First app design process and concept

The assignment:

“Perhaps the second most used variable by marketing and advertising is the sense of hearing. Corporations realize that visual objects are not sufficient to influence the consumer purchase decisions and decide to provide new features to their products and brands. Create an app the deals with sound weather its music based, or relaxation sounds, etc.”

For our second project in Brand Design 2, we were asked to design an app that somehow dealt with the sense of hearing. Initially, I considered a huge range of categories that had opportunities for audio solutions, including health care, meditation and music. I narrowed down my problem area to a space of meditation and mental coaching.

In speaking with a classmate, we wondered how I could differentiate another meditation app from all of the existing successful apps right now (Headspace, Calm, Simple Habit, etc.). I downloaded 5–6 meditation apps and experienced different features and methods in each. In thinking about successful features on some of the existing apps, I found the “On-the-Go” meditation section of Simple Habit to be interesting and highly specific for a user’s daily life.

Simple Habit’s On-the-Go feature

The option allows users to choose a particular activity, then a feeling within that activity. The meditation is curated based on what the user is currently doing and feeling. Rather than offering a daily mediation practice that is tied to overall mindfulness, it allows users to receive guidance in real time for what they are experiencing.

I really liked this ability, so I committed to an idea of a situational meditation/mental coaching app that would provide short audio clips from mindfulness professionals to guide users through specific situations in real time. For example, a 1-minute guided mediation to help alleviate anger after a fight, or calm nerves before a big presentation.

I thought of the name “Moment”, signifying the moment users would take to “escape” their current situation to breathe and listen to a short guided meditation. The idea seemed to offer something new in an existing/thriving market of meditation, and would provide value to people looking for on-the-go situational meditation. It wasn’t until I presented my initial idea to the class that we ran into some significant barriers.

Things that didn’t really make sense:

-Do people want to listen to an app when they’re in deeply emotional situations?

-Should people rely on their phones to process real-time situations?

-WOULD they use their phones in real-time situations?

-What would the situations be, and how would we come up with all of the possible emotional scenarios?

-What value does it provide outside of heated emotional moments?

The concept had potential, but I decided to refine it to a more niche market with an established set of emotional/psychological challenges that could be successfully addressed with mental coaching.

Pivot Time

Because I’m a long-distance runner (or, was a long distance runner) I have an intimate understanding of the psychological challenges faced by competitive runners who are highly focused on running fast, self-improvement, and dealing with pressure to perform.

There are a number of ways that long distance runners can benefit from working with a sports psychologist, but very few runners have the time or money to do so. “Moment” would now serve to provide mental coaching for distance runners of all levels, with audio content coming from sports psychologists.

The problem: Long distance runners face a number of psychological challenges in their training and racing that can inhibit their performance and overall enjoyment of the sport. Most do not have time, money, or access to a sports psychologist to address these issues and build necessary mental skills.

The solution: An app that provides a series of courses on building mental skills, maintaining a healthy mindset, and receiving guidance in on-the-go situations from trained sports psychologists.

Name: Moment

Process:

1. I conducted a number of interviews with runners to find out what effect their mood had on their performance, the biggest challenges they face psychologically, and if they’ve ever addressed these issues with sports counseling or meditation.

2. Sketches. I sketched out MANY different possible wireframes for the app and logo possibilities.

3. Design possibilities. I created two different app designs in Illustrator to gain feedback from the class. One included photos of runners, the other used icons created in Illustrator.

One of my first designs for the app using icons rather than photos.

4. Refinement. After getting feedback from the class, I decided to combine the designs. I needed to commit to a consistent theme for the photos I chose and find a way to include the icons.

5. Prototype. I put my “final designs” (I still want to improve it a lot), into Invision to create a clickable prototype.

Here are a few of the screens for Moment:

Learnings:

This was my biggest process of iteration so far, both in pivoting in my initial idea and changing my design multiple times. It’s hard to “scrap” an idea after investing time and effort into it, but that’s all part of the process. I’m 70% happy with the designs that I have now, and want to put in some time in creating additional screens to benefit the user experience.