Improve access to mental health services for people with limited English proficiency


Candid is designed for people who have limited English proficiency and with mental health needs to discover mental health services. With the support of the platform, language will no longer serve as a barrier to these resources.

The Problem

As a first-generation immigrant surrounded by non-English speakers, I have witnessed first hand the effects of mental health issues on my friends, peers, and family members. I have seen that the main source of their struggle to access mental health resources originates in language barriers. I was inspired and motivated to research and explore potential solutions to improve access to mental health services for people with limited English proficiency.

This population is currently lacking adequate access to mental health services due to language barriers; therefore, relevant services should be paired with translation capabilities.


Sole UX/UI designer and Researcher


4 months (August - December 2020)

Design Process

Design process: Empathize. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test.


To ensure that I am conducting the user interviews with the right participants, I created a screener survey to filter for the appropriate behaviors and to identify research candidates.
Read research plan

As my target audiences are non-English speakers, I translated my screener survey into 5 different languages, including Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Tagalog, as they are the most commonly used languages in the United States.

After gathering about 40 survey responses, I chose to interview different types of users - those that have little or no knowledge of English, those with diagnosis and without diagnosis but suspect they have mental health issues, and those who are receiving and not receiving mental health services.

I conducted interviews with 4 participants, asking them what challenges they face when accessing services and how they handle those challenges.
Read interview questions


To better organize and make sense of the data I collected, I used the Affinity Mapping method to find patterns in my observations and Empathy Mapping to better understand my user’s pain points, goals, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Through analyzing the research results, I noticed the following behaviors and pain points that are similarly found from the participants:


Based on my findings, I created a persona to represent my target users. Creating a persona allows me to immerse myself in my users’ world to understand their frustrations and what they’re trying to achieve.

Persona: Kevin Nguyen

Problem Statements

Keeping Kevin’s frustrations and goals in mind, I generated 3 problem statements to keep me focused on the problems that I am trying to design a solution for:

User Stories & Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Utilizing my research findings and persona, I developed user stories to anticipate the needs of my target users and subsequently to better prioritize their needs.

Users are frustrated about not knowing how to discover and approach services as well as the process of scheduling an interpreter. So having these 3 features as MVP in this app would solve their problems in a convenient and encouraging way:

Information Architecture

I used sitemap to structure the app and user flows to visualize the workflow from the user’s perspective.

Sitemap for the app


I started the design process by sketching the screens in my user flows.


Guerilla Usability Testings

To capture initial feedback on my designs, I conducted 5 guerilla usability testings with my sketches. Here is a couple of iterations that I made when turning my sketches into wireframes based on the insights from the testings:

1. An additional “Booking summary” screen -
users reflected that there should be a review booking page before confirming RSVP. This would be necessary to provide given that the nature of mental health should be treated with caution and that my user groups could potentially be a bit older.
booking summary
select interpreter screen
2. An additional “Select your interpreter” screen - users prefer to have the freedom to view and select their own interpreters. I added a “select your interpreter” screen showing the interpreter's profile picture, years of experience, speaking language and what facility they were verified by. The purpose of doing so is to make users feel confident using this app and also to increase users satisfaction level towards our interpretation service.
3. Users also thought that the home page was overwhelming and cluttered.
However, considering that I showed users my original sketch with black pen and pencil, I decided to hold off on changing my design. At this point, this could potentially be improved by a higher fidelity mockup with clear hierarchy. When I ran more usability testings later in the process using my hi-fi mock-ups, users then had no problem viewing and interacting with the home screen.
homepage evolution


wireframes continue

Branding & Visual Design


High Fidelity Mockups

hifi mockups
hifi mockups ocntinue
hifi mockup 3

Prototype & Usability testing

After creating my hi-fi, I built a prototype to run 2 rounds of usability testing with 10 total users, in order to establish a baseline user performance and to identify potential design concerns to be addressed. This would then be used to improve efficiency, productivity, and end-user satisfaction.

In usability testing, all users were able to find their ways in the app to complete all the tasks in both rounds of testing. They indicated an overall satisfied experience as the flows were smooth and most of the UI elements were self-explanatory.

Findings and iterations

Issue #1: “Edit preference” button is not obvious for users to notice right away

When users were asked to edit their interpretation preference after booking a service, the “Edit preference” button under their interpreter was not obvious to them. It took them longer than expected to complete this task.

Solution: I changed the “cancel RSVP” button to “Edit RSVP”, and put all 3 options, including “reschedule”, “Edit interpretation preference” and “cancel RSVP” in it. Once users click on it, this bottom sheet will slide up and then users can decide what they want to do.

Changed the “cancel RSVP” button to “Edit RSVP”

Issue #2: “Check next available spot” button was confusing

When users were asked to rebook a mental health service that they attended before, they were not sure if “Check next available spot” means to check the next available spot for the service or for the interpreter since it’s placed right below the interpreter section.

Solution: Changing the wording to “Check next available session” would help clarify that it is to check the next available session for the service.

Changed "Check next available spot" to “Check next available session”

Issue #3: Users are not sure what “My services” means

A few users were hesitant to click on the “My services” tab in the home page during the testing as they were not sure what it meant. But I observed that once users clicked into it, it was self-explanatory and they immediately understood the tab.

Outcome: I learned that there was nothing needed to be changed about the design as it is intuitive enough for users to understand and remember after the first visit.

Final Design

RSVP for a mental health service
Edit interpretation preference


What I have learned

One of the biggest challenges of this project was recruiting non-English speakers who were willing to discuss such a private and sensitive topic with me in a users interview format. With limited time and resources, I was able to overcome this by continuously reaching out to my network, patiently explaining my project, and offering small incentives. As a result, I recruited 4 participants for the user interviews. I conducted 3 of the interviews in Chinese and 1 in Vietnamese with the help of an interpreter. By carrying out this user research, I learned the importance of planning ahead for foreseen challenges and having the flexibility of working with limitations.

My final design was successful. Although I did not get to translate this app into different languages, I was able to reconnect with my interviewees and hear their impressions and satisfaction with the final product.

With this being my first project, I have not only practiced and improved my UX design methods and techniques, but further leveraged my empathy and compassion through immersing myself into my users world.

What’s next

If conditions permit, I would love to take this project to the next level by translating the app into different languages, testing it with my target users, and iterating if needed. After that, it would be ready to hand off to development to build.