Daryna
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Headspace

New features exploration for a meditation app

 
 

Challenge

 

Headspace helps people learn to meditate and maintain an ongoing mindfulness practice. The company is constantly looking for the best way to teach meditation and mindfulness to as many people as possible.

The task is to provide a prototype of new the feature(s), integrated seamlessly within the rest of the app.

This is a capstone project completed through Designlab’s UX Academy in September 2018. This was a passion project and is in no way affiliated with Headspace.

 
 
 

 

My role

Research, UX/UI Design, Prototyping, Testing
Duration: 80 hours

 

Research 

I wanted to learn why and how people usually meditate, how do they build routine and long-term habit. I was also interested is there a need for Headspace to expand to other platforms and which platforms users might benefit from.

Total of 7 interviews were conducted with people practicing meditation at least once in a while, both Headspace users and not, beginners and people practicing for 10+ years. Geographically participants were located in Finland, US and Australia.

Jobs to be Done

To analyze the interviews, I used JTBD framework. It is based on the notion that customers don’t buy products — they hire them to do a job.

 
 
 

Personalization Story:

When I open Headspace

I want to see suggestions tailored for me

So I can start my meditation as soon as possible

Motivation Story:

When I wake up in the morning

I want to calm my thoughts in my head 

So I can be more present during the day

 
 
 

Impact Story:

When I meditate regularly

I want to understand how meditation influence my body

So I can have factual evidence of it

Motivation Story:

When I come back from work

I want to unwind from work-related stress

So I can relax in body and mind

 
 

Design opportunities

 

How might we help beginners start practicing meditation with ease and comfort?

People who have been practicing meditation for a long time have different needs from people who just started. More experienced people have meditation as a part of their daily routine and don’t have problems with sticking to it. They also rarely use any digital tools. Headspace fits the needs of beginners much better.

 

How might we provide personalized meditation experience according to people’s needs?

Influence of meditation is quite similar for everyone: people feel calmer, more focused and in control. At the same time, people tend to shape meditation according to their needs: different duration, topic, the time of the day and importance of gamification. One pain point for current Headspace users is to find meditation that fits their needs and current environment.

 

How might we demonstrate the way meditation influence people better?

People praise Headspace for its simplicity and ease of use. They talk about Andy (the voice of Headspace) as almost a friend. It is not complicated at all to start meditation once you settle to do it. Sticking to routine, however, is a challenge. Analogy between meditation and workout is common. Seeing positive impact of meditation on everyday life helps in building a habit of meditation.

 

Secondary research and ideation

For my secondary research I found a lot of discussion boards related to meditation in general and Headspace in particular. I also started one discussion on Reddit asking Headspace users for feature suggestions. By combining this data with suggestions from in-depth interviews, I compiled a long list of features.

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On the second stage of analysis, I compared all suggested features against HMW statements and how every feature would contribute to Headspace value proposition. It resulted in filtering out of some. Here is a collection of features that contribute to the core experience.

New approach to start meditation

To address the need to start meditation with ease and comfort, right away and to personalize experience.

Current Homepage

Ideation for new homepage

 

New Homepage designed for beginners to start meditation right away and not to get distracted inside the app

New Suggestions feature to address frustration when current pack ended and the need for advice what to do next

New navigation item “My Journey” to see the history of meditations and to come back to the ones users especially liked

 

Meditation plus wearables for better sleep 

The interviews showed that people are interested to see how meditation influence their body. One area of health and well-being that could benefit from Headspace platform is sleep. How to harvest the potential of wearables to show the influence of meditation on your sleep?

 

According to World Sleep Day statistics, sleep deprivation is threatening the health of up to 45% of the world's population. Meditation has been shown to improve the quality and efficiency of sleep. Headspace recently launched Sleep by Headspace (September 2018) to help its users with healthy, restful sleep.

To envision possible integration, I chose Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker, one of the most popular apps for iOS that uses your phone or Apple Watch sensors to track sleep duration and quality.

Landscape screen mode follows Pillow’s existing design pattern.

Reflections and next steps

 

Research was the most interesting and rewarding part of the project. One of the pain points identified was difficulty finding meditation for user taste. Couple of weeks after completing this project, Headspace announced redesign their discovery feature to tackle exactly this pain point so I managed to identify relevant insight.

Ideation was harder than I expected because the app features were clear, simple and well designed. Next time I’d start with ideation earlier and look for the ways to collaborate with Headspace team to understand their context.

If I had more time, I'd spend it on further iterations and testing to improve the features.

 

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