UX and Mental Health: An Unintended Consequence

1. The Whirlwind of Notifications

Remember the last time your phone buzzed incessantly with notifications? Each ping triggered a cognitive response—an interruption that disrupted focus. Multiply this by the number of apps we use daily, and it’s no wonder our mental load increases. As designers, we must find ways to reduce this noise and create calmer digital environments.

2. The Pressure of Deadlines

UX projects often come with tight deadlines. Balancing research, design, and testing can be overwhelming. As a senior researcher, I’ve seen colleagues burn out, sacrificing their well-being for project success. We need to advocate for realistic timelines, ensuring that our teams maintain a healthy work-life balance.

3. The Myth of Constant Connectivity

Our devices promise constant connectivity, but at what cost? We’re always reachable, always “on.” As UX professionals, we contribute to this phenomenon by designing seamless experiences. But we must also encourage users to disconnect—to find moments of respite away from screens.

4. Designing with Empathy

Simplicity: Reduce cognitive load. Simplify interfaces, declutter screens, and guide users intuitively. Headspace, with its serene design, exemplifies this.

Emotional Well-being: Our choices evoke emotions. Can we infuse moments of delight or calm? Calm app’s soothing interface achieves just that.

Mindfulness: Encourage presence. Insight Timer guides users through meditation, fostering mindfulness.

Inclusivity: Prioritize accessibility. Clear typography, color contrast, and intuitive navigation benefit all users, including those with mental health challenges.

Balance: Gamification engages, but too much can overwhelm. Balance interaction with rest.

5. Real-world Examples

Headspace: A meditation app that simplifies mental well-being.

Calm: Serene visuals and guided meditations prioritize emotional health.

Insight Timer: A vast library of free meditations encourages mindfulness.


As UX researchers, we’re not just shaping pixels; we’re shaping experiences. Let’s design with empathy, considering the unintended consequences on mental health. Our work can positively impact lives—let’s make it count.


Curtis, M. (2023, April 7). Designing for Mental Health & Well-being: The Role UX Plays in it All. Medium. [Read more].

Bootcamp. (2023, December 28). Designing for Mental Wellness: UI/UX Strategies for Stress-free Digital Interactions. [Read more].

UXMatters. (2023, June 5). Designing for Mental Health: Creating User Experiences That Support Well-being. [Read more].

Kiquix. (2023, May 6). Designing for Mental Health: How UX Can Support Well-being and Reduce Stress. [Read more].

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *