A mobile application for journaling and self-reflection

November 2020



Self-care and journaling have become increasingly important in recent years. However, journaling applications that have flooded the market have left a lot to be desired.


Jot is a journaling application that aims to let users record their thoughts quickly and negate the stress and overload of many of its competitors, while still offering features that spur creativity. 

I led the entire project, from its inception to its final prototype as a way to try to build my confidence and practice UX design.  


During user research, I discovered that users had a variety of different mediums to get their thoughts out depending on their needs that day. Many users said that they usually used to iPhone Notes application to "thought dump", but it lacked a lot of the features that they felt would help them encapsulate their daily experiences.


When prompted what features they felt would spur creativity and self-expression, users had surprisingly similar responses:

  • Doodling/drawing feature

  • Image uploads

  • Prompts

  • Mood trends or trending words/themes

I wonder: Why do so many users who journal on their phones not use the dedicated journaling applications that were already on the market? 

Ironically, I believe the answer to my question was given to me repeatedly through user research. Many users said that when they felt the need to journal, they prioritized immediacy -- quick and easy use. Because of this, many of their needs that would result in a better creative process were not being met. 

User Persona

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User Flow for New Entry

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Context of Use

For the design portion of the process, it was important for me to think about the users' context of use. While doing my research, I learned that users usually journal either in bed right before sleep, while out and about during their day/commuting to work, or both. 

Having learned this, it was important for me to create an app that functioned well in both of these environments. 

Thus, I aimed for an app that would allow users to quickly "thought dump" as some of them called it. Many users said that they used the iPhone "Notes" app as their primary place of journaling, as it was the fastest way to record their thoughts. I aimed to mimic that simplicity and intuitiveness in Jot.


Lastly, because of the remaining stigma of mental health and self-care, I wanted to create an interface that was relatively ambiguous, in the case that the user was, for instance, commuting via train and surrounded by a sea of other people. Most users would not want strangers drawn to their phones as they wrote candidly about their days. 


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Reflections: When asking users for feedback, many liked the general layout, but felt that the "Trends" page needed to be reworked/fleshed out. We discussed some alternative design ideas: 

  • Calendar view with keywords from entries 

  • "How are you feeling?" selection at the bottom of every entry to track selected words in the "trends" page to show most selected words for this week, this month, etc.

  • Keep this feature for future development. 


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  • Found the interface intuitive and not overwhelming like other journaling applications 

  • Enjoyed the solution to the "trends" page

  • Font/font size difficult to read for older users


Home page with list of entries

Previous entry showcasing prompt and doodle feature

Spotify linked "Song of the Day" page


The premise of Jot was to create an app that got rid of the fuss of other journaling applications. It aimed to simplify the interface while incorporating multi-media features that users felt added to their journaling experience. Thus, Jot incorporates features such as: 

  • Doodling for stress relief and entry decoration 

  • Photo upload to better document the day 

  • Song upload to give your entries a "song of the day"

  • Push notifications for habit development 


Take Away

Because of social distancing, I couldn't interview in person or test with as many users as I wanted to, and I know that seeing and interacting with users face-to-face would have given me more valuable feedback. Also, because of the inability to physically observe users, it was difficult to discern their needs as opposed to simply their wants. In the future, I can revisit this app and make adjustments where needed. I especially would like to include more features for accessibility, such as a voice recording feature.


This was my first UX project and case study, and I would appreciate any feedback you have so I can grow my skills and better serve my users and stakeholders!