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niggle for Kids Helpline

ui/ux design

A niggle is a feeling that won't go away. It grows and grows and has a life of its own. When you have a niggle, it can be hard to deal with on your own. This app, developed by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Design Lab in partnership with Kids Helpline, helps you capture your niggle and do something about it.


Due to the rising demand for youth counseling, over 40% of requests for help from Kids Helpline are going unanswered. The niggle app is designed to take pressure off their existing counselling services by promoting self-efficacy and empowering young people to track and maintain their mental health and wellbeing.

Designing with young

people, for young people

Thirty young people aged 12-25 took part in ten co-design workshops to shape the design of the app. The research and design process prioritised young people’s lived experience in determining the key content and design features. The co-design process ensured young people retained agency and control over the design choices.



An expert team of Kids Helpline counsellors, psychologists and designers worked together with young people to design niggle. 30 young people participated in the app design, and over 700 young people were involved in a study of the app’s efficacy, which suggested that niggle helped increase their wellbeing and resilience. I was the Lead UI/UX designer on this project, working alongside a team of researchers at QUT. I was responsible for designing and facilitating participatory design workshops with young people, agile prototype development, visual data analysis, UI/UX design, branding, developing marketing and launch material, and creating instructional videos. The first iteration of niggle launched nationally in October 2019.


The niggle

A niggle is an amorphous blob, customised to your current emotions, issues and physical and mental health. Your niggle represents all of the things that are bothering you, big or small. Over time, the goal is to take steps to make your niggle smaller. Users can "check in" to update their niggle and track how it changes over time.


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Make it your own

The Niggle app is heavily customisable, allowing young people to play with coloured skins to compliment their niggle, and personalised backgrounds will be added in future iterations of the app. This creates a safe, personal and familiar space for young people to feel empowered in addressing their issues.


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The journey to wellbeing

The experience of the niggle app is designed around young people’s personal wellbeing journeys.

Key features of the app each relate to one of six stages of the journey from being unwell to wellbeing.


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Marketing for the app launch was designed to promote the app through both Kids Helpline and QUT channels, with various print and digital materials needed to introduce niggle to the world.



The Launch

The Niggle app was launched at The Cube at QUT, inviting stakeholders, industry leaders, health professionals, designers, researchers and project participants to celebrate the collaborative process behind Niggle

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Dr Oksana Zelenko - Lead Investigator, QUT

John Dalgleish - Partner Investigator, yourtown

Prof Leanne Hides - Chief Investigator

UQ Prof Gavin Sade - Chief Investigator, QUT



Prof David Kavanagh - QUT Faculty of Health

Associate Professor Angela Cooke-Jackson

State California University, USA SENIOR



Dr Aleksandra Staneva

A/Prof Calvin Smith



Stoyan Stoyanov



Jessica Cheers - Lead designer, QUT Design Lab

Dr Madhavan Mani - Lead Developer

Robyn Maguire - yourtown, Content Coordinator

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