination, an evil guilty pleasure that prevents almost everyone from achieving their goals. At the same time, excessive overworking hinders individuals to stay focused and motivated. How do you hold yourself accountable to your daily tasks and keep track of your mental health?

User Survey

We began our project by doing research on comparable apps and highlighting the features that make those apps effective.

We then conducted a user survey to gauge students' lifestyles and priorities when managing tasks and mental health. 

Research Insights

We received a total of 39 responses, targeting mainly people with multiple commitments and busy lifestyles, such as college students and working professionals.

For task management apps, there was a wide-range of individuals who use them. Despite the usage of these apps, we still saw many challenges that users faced when it came to holding themselves accountable to complete tasks.

How might we enhance the experience with time management apps to improve user accountability?

We found that a significant amount of individuals (28) never use mental health apps. 

How might we make a mental health app that is useful for individuals to actually use?

Key Takeaways

This was such a rewarding experience of learning from both my teammates and through this 48 hour challenge, and my team was awarded Best Overall for our design!

Be direct, don't overthink 

When we first saw the prompt and started discussing, we had so many ideas for features on the app. However, due to the time constraint, we learned to keep these ideas in mind but really focus on the research to put ourselves in the users perspective to make decisions.

Importance of Research  

Whenever we came across a roadblock, we found that going back to our research where we identified the pain points of our users helped us narrow down on certain decisions. 

Be communicative

Especially with working across different time zones, we needed to be as communicative as possible with our design process in order to complete the project in an efficient manner. Planning ahead with actionable items also helped with delegating tasks that we would be able to accomplish and what needed to be done.

Top Surveyed Features

... for tracking mental health

... for managing daily tasks

The listed options in the survey were based on methods and features that have worked for us personally, as well as features that were highlighted within our competitor research.

Defining the Problem

Hard to keep track of tasks or focus on one task at a time

It is hard for users to get motivated to do their tasks, especially with distractions in our current online environment.

Users seem to prioritize other important tasks when deciding between those and tracking their mental health.

How do you change up a routine that’s repetitive?

Staying on Track

Motivator includes task filter options as well as project breakdowns to allow users to create tasks that are specific to what needs to be prioritized. The tasks page includes a checklist of overall tasks as well as a calendar view of upcoming tasks. It also allows for task organization by category and division of bigger tasks into subtasks so that users don’t feel overwhelmed by their workload.

Defining the Solution

We identified the key problems we wanted to tackle, and this is how we incorporated our solutions into the final product.


Motivator offers various characters to unlock to motivate users to complete their tasks and help them create a positive mindset while doing their work. Users are able to grow and collect these characters through reaching goals such as completing tasks, using the focus timer, and staying connected with their accountability buddies.

Staying Mindful

Motivator has incorporated mental health and self-care check-ins and reminders, which are optional for the user to have an outlet to reflect on their mental health. This encourages them to prioritize their mental health and spend time thinking about it. Mental health articles are also available for users to read through to understand the importance of their mental health and get advice.

Customizable to YOUR Needs

The Motivator dashboard provides users with quick access to task creation and their task checklist, as well as a progress bar and a character to encourage them to continue working hard. The dashboard is customizable, and users can choose to remove or switch up the layout of widgets based on their lifestyle needs.

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