Your Inner Anima

Hello! Apologies for what will be a lengthy post, however I was rather ill from accidentally overworking myself (in other words, don't do what I did, and take lots of breaks and drink lots of water).

However, this can come in rather handy, as I can show off the journey of the Anima experience rather well in one post. Shall we get on without all the waffle? Let's do this!

First of all, this project is around a matter that is really important to me, mental health. As someone who suffers with anxiety and depression, has gone through medication and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), I cannot stress how hard it can be for someone to open up about their feelings, to acknowledge them or to even tell others of their mental concerns. Although there are many people who might think the awareness is there, it is simply not enough, because unless you have mental health issues, you really do not know what it is like to have. This was especially true with my ex-boyfriend who, even though he tried his hardest to understand what was going on in my head, he could not grasp the experiences one might have.

As such, it became my goal for those with mental health issues to open up and not be afraid to express their experiences. Likewise, it is also my goal to educate those unfamiliar with mental health to understand it from real life experiences, not from a Government-endorsed campaign.

The Foundations

I began thinking about what mental health is. How do you define it? What are the feelings and experiences that someone without will not understand? Mental Health is such a wide-range and broad health issue that there are many layers. Mind maps help a lot to break down this subject.

The Ideas

This is where it gets exciting. Taking inspiration from the collaborative workshop, I focused more on the lateral side. One idea I had was using an Alexa/Google Home that can listen to the environment in the room, and process the data to create waves and different colours depending on the intensity. However, the main issue is the exclusion of those without such of a device, but also having the microphone always on.

Which is what brought to my main idea, which again, probably would not exist without the workshop of creating Glowbies. Using string as a lateral form of mental issues which are attached to experiences, and then telling those first hand experiences to those who might not understand mental health, and also to those not feel alone with having similar experiences.

Designing the App

This was the interesting part. In fact, how do you design an app? Luckily for me, I have always been in love with technology, always watching MWC, I/O and WWDC like no tomorrow, so getting an idea of elements and how the user should experience the app is no issue. The problem is, however, this is an AR-based application, so I need to make sure that the interaction and navigation is on point without feeling fiddly or hard to use.

Although, I used One UI as my inspiration point, mainly because I love how the user interface keeps navigation at the bottom for easy navigation, but also simple use of colour and spacing to look fresh and easy to use. Although, some of the icons could look less cartoony and look more inspiring.

One UI - Credit:
One UI - Credit:

Although I created some interesting concepts of what the UI could look like, I needed to strip it down completely because the elements and navigation did not click well with what was needed. Now, all of the app, apart from the use of the camera for the background, is static, uses coloured boxes with rounded corners to reflect the 21st century, allowing for easy navigation and for better readability.

Typography and colour was also really important to select for the app. Using Nexa, a sans-serif typeface is beneficial for its friendly, bold and curvy aesthetic that works well with Anima's identity, feeling warm and welcoming for all users. Colours are also associated with different mental illnesses for easy readability and recognition, and can also vary in terms of darker and lighter tones depending on the intensity of the experience.

Anima Festival

Anima Festival is more of a spin off to the app (well, I guess a concept) which celebrates mental health, being together and spreading awareness. This is the first time I have used After Effects for a university module, which there were over 200 layers in total (yes, insane and my MacBook hated it too). The event is accompanied with the app, which people can add their own feelings for others to see scrolling on their phone, with animations to make the event more special. Apart from the app, the event has lots of lights and music, encouraging everyone to make positive memories and feel happy again.

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