Ponder is a web app for people who have busy lives and are looking to practice mindfulness for their well-being.
As a full-time employee looking to vent, I want to write my feelings and thoughts out within a timed self-destruct message, so that I can let go of my frustrations without leaving a trace.
Users need a convenient way to practice mindfulness because this is a healthy habit that people can develop to cope with the stress of daily life.
Our users are people living busy lives looking for a moment of peace. Being stressed negatively affects a person's overall health. Based on user research, we discovered that people prefer to relieve stress through meditation, venting, and journaling.
Research Insights & User Pain Points
We conducted preliminary user research in the form of interviews and surveys in order to figure out how people cope with stress and practice mindfulness. The 5 participants we interviewed were either full-time students or full-time employees.
We discovered that users think journaling is a good way to decompress. Whether it was to write affirmations or to vent, journaling was regarded as a good exercise to help practice mindfulness. We also found out that all users prefer to practice deep breathing techniques as a way to calm down and reduce stress. All users were aware of the benefits of meditation but were not sure how to start meditating. All participants had busy schedules and only had a few minutes a day to practice mindfulness.
In order to get more quantitative data, we surveyed 25 participants to better understand their coping habits. We discovered that:
- 76% of users are between 19 - 25 years old
- 60% of participants feel stressed on a daily basis.
- More than 50% of participants claimed that the main cause of stress was either work or school.
- More than 50% of participants prefer to listen to music in order to calm down.
At the end of our research, our team managed to validate the need for a time-efficient way to practice mindfulness and better understand the needs and pain points of our target user.
Based on our target users’ pain points, we knew we wanted to create a web application with the following features:
1. A way to allow users to vent without the repercussions of their expressing their frustrations being held against them.
As one user said, “When you say something you can’t take it back.” As a result of this finding, we decided to prioritise a feature that would allow users to write out their frustrations within a certain time period. After their session ends, the message is deleted without leaving a trace.
2. A way for users to practice heavy breathing or meditation.
Most users preferred to practice heavy breathing while listening to music. As a result of this finding, we decided to also add a feature that would allow users to practice meditation accompanied by white noise in short and convenient sessions.
Due to time constraints, we could only prioritise these 2 features for our MVP. We decided to build a web application as it was the most feasible solution that best matched our team's skillset.
Iterative Design Learnings
After we showcased our prototype to the users again, we learned that we needed to provide a message to notify them when a meditation or vent session was over. Before this finding, the app would automatically transfer the user back to the homepage after a session was over without warning. Providing a pop-up informing the user when the session ended and then transferring them to the homepage provided a better user experience.
- Hosted on GitHub Pages, our Tech Stack is HTML, CSS, JS, and Bootstrap.
- The hardest part of the development was the timer since it had a lot of logic.
- There are no scaling issues. Our key takeaways are to research and learn obstacles and challenges we saw beforehand to ensure we were on track for development.
We will not be continuing the project, however, after testing our MVP with our target audience we learned that users also want a voice recording enabled venting feature. Another good improvement for our project would be to develop a mobile app alongside our web app.
Product Manager Learnings:
Co.Lab was a very interesting experience for me. Some of my learnings were the importance of the agile methodology and performing sprints throughout the design and development life cycle. The key to this consistent execution was ensuring there was communication between our team.
I learned how to work within agile methodology in order to build and iterate design solutions in a time-effective manner. I also learned how to communicate and present solutions to developers in order to understand their feasibility. Most importantly I learned that involving everyone early on in the brainstorming process helps foster better and more well-rounded solutions.
Co.Lab was a worthwhile experience to really get hands-on with your peers and mentors. I learned to be able to work with people from different disciplines and communicate with each other whether it be our schedules or ideas. I also learned to be more accountable with my tasks or attending meetings.
Full Team Learning
We learned that feature prioritisation is crucial in avoiding unnecessary work and developing a functional MVP within our target timeline. We learned to simplify our design by focusing on the provided features that support the main job to be done. Adopting this mindset helped us create a functional prototype in order to figure out if the solution is viable.