NetGuide NZ - Android App Review: Toxic Thinking

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.
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Android App Review: Toxic Thinking

Toxic Thinking is an app designed to provide information and advice about managing your mental health, and recognising the warning signs of potential mental health problems in yourself and others. This is a noble cause and a genuinely useful app to make, and the fact that the developers have done this (and provided the app for free) is to be commended. However, Toxic Thinking feels like it would have benefitted from some more work on the app’s presentation to better live up to its content.

The first thing you notice about this app is that it’s clearly made for a tablet. Using it on a phone requires you to zoom right in just to read the text, which seems like an irritating and unnecessary step – especially since it’s one that pretty much every other text-based app solved several generations ago. Once you’re zoomed in enough at you can actually read it the app’s design is fine and functional, but varies in style between pages which makes it feel disjointed and unpolished.

Also annoying is the fact that if you leave your device alone long enough that the screen locks, then the app will take you right back to its introductory screen – so if you were halfway through reading a section and had to put your phone down for a moment, then you now have to repeat all the (unnecessarily) annoying navigation just to get back to where you were. The app also has a title screen before the menu screen, which is a little weird.

It’s a shame because the information, however badly presented, does seem like it might be pretty useful. Toxic Thinking not only gives you information about ways to help yourself and your mental health, but also tells you the signs to watch out for in others who might be struggling. The Google Play entry says the app is used extensively in schools by ‘Guidance Officers, Teachers, Nurses and Chaplains’ and while there’s no reference to back that claim up, I can see why it could be true.

Toxic Thinking unfortunately seems like an example of a good (noble, even) idea ruined by poor execution. An app that helps you recognise the signs of poor mental health or impending problems, in yourself and others, seems like a thing that many people would find useful. But Toxic Thinking just doesn’t do the app side of it well enough for me to comfortably recommend it.

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