This week we launch a completely updated platform for the mobile apps of Smiling Mind. Here's what our Product Team had to say...
"As a business and product we’ve experienced a significant surge in demand and usage over the last couple of years, none more so than in 2020, where we saw 100% growth of our yearly Monthly Active Users (MAUs), with April 2020 seeing 250% increase alone - with the App now having had over 6M downloads. Our users continue to practice more and more, with features such as the wellbeing check-in helping users to monitor their wellbeing over time. Our user retention rates of continued practice remain strong and this remains a key focus now and into the future, in helping our growing user base build social and emotional learning skills and form healthy life-long “mental fitness” habits.
To enable Smiling Mind to continue to lead preventative mental health strategies through technology and data, our core platforms have needed significant updates - starting with rebuilding of the front end codebases from scratch and this release will see iOS and Android share the same experience.
We started this work by taking a user centred design approach, engaging with our users through qualitative interviews, surveys, analysing our significant usage data through Google Cloud Platform and Big Query and began to settle on a design improvement that simplifies the experience to get users to their favourite activities quicker and with less friction.
As a business, being accessible to as many groups of people is critical and this update features a major step forward for accessibility; featuring a shift to high colour contrast and typography and detailed labelling and error controls to enable greater voice over control for the visually impaired (among other improvements).
We also uncovered key requests from our users, one of which led us to deliver a new voice to differentiate the experience for users who would prefer an alternative sounding voice.
These updates to our platform focussed primarily on the underlying architecture, so that Smiling Mind can take our iteration time or feedback loops, from months, to days, enabling us to deliver product changes designed to improve lives at scale.
We hope you like the updates, below the team will take you through some more of the details and rest assured it will be the first of many more to come this year. Feel free to reach out to any of us with feedback, as a lean and tech focussed not-for-profit team we rely on you, our audience."
— Nick Cust, Chief Product Officer
"The first thing you’ll notice about our new app is the look. We’ve given the app a fresh coat of paint bringing it back to life and into the 2020’s. Every colour, icon and font has been carefully selected and tested to make the best experience possible. For instance, you’ll notice that the app has a warm tinge to its colour palette, this is to help with eye strain no matter what time of day you meditate. We have also made sure that all text is larger and higher contrast than the previous app making it easier to be read.
The next thing you’ll probably notice is that the tabs along the bottom of the app have changed. While talking to many of you we found that you wished to achieve 2 key tasks faster: Accessing your favourite meditations and discovering new programs. You can now explore all of our programs by simply tapping ‘Explore’ and tap ‘Favourites’ to view not not only your favourite sessions but your favourite programs as well.
Other notable improvements to the experience include the ability to select a male or female voice on select meditations, and improvements to the home page that allows you to scroll back 30 days on your meditation and wellbeing graphs."
— Aaron Blakemore, Principal Product Designer
"A release this big truly is a team effort and wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many people. In particular we would like to thank our incredible brand designers for all of their work on designing our new iconography and imagery throughout the app.
Finally we would like to thank all of our amazing Beta testers. We have been working with a strong Beta group for months which has resulted in finding bugs big and small, and so many great improvements to the app along the way.
Over the coming months and years our team will continue to make exciting new updates to the app and you too can get early access to them!
— Product Team, Smiling Mind