Selfapy’s new Mobile App

Creating a mental health mobile app that supports patients on a daily base with online cognitive behaviour therapy.


Selfapy GmbH


UX design




Opting to develop a mobile app, we faced the task of overhauling the entire user experience and adapting existing online courses into a mobile-friendly format.

The primary objective of the mobile app was to enhance user retention and foster daily patient engagement.

Our aim was to offer users daily psychological support in a readily accessible mobile format. Key challenges addressed included improving course navigation, reducing content length, and enhancing personalization to address common user pain points.


With the strategic decision to build a mobile app, we were challenged to redesign the whole user experience and restructure the existing online courses into a mobile friendly format.

The goal of the mobile app was to increase retention and create daily patient engagement. We wanted to provide our users psychological support on a daily base and make it easily accessible through a mobile app.

The most frequent user pain points that we needed to address, were the lack of orientation in the course, the length of the content and the low level of personalisation.

About Selfapy

Mental health remains a sensitive topic and the number of people suffering from psychological illnesses is increasing. The problem is that many patients in urgent need of help do not have direct access to psychotherapy. On average patients in Germany have to wait 22 weeks to find a therapy placement.

Selfapy's vision is to fill this gap and provide immediate and flexible psychological help to everyone. I had the chance to support Selfapy, one of Germany's pioneering start-ups in the field of digital health, taking the leap to a completely new online therapy experience.

The Challenge

Moving our product from web to mobile was not simply about translating the existing product into a mobile friendly version. With the idea to launch a mobile app, were challenged to rethink the existing course structure as well as the main USP of the product, because we were also required to fulfil strict regulations in order to become a certified DiGA product and get approved by the German DVG (Digitales Versorgungsgesetz) law.

Research & Ideation

I decided to kick off the project with an internal design thinking workshop. In a 2-Day workshop, I guided the mixed team of developers, psychologists, product managers, designers and founders through the classical design thinking process in order to develop a more user-centred product.


On the first day we gathered all the existing user feedback from our customer support team and online reviews and analysed past user interviews to clearly understand the user desires and problems. We then created an empathy map with the help of our psychologist team, as they were the ones working closely with our users. We learned that people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorders, stress and eating disorders all needed a different type and level of mental support.

Therefore we had to narrow down the scope and decided to focus on patients suffering from depression. We then drafted a list of Jobs-to-be-done to define our customer needs.


We started the day with an important strategic decision. Selfapy's online product provides two main services, one is an online course which allows users to consume content at their own pace about mental health disorders and reflect on their learnings with interactive exercises, the other one is a 1-on-1 psychological guidance via chat or call with a personal psychologist. The previous analysis of our user feedback showed clearly that the latter one was the main USP, that our users were interested in, however this service feature could not be easily scaled up without extending our human resources. Another important factor was, that psychological guidance through an app would be hard or impossible to get certified by the DVG law. With this information we had to take the hard decision and turn the online course into our main USP while minimising the personal guidance feature.

We then defined the high level user flow and mapped out the main user tasks, that a new user would need to take, in order to successfully finish a Selfapy course. We collected questions for each stage that we considered worth to be reflected in the ideation process.

Then it was all about creative output and quantity over quality. I split the group into smaller teams and each team was asked to ideate 7 min on one phase of the user flow. The teams had to generate as many ideas as possible and they were encouraged to sketch or write their notes on post-its. Then the teams rotated and continued with the next phase of the flow.

Once we finished the loop, each team received some time to present their ideas. We then started to cluster similar ideas together and decided through a dot-voting which ideas we wanted to include in the further process as part of the MVP.

From Idea to Concept

I took the results from the workshop and started to investigate all product dependencies and user requirements as well as a long list of DiGA requirements and started sketching. One of the biggest challenges was to reduce the complexity of the online courses and restructure it into bite-size content. I sat down with the content creation team and mapped out all the course content to define their dependencies. On the one hand we wanted a fixed curriculum to assure that our users would learn the basics on mental health, but on the other hand we wanted to provide some flexibility that would allow our users to choose topics that they are most interested in, because we knew that our users that suffer for example from depression, had a hard time staying motivated and could easily feel overwhelmed by the length of the course.

After a week we had our first iteration that combined a mix of guidance and flexibility. The concept was born and ready to be designed. I finally started to create low-fidelity wireframes and after a few iterations I decided to set up our first round of user tests. I created clickable prototypes and wrote the user test guidelines, to prepare for the moderated tests. We tested 4 mobile concepts with 5 participants. The focus of the user tests were the navigation and usability.

The evaluation of the user test helped us to make important design decisions for example on how to best display the course overview. We refined the designs based on the user feedback. In the next iterations we improved the overall usability and eventually had 2 more user test rounds to validate whether there were any confusions left and also collected feedback on the product's desirability. The user feedback was good and 8 out of 10 users claimed that they would use the new mobile app.

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In the final MVP concept we decided to split the course into a Grundlagen section and a Vertiefung section, to guide the users through the course foundation and to collect all the necessary basic knowledge in order to proceed on their own. Users are now able to browse through various topics and unlock content that is most relevant to them. Furthermore we introduced bonus material, that would unlock based on the users progress, to increase engagement and flexibility. We chose a home screen as an entry point. It's primary function is to always guide the user to the next recommended chapteror exercise in the course, while the secondary feature is the minimised version of the psychological assistance. With the use of success messages and progress tracking we tried to make the experience more fun and motivating.

Other work

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