an empty paper journal infront of a PC representing the development of a digital journal process
an empty paper journal infront of a PC representing the development of a digital journal process

The Project: coLegend

coLegend is a playful personal development community (striving to be the first personal development game at some point) with the mission of creating a connected and conscious movement among its users, motivating them to continously improve and strive to fulfill their true potential.
One of the main tools to promote consciousness and reflection is coLegend's journal.
The idea is to instill a habit to write different journal entry styles according to the scope the user is in - day, week, month or year.

The Goal: A Guided Weekly Journal

The current task was focusing on the week scope of the journal and design a guided process - called week journal interview - that the user goes through, filling in their week's keywords, celebrations and challenges and reflect with the help of specifically chosen questions provided by coLegend.

The Design Challenge: Guided, Personalized & Insightful
Sketches & Wireframes

With a good picture of our pool of guiding and inspirational questions that we were going to choose from, I started creating low fidelity wireframes to have a quick way of going through different design ideas with the team.

Normally I start with the ideal scenario version in mind - fun, modern, interactive and visually inspirational. coLegend's lambda version.

The next version I focus on is something that is easy and quick to implement - the alpha version. And with some more feedback cycles between design and programming perspective, in the end we settle for a middle way that is good for all parties involved (see wireframes below in the gallery).

Doing this process with sketches first rather than with digital wireframes fastens up the process a lot and leads to fewer iterations necessary afterwards.

Journal Research

In order to tackle design challenges 3 and 4 (building the fixed guided interview part out of the most relevant questions to reflect upon & finding a variety of inspirational questions for the personalized part) I researched about different styles of journals with their pros and cons as well as created an exhaustive list of inspirational questions that are used for personal introspection and growth, coaching, team and management building.

After having a clear picture about the journal and inspirational questions landscape, I decided on the main guiding questions and sorted the inspirational ones into different clusters in order to be able to present them to the user as different options for reflection according to their preferences.

The challenge at hand was to

  • to provide the necessary information from the week's days in an intuitive way to reflect based on your week's experiences

  • make it an enjoyable experience so that it's not 'work' to reflect on your past week but something fun and rewarding

  • create an interview that is not too long but still incorporates the most important aspects that are valuable to reflect upon

  • give the possibility to choose between different inspirational questions that are meaningful and insightful to reflect upon

screenshots of different journal types that are popular for its strategy
screenshots of different journal types that are popular for its strategy
paper wireframes next to a beautiful old-school diary
paper wireframes next to a beautiful old-school diary
Frontend Implementation

After having a clear picture of what we wanted and gone through some testing for usability mistakes with the help of the wireframes, I programed them into our frontend.

User Testing

​We pushed the weekly interview live before doing any more testing as we wanted to get some feedback from our test users after them having used it for several weeks and having formed an opinion based on their real life use cases.

These people are dedicated alpha users that we picked according to our target audience with the goal of testing our project live and getting regular feedback from them. They - in exchange - are able to use our product free of charge.

After 3 weeks of testing I chatted with them on our discord server about their experience, their issues and future wishes for the interview.

Final Thoughts & Learnings

Biggest challenges:

  • Making it obvious to the user that when choosing one of the week reflection options the presented inspirational questions are an option and not a must without having to explain it via written text. Right now we're presenting it via a text template that they can either use to fill out or delete completely and write something themselves. I fear that this might not be clear enough for people that are not very well versed in interacting with a computer/the internet yet (however, those people are not our main target audience, so we didn't spend more time right now to improve this issue further).

  • Settling for presenting the week's likes and dislikes as normal chip elements and not as a word cloud. The reason being as integrating a word cloud library would have taken a lot more development effort which was not something that made sense at this point. However, I'm glad that the next version to be implemented is going to show the words in different sizes according to their frequency of use which is already more informational and visually pleasing than the current version.

​Biggest celebrations:

  • Finding out the misconception of some users of having to fill out all week reflection options instead of only choosing one. I love discovering these small misunderstandings that are so easy solved and in this case actually lead to one user switching from not using the week interview at all to enjoying the process a lot.

a screenshot of reel frontend code for the journal process in the app
a screenshot of reel frontend code for the journal process in the app

This feedback showed us that some people were thinking that in the personalized part of the week reflection (where users are able to choose between different inspirational questions) they were supposed to answer all of the options which was perceived as asking too much of them. This was a very important insight that lead us to implement a hint text below the option buttons in the next version to make sure that the users knew they only had to pick one of the options.

We also harvested feature wishes for future versions that we however didn't deem relevant for immediate implementation.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Turning dreams into opportunities