Categories: UX/UI, User Research

Partners: NAVER Intern Team


This is the problem space that my team and I tackled during my internship at NAVER Corporation in Seongnam, South Korea. Our solution, called BreakMake, is a mobile application that aims to boost the user’s self-esteem by helping them break bad habits and make new ones through challenges and rewards.

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who is naver and what did i do there?

NAVER Corporation is an Internet content service company in Seongnam, South Korea that operates Korea’s #1 search engine, NAVER. Often referred to as the “Google of South Korea”, NAVER Corporation provides services to people all over the world, mostly Asian users. Other than their search engine, they have subsidiary companies such as LINE, the #1 messenger app used in Japan, and SNOW, a photo and video app widely used in Asia.

During my internship at NAVER this past summer, I worked under the Incubation Studio, a studio under NAVER that finds new opportunity spaces for NAVER to explore. I got to work in a team of 5 fellow interns, and we were assigned to create a digital product that incorporates emerging technology for users in their early twenties.


the process

During the course of the summer, my team and I went through an extensive design process before we landed on one application as a solution. We went through many rounds of concept ideation, design sprints, and affinity exercises to explore and narrow down various problem spaces. Once we narrowed down to one problem space, we went through more rounds of concept ideation and design sprints, which led us to a single application and user workflow. From there we prototyped and refined a user interface to compliment our concept.

An overview of what our 8 week design process looked like

An overview of what our 8 week design process looked like

1. identifying problem spaces

To begin the process, our team first identified different problem spaces we can possibly delve into. We did this through mind-mapping various problem spaces that different age groups can have, ranging from high school students to young adults in their mid-twenties. We then grouped similar problem spaces and concept ideas and narrowed them down to a single concept statement. For each statement, we identified pain points and areas where we could potentially introduce a solution.

2. Creating proposition statements

From the mind-mapping exercise, we found six different problem spaces we could delve into, and for each problem space we created proposition statements in the form of “How Might We” statements. Through discussion and critique sessions with mentors, and preliminary competitive research, our team decided to delve into the problem space of low self-esteem in young adults.

3. root causes of low self-esteem

Because low self-esteem is such a broad problem space, we decided to narrow down our scope by searching for root causes of low self-esteem. Through primary and secondary research, we were able to guide our concepts and potential solution ideas to be more specific. Conducting surveys, interviews, competitive analysis and user research, we were able to find that some recurring root causes of low self-esteem in college students were low motivation, an unbalanced lifestyle and setting unrealistic goals. How might we target these root causes in our solution?

4. making product statements

Taking these root causes into consideration, we did a two-day design sprint, where we did multiple sessions of rapid ideating of solutions that can combat these root causes. Through this, we were able to see which root causes of low self-esteem made sense in a digital landscape and for our audience of college students. This then led us to figuring out the two key product concepts that could help boost self-esteem in college students: developing one’s strengths and combatting an unbalanced lifestyle.


5. introducing habits as concept

Although we found our key product concepts, we still needed a more concrete and specific concept. How might we help college students develop their strengths, while combatting their unbalanced lifestyle? Through more research and ideating, we found that what brings together our two key product concepts is practicing healthy habits. Healthy habits can bring a more balanced lifestyle, while also helping college students develop their strengths as well. From this point, our mission statement became: “How might we raise self-esteem for students by motivating them to build achievable habits?”


6. user workflows and key features

We did more specific research on habits, how people usually practice or develop healthy habits, and what problems they face when practicing habits. We also did extensive competition analysis, to find what current products are doing well or not so well.

Our team spent a lot of time doing design sprints, doing rapid ideating and having long discussions to form workflows and key features that made sense. One thing we thought a lot about was “How can we keep the user motivated throughout the habit making process?” Through this process, we were able to find three main features that our app needs:

  1. Habit Discovery

  2. Habit Practice

  3. Motivation

But one question was still lingering: What are the users getting out of developing habits? This prompted us to reframe our concept to “breaking a bad habit to make a good habit”. To make a habit, users have to break a bad habit first, allowing them to get rid of bad qualities that were lowering self-esteem while also gaining good qualities to boost self-esteem. This would keep the users engaged because it gives them a reason to keep making good habits. This concept led to our final product statement:

A motivating app that provides “small and fun challenges” for breaking bad habits and making good habits.

7. ui visual design

Once we found a workflow that worked, we started to iterate and prototype our app. We went through many different iterations of color schemes, layouts, icons and content to figure out what would be best for our audience. After many iterations, we came to our final product


final product: breakmake app

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feature 1: HABIT PAIRING

When the user comes into the app, they are prompted to pair a habit to break and a habit to make. These aren’t just random pairings. Once the user chooses a habit they want to break, there are a list of habits they can make that correlates to the habit they chose to break.

Habit Pairing

Habit Pairing

feature 2: Achievable challenges

Through research, we found that breaking down a habit into smaller achievable steps is crucial in a habit making process. This helps the user feel motivated and accomplished through small victories, and also lessens the feeling of failure if they are not able to do so. We broke down each break habit into small challenges that users can accomplish, and enables them to move closer to developing that habit.

feature 3: rewards

To accomplish a challenge, the user must go through image validation to show that they have completed the task. Through image recognition, the app is able to scan the image and look for components that prove that the user has done the task. Once the task is complete, the user collects an emoji token. Emoji tokens are crucial in our app because this is what motivates the users by showing them their progress. These emoji tokens then are translated into “break tokens”, that can be used to create a challenge for the make habit.


Once the user collects “break tokens”, they are able to unlock more options to complete their make habits. This gives the user an incentive to complete more break challenges so that they are able to make better make challenges. By using geo-location, the app suggests different locations the user can complete their make challenge. Once the user commits, they validate that they have done it through the same image recognition, and receives an emoji token.