Throughout the design process, I asked some of the users who had filled out the preliminary questionnaire for their opinions on my work in progress and conducted some A/B testing.
Minimalism vs. Comfort
I played with a very minimalist design
in the spirit of Medium and other distraction-free environments, with a mostly white background and line icons, thinking it would be the best solution for users' concerns about being easily distracted.
After showing it to users, however, I found that while it wasn't distracting, some users said it also made journaling feel less intimate.
The white interface was too sterile and empty,
and in an ideal world
an online diary would feel comforting and friendly
--a safe space to express yourself.
I added more colors, making the purple accent more prominent, and added more rounded edges. I also made the bookmark button bigger and at the top of the entry, much like where a bookmark would go in a real book.