Can documenting and sharing moments of happiness actually make us happier?


Happy people are healthier and live longer.  They are more likely to help others. And there is a direct correlation between happiness and better problem solving.  In light of that, if we could identify and reflect on moments of discrete happiness, is it possible that could change our behavior so that we’re actually happier?

My Role

UX Designer. With time running out and the final documentation delivery deadline quickly approaching, I joined the project to fix unresolved interactions, reduce friction points, design unfinished screens, and create documentation.


The client, a top healthwellness creative agency, initially spec’d the native iOS app as a way to catalog and document moments that brought personal happiness. The second version of the requirements included new functionality — social networking to add the ability to share with others. Additionally, it increased the number of types of happy moments to include “ephiphanies”, “music”,“landscapes,” and others.  I had a week to design new components and deliver high-fidelity documentation.

Design Decisions

One of the challenges was reconciling the friction point created by requiring users to categorize the type of their happy memory (person, place, thought, etc.) with the benefit of being able to view happy moments by type. While feedback indicated that the latter was a nice way to view posts, there was not sufficient user data at the time to determine whether it actually made the experience better or was unlikely to be used.  As a result, all of the additional post types that were requested were removed from the spec for this version.

An additional challenge was the design of the ‘happy wall’ –  a visualization of the user’s posts.  The requirement was to allow a user to view their posts and friends’ posts and sort them by type, level of happiness, newest, and nearest. I believed the number of options would create confusion and dilute the experience rather than improve it. The stakeholders agreed and the additional sort filters were removed for the initial release.

Menu overlay with account options and primary user functions.
Main Screen.
"People" input with basic controls for image capture.
Second screen for posting - adding title, fuel gauge, and additional metadata.
Example post


With a bevy of social media apps already available, user adoption of this app depended on providing a meaningful yet different social interaction and delivering that in an easy, pleasant and straightforward experience. Both of these could benefit from continued refinement.

Through feedback and process, a lot of complexity was removed, and stakeholders deserve credit for flexibility and adjusting business requirements, but more simplification would be beneficial. Additionally, the tight timeline affected ability to collect feedback or meaningful data  to present to stakeholders.