Hugbox is a new app that supports the future of mental health by providing a reliable tool to help unlock new forms of emotional support. It offers users a customizable chatbot character that is available 24/7 for anyone who wants to talk to a sister, teacher, friend, or anyone else. Not feeling comfortable sharing personal stories to others is not a problem anymore with Hugbox.

My Role
User Research
Web UI Design
Visual Identity

Jenny Wang
Xiangqing Zhang
Piper Xu

2023 Spring

The Problem

Countless people find it hard to seek help due to bias, embarrassment, or financial difficulties for mental health aid.

Over 50% of individuals experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime.

Only 16.5% of individuals with depression worldwide seek help.

Some people may simply fear the vulnerability of telling a stranger their problems.


Greeting users by highlighting that Hugbox will be available round-the-clock and from anywhere at their convenience

Detailed On-Boarding Filters

Actively guides a user through a difficult moment. When interacting, user's personalized counselor will differ as user choose based on the user's input status.

Ready To Chat Characters

Users get to choose all-ready generated characters if they do not want to select and alter specific traits for their conversation.

Adjustable Personalities

Allow individuals to adjust AI's unique roles, character traits, and beyond, barring religious beliefs, age range, professional roles, and inherent traits.

Advanced Listener Feedbacks

Cutting-edge image and voice recognition technology to enhance the communication feature with users.

Design Opportunity 💡

How can we foster comfort and efficiency,

yet help people to safely share their emotions and stories at anytime?

Some platforms…

Lacks deeper understanding of listeners’ skills, keeping up conversations, and consistency

Some are too-friendly or too-professional based and provides typical feedbacks

Possible Improvements…

Direct onboarding process yet less-complicated steps.

Option with character filter categories to establish and develop diverse relationship.

Enough professional feedback suggestions and friendly connections for users.

Understanding Targets 🔎

Conducted interviews with individuals ranging in age from their 10s to 50s to get a better understanding of the problem space surrounding emotional interaction with AI.

Four Key Insights:

  • Most people lacks empathy to things they don't care about.

  • Lack of resources for people to reach out with minimal effort.

  • Aren’t brave enough to go meet professionals due to social reputations / low accessibilities.

  • Easier affordance: expensive, long-term fight, and scary.

Solution ✍️

A web based AI-chat service: individuals can express their emotions and share stories with trait customizable characters in a safe & supportive environment they desire

Core Values ⚡️

Support — encourage communication to create a more interactive and supportive system within a familiar space

Reflection — inspire users and cultivate their awareness of their own values + being emotional is perfectly normal

Rapid, Straightforward, yet Handy Configurations

Pre-made soulful characters with diverse personalities & roles

Stronger User and Listener Connection

Specific customizable traits like religion, race, relationship, etc.

Enhanced Accessibility and Improved Interaction Capabilities

Video & audio recognition with instant summarized key Points

Visual Identity 💭

Reflection 📍

During this project, I was also tasked with conducting surveys and interviews as part of a new area of study that required detailed consideration and step-by-step planning. I learned how scaling both micro and macro design questions can be useful to better understand certain stakeholders’ perspectives. I also was delighted to receive positive feedback regarding the character illustrations, and the development of image/voice recognition to improve communication function. 

Despite encountering numerous challenges, including the collection of feedback that did not always lead to clear or consistent conclusions, my team and I were able to develop a neutral solution that combined conflicting research. Overall, this multifaceted project was challenging yet rewarding, and I appreciated the opportunity to work with my team members and other stakeholders.