The Sightly App

Therapist-led programs sparked by real-life topics
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Overview

Sightly is an app that aims to offer truly individualized mental health programs based on CBT principles, which help users address the root cause of their negative emotions. I joined their team before launch as the sole UX Content Strategist. Over four months, I authored voice and style guidelines to steer content creation, implemented the brand vision into marketing and UX copy, and referenced psychological research to draw conclusions about users. I worked directly with the company co-founder and the product manager.

Currently, Sightly offers several customizable mental health tools and one full program guided by a psychologist, focused on overcoming anxiety. In the future, the library will be expanded to include several more programs focused on both common mental health topics and the life circumstances that cause them, such as a bad breakup or the death of a loved one. 

The landing page

My work on the Sightly landing page helped me familiarize myself with the voice and vision of the app. Since the primary goal is to offer truly personalized mental health support, I used that as a springboard to develop brand principles for all future copy.

Sightly users download the app because they’re struggling with mental health, and they want to feel supported, respected, and seen. Since traditional mental health care often requires patients to navigate complicated bureaucracies, it was also important for Sightly to be easy to use and offer quick relief to symptoms.

Thus, I decided Sightly’s voice should be:

  • Supportive, kind, and never condescending. Users may be in a vulnerable place when they use Sightly, so it’s imperative that they feel emotionally supported by the app. Through showing respect for the user, trust is built and anxiety is assuaged.
     

  • Knowledgeable, but NOT stiff or formal. Users should trust that the help they’re receiving is credible and informed by expert scientific research, but they should never feel confused by complicated jargon. Psychological principles should be explained in “laymen’s terms” that anyone can understand.
     

  • Specific, yet expansive. Sightly’s programs are intended to feel personal, but each individual user comes to the app with different life experiences and circumstances. Content should be specific to real psychological research while maintaining broad applicability. 

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Using these principles, I developed Sightly’s tagline: 

Therapist-led programs sparked by real-life topics
We’re making it easy for everyone to get personalized help for their mental health

 

Through emphasizing “therapist-led,” I aimed to inspire trust in the app’s expertise. The mention of “real-life topics” enforces that the app is “personalized.” Finally, users are promised a seamless, “easy” experience using the programs, assuaging anxiety. 

The style guide I created, which will inform future content creation at Sightly, also included guidance on when to flex tone while maintaining the fundamental brand voice, as well as grammar conventions to be used consistently within and outside the app.

The onboarding flow

 

After completing the landing page copy, I began work on the Sightly prototype. Since the onboarding flow had not been designed yet, my first assignment was to rework all the placeholder copy for the exercises and tools included in the app. This turned out to be highly valuable, since it allowed me to familiarize myself more deeply with Sightly's offerings and conduct several interviews with the company's co-founder to get a sense of both his vision and the psychological research behind his decision-making. When the onboarding design was finalized, I was ready to present Sightly's value proposition with an understanding of our target users, how they want to be spoken to, and what pain points they might encounter as they seek help for their mental health challenges.

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The check-in tool

One of the first tools available to users within Sightly is the check-in feature, which appears on the home screen. Drawing from principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, the exercise is intended to encourage daily self-reflection and mood tracking. However, in the original iteration of the exercise, I didn't believe users had adequate context to understand why the task was important to engage with, and I was concerned that this lack of understanding could lead to drop-off. 

Although concision should be a value of every UX writer, I believe it must be balanced with comprehensiveness: my goal isn't to take up as little space as possible with my words, but to make sure the user knows everything they need to while pruning anything tangential to the task. In this case, the benefits of Sightly's tools became more clear with slightly longer, more fleshed out microcopy. 

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Check-in flow, before
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Check-in flow, after
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What I did
  • Changed all copy except buttons to sentence case for consistency and readability (note: “Happy” is currently in title case due to an issue on the developer’s end, will be resolved before launch)

  • Proposed a third row of emotions to the “I’m feeling…” screen: “Thoughtful,” “Overwhelmed,” and “Other,” which allows users to write in an emotion that may not be listed, allowing for deeper personalization

  • Proposed adding an “Other” option to the third screen so, again, users can speak to their circumstances in more specifics if desired

  • Expanded copy on the third screen to offer more support and guidance for the task, explaining the purpose of the exercise to the user and emphasizing that the written reflection is optional

  • Added a “skip” button to the third screen so that users who do not wish to write a reflection can move on seamlessly

  • Expanded copy on the final screen to offer further reassurance to the user about the benefits of the task

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The goal-setting tool

Another important tool among Sightly’s offerings is the goal-setting tool, intended for regular use in setting long- and short-term goals. I learned from research provided by the team that goal-setting is psychologically valuable because it keeps people focused on positive changes they can make in their lives and gives them a deeper feeling of control. However, the placeholder copy within the tool was vague, brief, and unilluminating.

 

My goal in reworking the flow’s copy was to make the task unfold fluidly and logically while driving home the long-term benefits—all in the space of four short screens. This required me, once again, to balance concision with comprehensiveness, weighing what copy was essential to include versus what felt extraneous.

Goal-setting flow, before
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Goal-setting flow, after
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What I did
  • Expanded microcopy on the first two screens of the task to include the psychological rationale for each step and offer greater guidance and support to the user

  • Added reference to long-term goals early in the exercise, so the user is prepared to make the shift when prompted soon after

  • Revised microcopy on screens 3 and 4 to be clearer, more specific, and more concise

  • Changed button copy on screen 2 to read "I'm ready" so the user has more agency to pace the exercise themselves

Next steps

Currently, Sightly’s programs are informed by research into psychological principles, as well as interviews with people who suffer from anxiety. However, there has not yet been an opportunity to test the app on users, meaning that the user needs we’ve pinpointed remain somewhat anecdotal. In the future, I would recommend a new series of interviews with people who suffer from anxiety that includes their responses to Sightly’s tools and programs. Sightly is set to launch in May 2022, and I will return to this case study with updates when more data is available to me.

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