Zeen - Project Overview

A mental wellbeing mobile app designed to support Zimbabwean teenagers on their mental health and wellbeing journey. This project is still underway.

Project duration:

January 2022- present



Qualitative & Quantitative user research, Sitemapping, User persona, Journey Mapping, Wireframing , Visual Design, Interaction Design, App Development

Problem statement

In Zimbabwe, and Africa at large, mental health is not taken seriously, mainly  due to our cultural setup. Stress is not something that a child, let alone a young man, is expected to experience or talk about. To add on to this,  it is extremely hard in today’s connected, fast paced, no holds barred world to keep one’s sanity.

These teens are facing relentless pressure in the form of comparison, distorted self image, peer pressure and cyberbullying.

This leads to:

  • Anxiety & depression
  • Violent outbursts
  • An increase in suicide amongst teenagers, particularly boys

Brainstorming session based on generative research findings

Research & Analysis

Generative research

With guidance from my mentor,  I did generative research  to develop a deeper understanding of Zimbabwean teenagers in order to find opportunities for solutions and innovation.


Before conducting this research, I wanted to build an app to cater for all Zimbabweans but I soon learnt how my problem was not specific and to be open minded since I didn’t know yet what the exact problem I was trying to solve was.


User persona

After synthesizing all the research I developed the following persona, Rukudzo Nleya. He represents the most common needs and frustrations found in my research.

User persona diagram for Zeen

Responses to one of the survey questions

Quantitative Survey

23 participants, ranging in age from 13-19

After identifying the problem through generative research, I came up with a survey that seeked to dive deeper into issues faced by teenagers and the barriers being faced in addressing those issues.

The survey had one open-ended question to  allow respondents to convey their feedback and ideas in their own words.


Here are the most important findings based on the user research I conducted:

Use gender neutral theme

Over 60% of respondents were male. So using feminine visuals might discourage them from using the app since they are at a point where they are trying to prove their masculinity.

Mobile application

All respondents used their mobile devices and they highlighted that they mostly access the internet through their phones.

Offline availability

Since getting online responses was a challenge due to lack of access to the internet. It became crystal clear that the app’s key features needed to be available offline.

Resource directory

Over 30% of respondents had noone to confide in when going through challenging times. It would therefore be beneficial for users to have access to counselling services.


This app is designed specifically for Zimbabweans and Zimbabwe is a country with 13 official languages. The best way to reach them is to communicate in a relatable manner therefore I found it important for the app to have multilingual capabilities embedded.

Music recommendations

Over 80% of respondents turned to music when depressed. Adding a feature that allows them to connect based on musical interests would be icing on the cake for the Zeen app!

Based on the info gathered from the research stage , I came up with the following top level navigation.

  1. Welcome screen – It includes a mood checker so users can get recommendations based on their mood.
  2. Wellbeing tips – Various tips and fun facts that encourage mental wellbeing.
  3. Resources – a directory of resources that can assist teenagers facing various challenges.
  4. Music hall – most respondents highlighted that listening to music lightens their mood, so the musc board helps connect with them.
  5. About Zeen – general information about the app.

Zeen mobile app information architecture (13 screens)

Lesson learnt so far

Understand your user’s functioning environment

While conducting UX Research for Zeen, I knew that I needed to get Zimbabwean teenagers (mostly high schoolers) to  participate in my survey (quantitative research). I assumed it would be a quick process since the survey was short and easy to complete. However, after noticing that I wasn’t receiving as much feedback as I anticipated, I did some digging and discovered that:

  • Schools were closed, so many students did not have access to WiFi
  • Teens (particularly boys) are skeptical about following links that are forwarded to them, even from their peers

A better approach in this instance would have been to physically go to the schools, build trust with the students  and then get them to complete the survey afterwards.

The Zeen app is currently at the wireframing stage…stay tuned for more updates!