gradmindfull: Empower your academic journey with like-minded people

Discover a holistic approach to student wellness that fosters productivity, creativity, and self-care within a supportive community — all within a single, intuitive iOS app tailored exclusively for students.

5 min readMar 25, 2024


In today’s fast-paced world, where physical and mental well-being have gained paramount importance, the need for wellness apps is more apparent than ever. While many such apps offer guidance on exercise, sleep, and mindfulness, there’s a distinct gap when it comes to catering to the unique challenges faced by students. Enter gradmindfull: the all-in-one solution designed to help students relax, feel empowered, and succeed in their academic journey alongside like-minded peers. This case study unravels the story of my varied roles throughout the product design process, which I undertook for my solo UX/UI design project at the Iron Hack BootCamp.

Exploring the Gap in the Market

To kick-start the ideation process, I donned my product manager hat and delved into the world of wellness apps, viewing them through the lens of a typical student. My research highlighted a glaring omission: existing apps failed to address the specific needs of students, leaving them underserved in crucial areas such as academic support and stress management.

Understanding User Needs

Transitioning into the role of a user researcher, I conducted qualitative and quantitative research to gain more in-depth insights into the challenges faced by students. Through affinity diagram and empathy mapping, I identified a common struggle: juggling academic responsibilities while combating mental fatigue and external stressors. This laid the groundwork for gradmindfull’s mission to provide comprehensive support for students’ academic and personal well-being.

Designing with Purpose

Equipped with these insights, I enrobed my product designer hat and set out to create a solution that would resonate with students. gradmindfull distinguishes itself by addressing the multifaceted nature of student life, offering a suite of tools — from productivity trackers to mindfulness exercises — that seamlessly integrate into users’ daily routines. Central to the app’s design is the concept of a digital village — a safe space where students can connect, collaborate, and thrive together.

Empowering Through Community

Meet Emily, a graduate student navigating the complexities of academia while grappling with personal and professional aspirations. As I crafted user personas and user flows, Emily emerged as the embodiment of the challenges and aspirations shared by students worldwide. By tailoring gradmindfull to meet Emily’s needs, I ensured that the app resonated with its target audience on a deeply personal level.

User Flows

Defining the Product’s Ethos

gradmindfull isn’t just an app; it’s a digital village for students from diverse backgrounds, championing inclusivity, equity, and social justice. By embedding principles of intersectional feminism and advocacy into its core values, gradmindfull stands as a beacon of hope for marginalized students seeking a supportive community where they can thrive and grow.

Usability Testing Task

Testing and Iterating for Success

Through rigorous concept testing and usability testing, gradmindfull garnered positive feedback for its intuitive design and powerful features. Users praised its seamless integration of academic and personal calendars, as well as its vibrant community-driven ethos. However, feedback also highlighted areas for improvement, such as enhancing text readability and refining the icon set for optimal engagement.

Figma prototype loading might take long — please bear with me!

Charting the Path Forward

As I reflect on this journey, I recognize the importance of collaboration, iteration, and empathy in creating impactful products. While the road ahead may be paved with challenges, I’m inspired by the potential of gradmindfull to empower students worldwide, one mindful moment at a time. Together, let’s embark on a journey of growth, connection, and well-being with gradmindfull.

Here are my key learnings:

— I should have completed product ideation in a shorter period of time.

— Solo work was more challenging compared to redesigning an app, given the additional deliverables in this project.

— Teamwork comes with responsibility, but maintaining self-discipline in a solo project is challenging, especially without the guidance of a tutor.

— Juggling different roles is not feasible; a well-structured team is essential.


In this project, I discovered which aspects of UX/UI design projects I enjoy the most. As a sociologist, I find data collection and the creation of user personas and flows particularly enjoyable. Additionally, I take pleasure in analyzing content-related data and creating site maps, drawing on my project management experience to break down complex ideas into manageable components in the form of information architecture. Ultimately, I find product management fulfilling, as it combines my research and project management roles from my academic and professional backgrounds. I will have the opportunity to further develop gradmindfull and fully realize its potential as a representation of this comprehensive concept in the future.




elif cigdem artan, phd | a passionate sociologist curious about the rich tapestry of everyday life - in digital culture and anti-racist gender equity 🎠