The fast-growing prevalence of mental health disorders has become a global challenge in recent years and necessitates a greater focus on providing treatment and care to people in need. Consequently, a positive recognition of the promise of mental health digital applications to promote awareness, expand access, and speed up diagnosis has been established. However, very little attention has been given to the characteristics of vulnerable psychiatric patients and the influence on their cognitive functioning, making it challenging for them to comprehend the web content. As a matter of fact, the design of a mental health website often plays a significant role in message delivery; failure to accommodate the user's particular needs will result in poor user retention (Matthews, et al. 2015, 86). Therefore, an urgent improvement is needed to establish the connection between design and its psychological effect and apply the exploration to address special needs when designing a mental health website for users with mental illness. This project reviews the current design solution used in web-based digital applications for mental health issues and pinpoints the design elements that are most likely to cause problems for people with mental disorders. Through two parts of user research and comparative product analysis, this project aims to identify the weaknesses of the current mental health website design approach and propose a new method to better practice empathetic user experience design for people with mental illness.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mental illness--Computer network resources--Design; User interfaces (Computer systems)--Design; Accessible Web sites for people with disabilities

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Visual Communication Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CAD)


Adam Smith


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes