Virtual Avatars, Self-Care and Mirror Feedback

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow-needs2.webp

“They’re like vitamins, we need them all.”

So when I say I want to talk about neglect, what am I talking about?

But if we could give ourselves love, it would start to heal all of this. Everything could shift. We could deal with uncertainty and chaos and difficulty in a much more resilient way.

https://zenhabits.net/self-love/

Can we use our weaknesses to fuel our growth? Let’s apply principles of addiction, comfort, and convenience to direct us into forming us for the better.

PEST analysis

Political

Yes, in this political climate, resiliency and empathy are more needed than ever. Political anxieties are not new to the therapeutic exchange, but the anxiety under this current political regime is uniquely unnerving. Polarization is also adding to feelings of anger and alienation. Isolation is common among all types of self-neglect.

Economic

A healthy economy is built by …
[Not sure if this is a money maker or whether it’s ethical to tie microtransactions into an app meant for the user’s overall sense of wellbeing but one can argue that individuals who practice good mental health care and practices are better equipped to be productive, participating members of society, whether it be as an employee or a consumer, which in turn contributes to the economy.]

Sociological

People are more inclined towards self-improvement and more aware of mental health and self-care than ever. People are more attached to using a tech device to help, support, assist them in their endeavors more than ever. People enjoy cute, fun avatars and using emojis.

“The app is all about emotion, and it’s you, and you’re expressing all these emotions.”

Similarly, during a user interview session, one participant remarked, “I love my Bitmoji! I’ll check the weather and if it’s a little chilly, maybe I’ll put a little sweater on [it].”

Technological

The technology exists and is shown to play well to a wide range of demographics.

https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/business-people-using-technology-gm639137250-115030289

User Interview

User interviews are conducted to get information and context from potential users. Questions can cover a variety of topics, from the user’s background, to how they use technology, to their hopes, fears, dreams, and desires.

  • Did you drink enough water today? / Did you remember to put on SPF today? / Did you make your bed today?
  • Have you ever created an avatar on a game or BitMoji/Wii Mii’s characters?
  • Do you use any apps to track goals, tasks or other productivity trackers?
  • When you take selfies, how do you like to present yourself? Does it ever change the things you think about yourself?
  • What’s something you tend to be hard on yourself about?
  • Has the current political climate and current events affected how you feel about the world and yourself? How?
  • What is a pro-tip you’ve figured out for yourself that you’d suggest for someone feeling overwhelmed?

Competitive Landscape

There are a variety of apps that touch upon similar principles already out in the world, however, most of them focus on only one or two aspects, whether it’s pro-social gameplay (Animal Crossing), habit tracking (I am Sober, FitBit) or a combo of both but focused on only one habit (Plant Nanny).

Mind Maps

Conceptual Mind Map

User Journeys

User journeys demonstrate the workflow a potential user might interact with an app in a given scenario. Here are two user journeys:

Wireframes

The Product Idea

The idea is simple.

ItME! helps discouraged, overwhelmed folks achieve small wins in empathy and resilience through contextualizing internal dialogue and behaviors with virtual avatar-based mirror feedback.

Given what we know about people’s tendency to feel some type of way about their virtual pets and avatars, combined with the research about how positive feedback loops can be created as easily as saying verbal self-affirmations and changing the face you see in the mirror, I propose a productivity companion that reflects the steps an individual is taking to care for themselves. It can also capitalize on reward center stuff ala addiction in order to build habits that promote self-care and well-being.

You are the Tamagotchi.

👻 — ItME! — 👻

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References / Further Reading

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