Molehill Mountain: A Self-Help App for Autistic People by Nicola O’Connor "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs 18 November 2019 True customer-centric product development, Mvp, ProductTank, ProductTank London, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 364 Using a phone app Product Management 1.456

Molehill Mountain: A Self-Help App for Autistic People by Nicola O’Connor

Nicola O’Connor is a content strategist at Autistica. In her ProductTank London talk, she gives a recap of her first experience as part of a product team. The product being built is Molehill Mountain, an app for helping autistic people to understand and manage their anxiety. She speaks about:

  • Developing the Molehill Mountain idea
  • Why develop products like this
  • Lessons learned along the way

Watch the video to see Nicola’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of her key points.

Developing the idea

Nicola begins by recapping what brought about the idea for the Molehill Mountain app. Since it was the first time Autistica was involved in something like this it was a great experiment for them to run. While there was no clinical evaluation conducted on the results of the app, its work as a minimal viable product would help to provide results on autism care. Nicola also explains the basics of how the app functions including the use of daily reminders and tips for coping with anxiety.

Why develop products like this

Autistica was founded with the goal of making the lives of autistic people easier. There are various challenges for people suffering from autism including dealing with anxiety. They sought to find a way to improve the health of everyone and see if this could be done through the use of an app. Licensing an app like Molehill Mountain for treating autism was only a possibility, but it required high-quality research evidence to show that it could save the National Health Service in the UK money in treating autistic people.

Lessons learned along the way

The main takeaway from the talk was what the team at Autisitca was able to learn by building the app, including:

  • Having an early stage prototype can aid in receiving the necessary funding to continue building a product
  • It also helps with getting the right advice and creating a team
  • It’s important to understand the needs of the users and make sure they are being met with any MVP
  • User testing also shouldn’t be overlooked as it can win the hearts of minds of users, executives and team members