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SAN FRANCISCO — Making medicines isn’t about aesthetics. Your pill doesn’t need to be pretty to work.

But with mental health apps, good design is half the battle. App makers have to be able to translate traditional therapy techniques into easy exercises that people can flip through on their phones. They have to make it responsive and, in theory, they have to make it effective. They also have to convince people the app is something they can trust — and can turn to when they’re feeling anxious.

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