This morning I was lucky enough to have an hour for coffee and project chats with Ryan McLeod AKA professional design freelancer (and sometimes one man studio/collective) Made By Slurpp.

We spent about 40 minutes talking about my final year project. He had some great insights and suggestions which I’ll investigate and implement in my prototype.


Key points

  • The system creates a layer of abstraction from actual thoughts while still representing them
    • This allows for easier discussion of mental health issues
    • Could cater well to the male demographic who may be reluctant about discussing these issues.
    • “Abstraction from self”
  • Support professionals are reliant on verbal recollection of a week
    • This can be skewed by an individuals current view
    • The system would create a more realistic view of a timeframe which can be referenced in support scenarios or alone.
  • “Using text messaging is clever because it uses something which is already considered a private space”
    • It’s built into social routine as a personal space
    • It’s a layer of protection and adds and element of control.
    • This contrasts social media which can be considered a dishonest portrayal of self
  • Tone and visual language is very important
    • I need to think carefully about all the copy and the tone of voice my system uses visually and textually
      • Pay attention to microcopy.
  • The voice introducing and replying to the user needs to have close attention paid to it.
    • It needs to assert that it doesn’t have anyone on the other end of it.
    • It will largely frame the relationship with the client and the system
      • Using a name like ‘Moriarty’ might suggest that Moriarty is a kind of robot counsellor – not ideal
        • The system is not intended to be a replacement for a counsellor/therapist/doctor, but something which gives you something to show in support environments.
      • Is it yourself that you’re texting?
    • “This is now your space, noone else will see it”
      • Think about introducing the system
      • This onboarding was thought about in my last blog post. Ryan suggested adding a message at the beginning which states exactly what the system is.
    • Avoid using “Human-like” words like “Welcome” or “Hello”
    • Don’t be human, but don’t be cold
      • A real challenge!
      • Look at how text commands and replies have been used in the past.
        • Suggested: Command line tools.
  • It’s a positive action you can take when negativity/unhelpful thinking arises.
    • But only when talking freely


  • Frame the project under:
    • Challenge
      • Set scene for what exists currently
    • Approach
    • Insights
    • Solution
    • Real world application
      • Compare to existing services and talk about benefit over them
        • “noone needs to know you have it” etc


  • Elevator pitch
    • What
    • Why
    • How
    • Benefits
  • Degree show plinth space
    • What can I show?
      • iMac with dashboard
      • A phone with text messages
    • How can I make people engage with it?
      • An invitation to use it?
        • When the prototype is in a fully usable state
      • Maybe get in touch with Finlay Craig who did a similar Twilio based project three years ago.


Scratch notes from the chat:


Thanks Ryan! It was a really helpful chat!