__ Hug.u


An innovative startup made up of a team of developers and psychologists whose mission is to develop an accessible and personalized emotional support app based on scientific evidence.

Driven by a passion for sensitive and attentive mental health care, we believe that everyone deserves access to quality resources, regardless of their financial situation or location.

Hug.u is committed to creating an effective, safe and easy-to-use app aimed at making a significant contribution to users' emotional well-being.
Release year

User experience
User interface
Digital application
Agile methodology

Mapping the process

The problem

The report released by the WHO in 2022 reveals a 25% global increase in cases of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special impact on women and young people from generation Z, who face a disproportionate risk of suicidal behavior and self-harm.

In Brazil, a SulAmérica study highlights that 54% of young people from generation Z experienced a worsening in mental health after the pandemic, compared to 40% among baby boomers. These statistics underline the urgency of addressing mental health, especially among young people, highlighting the need for interventions and psychological support to deal with the lasting impacts of the pandemic.


We came across a survey carried out by Unicef together with the organization Viração, which collected answers from over 7,000 young people about mental health, and these were the main points:

With the insights gathered, we went in search of interviewees who could help us better understand this problem and, with a clear picture in hand, propose the best possible solution. We decided to interview three different groups: professional psychologists, psychology students and young people from Generation Z.

Some hypotheses raised by the User CSD Matrix

Data Handling

We had approximately 20 volunteers participating in the research process through interviews. We created an insights diagram containing quotes from the interviews and groupings of themes discussed. Among the themes are: self-care practices, difficulty in letting off steam, when they seek help, finding reliable information about mental health and the taboo in society, among others.

We also used other market tools that helped us visualize the audience we were targeting, including the creation of the persona - which culminated in the mapping of pains, behaviors, aches and fears - and the user's journey in obtaining mental health help.


Finalizing our research, we conducted a second survey of data on screen use in Brazil: brazilians spend an average
of 9 hours a day using the Internet, according to data collected by the We Are Social initiative.

With this in mind, and having mapped out the user's journey, we based the creation of our solution on a digital app.

The first solution...

didn't work!

When we conducted interviews, we identified the main concern when seeking mental health help: a lack of empathy. Thus, the Hug.u team realized that their differential would be humanized service through chat with volunteers. However, challenges arose regarding the viability of sustaining the app through volunteers, the search for them and responsibility for training.

In consultation with experts, the conclusion was unanimous: the project presents significant risks in human terms, considering that psychology is in the process of adapting to the digital world and implementing a chat would be a bolder step than the current context allows.

The Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

After a joint meeting with stakeholders and investors, the team reviewed the platform's strategy and recalculated the route, considering both the human implications and the user's needs. Surprisingly, self-care emerged as a highlight, mentioned by 14 of the 20 interviewees, involving practices such as exercise, meditation and self-knowledge.

From there, the team came up with the idea of transforming the app into a tool that supports professionals by providing insights based on patient data for more precise follow-up. The app's features were then defined with
this focus.

MVP's main feature - it's a safe space for you to record your feelings and thoughts. You can talk about what's going on in your life, what keeps you smiling, repetitive discomforts or important moments. It's a way of getting to know yourself better and understanding what's happening to you. It can also be a way of letting off steam and relieving stress through recording and writing.
These are psychological tools that can help you better understand your current mental health situation. They are selected by qualified professionals and can provide important information about your emotional state. These questionnaires are validated by the science of psychology, which means they are reliable and accurate.
These take place in an interactive, imaginative and gamified space, with the aim of generating reflections in a different way. They are stories told by you in which, depending on your choice, different paths can be taken. It's a way to pass the time, relax your mind and, who knows, discover a little more about your personality.

With the features established, we then created the user flow within the application, so that we could move on to creating the MVP screens.

User flow

Based on feedback from stakeholders and other Hug.u teams, we set about unifying all the product's functionalities into a single user experience. This included carefully integrating all the features to create a cohesive and intuitive experience, ensuring that the final product was accessible and met users' needs.


Landing Page

The MVP launch strategy included other stages, such as a strategy for launching and retaining people through social media, as well as the product itself. The first was the construction and launch of the LP to attract users.

Landing page layout

Visual Aspect

The app's visuals took shape from the Hug.u logo, its color palette was unfolded and the visual elements were created with the brand's consistency and welcoming feel in mind.

Branding Hug.u


Time ran against the team. With the first solution discarded, the chat, the wireframes made previously were discarded, but we used a modeling similar to the initial idea, largely because the proposed interface was based on cards that would separate the content.

App screens
We work with 7 primary emotions

Design System

To ensure consistency and the best delivery for both the developers and the user, a design system was created for the project. Based on Material Design, Embrace was born to facilitate the entire design process and guarantee the best use of the entire UI and reinforce the Hug.u brand strategy during the use of the application.

Some of the items made were: typography, colors, iconography and elements such as cards, buttons and controls.

Elementos do design system

Results and next steps

The Hug.u app is scheduled to be launched in March 2024.

With this product, we hope to meet the needs of generation Z when it comes to seeking help in the field of mental health. We see our product as an auxiliary tool for psychological consultations, giving the professional immeasurable gains in their consultation, taking advantage of data for a more informed action. And for the user, we hope to guarantee a journey of self-knowledge and help in identifying and controlling their emotions.

Our next step is to run tests with end users and receive concise feedback that will help us build a more robust platform that is easily accessible to everyone.

In this context, our next planned feature is the learning trail, where users can better understand the meaning of emotions and use simple exercises such as meditation or focus to balance their emotions.

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