Improving mental health and resilience via a customisable digital platform


The client

Happence is a people and technology company. Happence was built on the knowledge that, by proactively promoting people’s mental health, you can unlock the productivity-enhancing power of a happy, healthy workforce. A team of neuroscientists and experts are paving the way for a new kind of workplace wellbeing: one that helps individuals, teams and leaders thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Happence Platform home page

The challenge

According to recent research, more than half of the populations of middle- and high-income countries are likely to suffer from at least one mental health condition during their lifetime. Leaders and employees alike are increasingly suffering from symptoms of burnout, such as abseentism, loss of productivity, lack of motivation, and even depression and anxiety.

5 out of 10 people are likely to suffer from at least one mental health condition

The World Health Organization estimates that depression, anxiety disorders, and other conditions cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

Happence sought to change that by supporting corporate, educational and private clients to increase their resilience, mental health and wellbeing, and ultimately become happier and more productive. We set out to help Happence scale sustainably with a new digital ecosystem which would put tools in the hands of users, provide an intuitive and engaging space and promote community. The new platform would focus on providing a modular resilience programme which could be rolled out in organisations at various levels according to the content and personal support required.

Happence Platform home page

The journey to launch

When the Happence team approached us, they already had a rough plan for their platform, but really wanted to take things to the next level in order to serve their users better. We assembled a cross-functional team including UX and UI designers, front- and backend developers, and a project manager. During the highly collaborative discovery phase we worked to map and document user journeys early on.

In order to simplify a complex process, we worked to map and document user journeys early on during a highly collaborative discovery phase. We broke down the path through the various assessments into easily digestible units in ‘now’ and ‘next’ form. We identified phases of measurement, upskilling and consolidation, creating an interactive resilience scoring mechanism to enable users to learn where and how they can improve.

The Tech

  • PostgreSQL
  • NginX
  • Linux
  • PHP 7.4
  • Symfony PHP Framework
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • Javascript

Third-party integrations

  • Office 365
  • Amazon SES
  • Worldpay
  • Cisco Webex Meetings
  • Tokbox
  • Brightcove
Unicef development program
Unicef development program

Key Features

Deciding on which features to launch in the first iteration of an app, is a common conversation during any build. An even greater consideration, due to the topic matter of this particular app, was the possibility of having too many features that would overwhelm a new user that is already struggling with their mental wellbeing. That said, we kept our first launch simple and easy to use.

Modular architecture

All Happence functionalities were developed to be modular, with multiple possible journeys through the material and varying levels of one-to-one support. This way, employers looking to adopt Happence for their teams could easily customise the platform, based on their organization’s needs. Happence, on the other hand, could offer more flexible pricing for clients, so that they only pay for the services they use.

The Happence Pathways

With Happence Pathways, users could get a deeper understanding of the different aspects of their own wellbeing, such as psychological resilience, social wellbeing, sleep, stress & worry and more. Each pathway consists of carefully selected collection of training videos and resources on a specific topic, provided by Happence’s professionals. We incorporated small assessments at key points of the journey, as well as a resilience score to help users track the progress they have made.

Unicef development program
Unicef development program
Unicef development program

Establishing security

Security was paramount, so we proactively built the platform with stringent security and accessibility standards. We worked on a database architecture that would allow some data to be stored externally per client requirements. We also anonymised all personal data, so that employees felt safe and secure that their personal struggles were not accessible by anyone, unless they intended to.

Security guiding policies:

  • Information security requirements similar to ISO 27001
  • The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Secure Coding Practices

Designing a soothing user interface

It was important to make the visual elements of the platform appealing, in order to ease the flow through all the elements and keep the users motivated and connected. We designed the entire user experience to do just this, using calm graphics with rounded corners and a soothing colour palette in green, pink, blue, and white. The custom illustrations, on the other hand, made the platform memorable and easily recognisable for users. We wanted to make sure we were sensitive to those dealing with mental health and, as such, made sure to avoid any triggering words throughout the app’s interface.

Happence Platform home page

Happence making an impact

Since its launch in 2019, Happence has been supporting over 24 thousand employees from various sectors, including Banking, Financial services and Insurance to improve their wellbeing and mental state and be in better control of their own wellbeing. Out of all registered users, almost 78% are actively using the platform, taking small steps towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.

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Despark’s team works less as an agency and more like another team you have in-house. They really got what we were trying to build, going beyond the call of duty you’d expect from an agency. They’d help us find things we didn’t even realise were going to be an issue and in some cases fix them before they become an issue.

Richard Knight, Product Lead at Happence