Announcement: Userbrain is now All Shapes!

Intelligent Change

5 Minute Journal

Design and development of a popular, multi-platform journalling app

  • UI + UX Design
  • Android
  • iOS
  • iPadOS
  • watchOS
  • macOS
App Store app of the day award and 15k+ reviews award

A popular paper partner

Designed for practising daily gratitude, 5 Minute Journal is a fully featured freemium app with a premium design aesthetic. We worked with Intelligent Change to produce a suite of apps across multiple platforms that bring their popular paper journal to life.

Screenshot of Insights screen

iOS App

After a false start with a different developer, we completely overhauled and rebuilt the app for a version 2 in 2015 that was hugely successful on the App Store.

Initially using a one-off payment model, version 3 added a significant number of features, now offered as a premium subscription add-on to the free journalling app.

Composition of screenshots with Guides, Gallery and journal entry detail screens
  • Morning and evening journalling
  • Daily mood tracking
  • Photo journalling
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Homescreen widgets
  • Journalling reminders
  • Dark mode

Focused features

In the continued development of 5MJ it’s been important to provide users with all the features they need for a full journalling experience, while also keeping the UI simple, engaging and pleasing to use.


It’s all in the detail

This app needed to provide a highly polished design experience to ensure users kept coming back and formed a positive journalling habit. We spent a lot of time on every detail, down to the tiniest micro-interactions, designed to spark joy with every use.

Screenshot of step composer on iOS and notification on Android version of the app.

What we did

Screenshots of quote screen on iPad

01 Strategy

With the power of Intelligent Change’s popularity behind us, the core focus was to provide a high quality experience that was worthy of their brand.

02 Research

Since the product was already successful as a paper journal, stakeholder workshops became the key to early research development. We worked with the client to ensure all their valuable expertise was realised in the digital version.

A composition of elements from Insights screen

03 UX Design

It was important to work with design patterns that support positive habit formation. We wanted to ensure that each screen gives the user a singular focus, and interactions are intuitive and meaningful.

04 Branding

We applied Intelligent Change’s branding to the app thoughtfully, through minimalist design.

A composition of elements from Gallery and Mood selector screens.

05 UI Design

The UI for 5MJ is incredibly refined. We obsessed over every detail of the layout, styling and microinteractions to produce a top quality app.

06 Development

Development has been closely married with design to ensure the quality is carried through to the final experience. We have moved through two major version updates and provision for multiple platforms, from Watch to Tablet to Desktop.

I’ve tried countless times to have a journaling practice and I actually look forward to this. I was easily able to journal every day for almost a month. I replaced morning and evening Instagram scrolling with this and it has actually made a difference in my mental health.

Customer Review, App Store
Composition of screenshots of Guides feature

The Big Picture

Working on the 5 Minute Journal has been a gratifying experience. The response from users has been incredible, with many telling heart-warming stories of how 5MJ has had a positive impact on their lives. Some even use the app to support various therapies. We’re proud to be part of a product making such a huge difference to people.


Active monthly users


App Store Rating



The Bottom Line

The numbers speak for themselves. 5 Minute Journal has more than X daily active users and a 4.8/5 star rating on the app store from more than 14,000 ratings. Apple has featured the app multiple times, and it is regularly mentioned in unexpected places – from major publications to popular podcasts. Intelligent Change has gone on to build additional digital products with 5 Minute Journal remaining their flagship product, allowing them to augment their physical product business with an equally popular digital arm.

Related Projects

RNT Fitness

Creating a complete social learning platform to transform the way people train.

Allen’s Camera

Helping a brick and mortar store to become a modern ecommerce powerhouse.