snickerDoodle mobile app

Bringing people together through doodling and storytelling

Project info

I collaborated with a team of students from Carnegie Mellon University to design snickerDoodle, a mobile app game that incorporates psychological principles of persuasion to enhance players' overall well-being. The game encourages self-expression through a combination of drawing and writing in response to prompts that are designed to evoke introspection and gratitude. Reflecting on positive experiences while drawing and writing helps players tap into feelings of gratitude. Players can also guess what others have drawn and written, broadening life perspectives and increasing feelings of connection. snickerDoodle was designed for the course Persuasive Design at CMU.

ux designer
ux researcher
project manager

3 product designers
3 ux researchers

September - December 2022
4 months

My contributions

I collaborated with team members to create prototypes for user testing. I led the high-fidelity design and the integration of psychological principles of persuasion into the user flow. I conducted user testing sessions with 5 participants and consulted 2 psychology experts to gather research insights. As the project manager, I delegated tasks to optimize the team's skills, ensuring everyone contributed to their project interests.



The mundane routine of daily work makes it easy to forget the "little things in life" that bring us joy. However, existing gratitude apps lack the engagement necessary to truly benefit users.


snickerDoodle fosters gratitude through a game of drawing and storytelling. Transforming gratitude exercises into a game format activates a self-affirmation cycle, encouraging personal reflection and heightening awareness of what evokes happiness.

Final design

Self-expression through doodling and storytelling allows game players to reflect on their thoughts and emotions, evoking gratitude.

The act of doodling brings about child-like joy and creativity that is oftentimes forgotten about as adults. After doodling, taking a moment to write a brief reflection allows for deeper contemplation. Sharing these reflections with others fosters a sense of community.


Pick a prompt ranging from silly and lighthearted to nostalgic and reflective.


Doodle the answer to the prompt in less than 30 seconds.


Write the doodle answer to be guessed and doodle story to be read.

Guessing others' doodles and reading their stories broadens players' life perspectives.

Once player's have guessed a doodle correctly, the story behind the doodle is revealed. Reading these stories helps players gain insights into their own life experiences while creating a stronger connection with others.

User research

Participants struggle being in the present moment because they carry home work-related stresses.

I conducted 3 user research sessions using new metaphors to uncover emotions evoked by participants' work life. This helped to determine the optimal time to introduce an intervention in the app.

"Even though you're done with work at the end of the day, you might have residual emotions from work that follow you home."

Consulting psychology experts

Recalling positive thoughts and experiences instills hope and promotes mindfulness.

I led an interview with 2 psychology experts who specialize in teaching mindfulness and gratitude practices.

"Grounding positive past experiences in the present gets my patients into a better state and out of trauma."

Mapping the user flow

I led identifying where persuasive principles would initiate a cycle of self-affirmation along the user flow.

After finalizing the game concept, I created a user journey to map where to incorporate persuasive principles to maximize psychological impact. Our project focuses on implementing the self-affirmation cycle, which reinforces players' feelings of gratitude through reflection of their positive past experiences. Other persuasive principles employed are intermixing, obfuscation, and social proof.


I created wireframes to articulate how game elements support gratitude and self-affirmation practices.

I translated the game concept and early sketches into wireframes for user testing. As a team, we iterated upon these wireframes to incorporate user testing findings.

User testing

We refined onboarding screens to provide more comprehensive game instructions to increase user confidence when using the app.

I conducted 5 user testing sessions to evaluate gaps in our understanding of users' mental model of the game. As a team, we synthesized and translated user testing findings into design changes. We clarified the instructions in the onboarding steps to address users' uncertainty about how to play.

Final design features

snickerDoodle increases feelings of gratitude by encouraging personal reflection of what brings one happiness.

I realized that creating a game that engages users and encourages them to continue playing the game was crucial to achieving the project goal. Integrating persuasive principles into the game mechanics encouraged users to stay engaged and motivated, while at the same time promoting positive mental health.

Separation of friends and public feeds enables players with different privacy comfort levels to use the app. Scrolling through public or friends feed broadens perspectives on life by viewing other players' posts.

A recall feature helps players remember and engrain the memory of posts, increasing the psychological impact. This also helps to keep players accountable during their journey to increasing positive well-being.

Next steps

Define more concrete success metrics and design research methods to measure impact.

Measuring the impact of mental health interventions is challenging due to its subjectivity, making it difficult to assess accurately. If I had more time, I would create more defined success metrics and conduct user testing with additional methods of testing mental health impact, such as creating a survey.


I learned how to design implementing psychological principles of persuasion.

My experience taught me how to use psychological principles of persuasion to drive design decisions that positively impact people's outlook on life. Our team used these principles to create a mobile app game that is engaging, entertaining, and promotes gratitude and positive mental health, making a difference in the lives of those who play it.

Shout out to my amazing team! 🫶

Lukas Chen, Roong Vorasucha, Charlene Chen, Subha Ramkumar, Yvonne Huang, Alicia Ng