Making Meditation a Priority
The National Wellness Institute (NWI) was founded in 1977. NWI promotes health and provides wellness coaches with resources and services for wellness growth. The company has been very successful over the years and are a trusted source for all things wellness related (we all want to be healthy and well, don't we?).
Although the NWI has had great success, they have been slow to catch up with technology. As a result, there has been a substantial drop in memberships. The NWI needs to find an innovative way to add value to their members, and they have decided to do this by creating a set of digital wellness tools for wellness coaches - but NWI realizes this is easier said than done.
Despite the abundance of personal metrics and health apps, people continue to struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Along with entering the mobile health (mHealth) space with a health and wellness app, they also want to update their image by creating a new visual system that reflects their innovative and refreshed approach to wellness.
After brainstorming on ways to improve health and wellness, I chose meditation because it is something personal to me. I got into meditation recently, and it has truly helped me in countless areas of my life. Yet, I experience the same challenge that NWI recognizes: even though I pay for an app service, I find that I don’t always prioritize it even knowing the benefits of it.
Project Scope and Requirements
I was required to conduct user research to understand people’s relationship with either mental, physical, or emotional wellbeing in order to develop a tool that will drive them to action.
The National Wellness Institute’s long term plan is to have the new digital product available as a responsive website, native iOS app, and native Android app. I chose to create an iPhone app based on the research I conducted – I found that most people had iPhones.
Requirements included users being able to set up their profile to include important information relevant to their goals, setting goals and tracking progress, and sharing their stats with their wellness coaches. The UI should reflect a modern and fresh image.
I completed initial research on meditation apps that are already in the app store to help me position the Mastermind meditation app in the digital market. I looked at competitors like Headspace, the Mindfulness App, Calm, Buddhify, Insight Timer, Smiling Mind, Sattva, Simple Habit, and 10% Happier. My goal was to reposition the NWI from being a mostly traditional service with no digital presence, to becoming an innovative iOS app on the border of luxury and value.
Through the competitive and features analysis, I analyzed specific features identified as must haves by the client: progress tracker, goal setting, and sharing progress. I also analyzed unique options so I could find the gaps in the market. Coupled with results from user research, filling those gaps would help make the NWI meditation app unique.
I then created a lean UX canvas to clearly understand the big picture, identify the problem and users, understand the business, come up with hypotheses, and start thinking of solutions.
Based on business metrics including increased customer retention, an increase in memberships, and an increase in user-wellness coach communication, I'll know the Mastermind app has been successful for NWI.
To help gather survey and interview information, I put a lean survey canvas together to understand what I really needed to learn from the target group, including screener questions to ensure I was questioning the right target users, and questions about current user habits, motivations, goals, and frustrations.
Once I identified the information I needed to learn, I created a survey to gather quantitative data and had 261 respondents:
90% of those surveyed were between ages 18-45
59.4% of those surveyed didn’t prioritize meditation or had no time (current frustration)
Over 75% said meditation relieves stress and anxiety (current motivation)
To gather qualitative research, I conducted 13 interviews. I interviewed one subject matter expert who said “when the world is spinning around me and I meditate, everything is okay”. I also reached out to SPRINT author Jake Knapp on Twitter, and he graciously replied to my question asking how he prioritizes tasks in life. He responded with a link to an article about creating burner lists, which are basically simplified to-do lists that prioritize one task at a time. The most telling quotes I got from my interviews:
“I’ll meditate more consistently when I stop working at Office Depot, marry rich, and move to an island!”
“I meditate on an as freak out basis!”
Research Analysis + Insights
After gathering all of the research, I was able to create the (very ridiculous yet extremely helpful) affinity map you see above. This helped me synthesize, organize, and thematize my research so I could analyze it. The main research insights were as follows:
People are interested in meditating more but don’t prioritize it and most are not consistent
All respondents like how they feel after meditating
Meditation comes in different forms such as prayer, art, music, marijuana, hugging trees, and creating mental palaces as safe places
Completing the research allowed me to revisit and revise my how might we statement because the problem started becoming more clear:
How might we encourage users to prioritize meditation so they can move from occasional to consistent meditators, improving their overall health and wellness?
The qualitative and quantitative research I conducted helped me identify a target audience and create a target user for the Mastermind app: a creative, health conscious yuppie millennial who meditates.
My main user persona is Yuppie Yana, a single, 29 year old communications specialist by day and artist by night, living in Miami, FL. She is a career-oriented, health conscious, intelligent and creative female. Yana is applying for a promotion at work and is seeking other job opportunities because there are several qualified candidates for the promotion. She often loses track of time and worries about her professional advancement, causing her to have long days, leading to not being able to create her art. Yana occasionally meditates to regain focus, relax, and clear her mind, but she has not prioritized it into her daily routine.
Yana's main goals are to become one with her inner soul in order to relax and reach perfect stillness, give her mind a “nap” so she can focus, reinvigorate, and clear her thoughts, and feel in control over her reactions to stressful situations. Her motivations are finding a higher paying job with a better title if she does not get a promotion soon, staying calm and focused throughout her stressful days, and continuing to create and promote her art. Her frustrations are not being able to prioritize meditation due to lack of time and not including it in her daily routine, not understanding the long term benefits of mindfulness, and losing concentration/not staying focused on meditation whenever she tries to.
Based on Yana's user persona, I created an empathy map that aided in understanding Yana's thought, action based, and sensory process throughout her day: what she sees, hears, thinks, says, does. and feels. The empathy map is below:
I drew out a storyboard which helped create Yana’s future user journey which includes her pain points and how the Mastermind app would serve as a solution. The storyboard is explained scene by scene below the photo:
Every morning, Yana starts her day by packing her lunch and going to the gym before work.
She is overly stressed at work because she is applying for a promotion, but there are several candidates.
So, she also spends her time at work applying for other jobs. She is not focused on her day to day work because she is distracted by her thoughts and is not managing her time well.
Yana needs to present at a meeting in an hour but does not feel mentally prepared.
She uses the NWI Mastermind app to clear her mind and prioritize her presentation. Yana delivers an awesome and engaging presentation, proving she is a top candidate for the promotion!
Yana is able to get home at a decent hour, work on her paintings, and get a good night’s rest!
Yana’s current user journey helped me demonstrate her current habits, pinpoint her pain points, and come up with opportunities to help her. This user journey was created based on the qualitative and quantitative research conducted and the main insights gathered from that research. As we know, Yana is stressed but doesn’t make meditating a priority because she can’t seem to find the time although she knows she feels relaxed after meditating. As a result of her stress and full schedule, she is distracted, anxious, and sometimes frantic. Opportunities identified included prioritizing guided meditation, visualizations, and techniques like breathing exercises and speaking or writing down self-affirmations to help her gain focus and be in control over her reactions.
I also created a future user journey map for Yana that included solutions provided if the Mastermind app were being used. When Yana feels anxious or stressed, she reassures her self doubts by speaking self affirmations which provide her with a sense of clarity. She remembers to eat lunch and stays focused on her work. Although she has a presentation to complete and feels a bit anxious, completing a 5 minute relaxation meditation helps ease her anxiety. She gives a stellar presentation and proves she is the exact person for the promotion!