Alana Vaccaro

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Project Duration: March 2019
Role:Research

MindFare

MindFare is a mindfulness platform that connects consumers with mindfulness providers.

Project Goal 🎯

Our primary goal was to create a customer persona and develop a landing page and on-boarding process for customers.

Overview

Mindfulness is something I am very passionate about, so this project was a lot of fun to be involved with. MindFare's end goal was to create a platform that would bring mindfulness to the workforce. Sharing the same goal as the service allowed me to develop a deeper connection to the process and made the project very enjoyable. Since my focus lies more into the interaction and visual design side of UX, this project was a big learning curve for me. Stepping outside of my comfort zone allowed me to develop my skills as a designer and discover a part of the UX process that I really enjoyed.

I transitioned into UX because of the ability to design impactful experiences, and being able to speak with people that the product would benefit first hand really allowed me to connect to the process as a whole. Research is essential to a strong product and is a valuable skill for every designer, whether their focus lies in interaction or visual, etc.

User Research 🔬

To begin, I wanted to get a better understanding of who MindFare’s customer was. To do this, I sent out a survey on Facebook, Next Door, Craigslist, and through various meditation groups.

The survey revealed:

  • Demographics
  • Motivations for meditating
  • Pain points
  • & How users prefer to meditate

User Persona-The Customer

The results from the survey led me to creating MindFare’s customer persona, Kelsey. Kelsey is a 30 year old Physician’s Assistant at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Kelsey would like to incorporate mindfulness into her busy schedule, but doesn’t know how. MindFare needs to give Kelsey the option to attend mindfulness events based on the timeframe of the event.

Revised Goal 🎯 ***

To create a provider persona and develop a landing page & on-boarding process for providers.

When we first began the project, we were under the impression that we were finding the customer persona and building a landing page and on-boarding process for a user who is looking for a meditation event. However, after our second meeting with our client, we determined that our project’s focus was on creating a practitioner persona and developing a landing page and on-boarding process for a provider. MindFare wants to first get providers signed up with MindFare and show that people are interested in using the platform before the site is available to customers.

Competitive Analysis

With the new goal in mind, I started off by doing a competitive analysis. I focused on different health and wellness applications and platforms including Ginger, Headspace, Meetup, ClassPass and Mindbody. I wanted to see what the services were that they offered, their aesthetics, ease of use, and how people go about using the services.

As far as local competitors go, I determined Meetup was the key competitor. Meetup is a service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests. Meetup has a large community of mindfulness practitioners on it and a wide variety of mindfulness events happening daily.

When looking for users to interview, I used meetup as a tool to reach out to the different practitioners. I was able to connect with one practitioner through meetup and learn what he liked and disliked about using the platform.

“I don’t understand Facebook ads. I feel like I’m throwing away money and they want me to spend more money. Whereas Meetup was like, it’s free, once you pay the annual fee. It’s small, like it felt a little bit more intimate and non mainstream.""

User Interviews

Understanding who teaches mindfulness, and what influences them to teach is critical to the development of MindFare. In order to develop our persona, four user interviews with mindfulness teachers were conducted.

During user interviews, we wanted to discover the motives for using meetup and if users had any pain points using the platform. All of the practitioners either used or have used meetup, but their experiences varied. Some key findings included:

Since meetup is a key competitor, we took all of the pain points and likes of meetup into consideration when designing the MindFare landing page and on-boarding process.

“I would say one of the main obstacles to finding a meditation place is being able to pay the rent, particularly in a big city, Seattle, Bay Area. Renting a room for an evening meditation class can easily cost $50 or $200.”

The findings revealed the following:

“Creating outreach in new regions/communities is the biggest challenge. Finding ways to create connections in new communities.”

Key Takeaways

  1. 1.

    Most platforms involve a complicated learning process which defers practitioners from using them because of time & tech proficiency
  2. 2.

    Most platforms require a fee, and this defers practitioners from using it if they aren’t confident in the customer reach they will achieve through the platform. Often events are free, and practitioners are spending their personal money. The less money they have to pay, the more likely they will use the site.
  3. 3.

    Platforms often require a lot of maintenance. A simple and easy to use platform which provides community outreach and marketing, connecting users with venue spaces (eliminating the biggest pain point of organizing an event), and little maintenance, will motivate a user when choosing a platform.
  4. 4.

    By setting up memberships, it not only helps a customer commit to a class but also gives the practitioners the confidence in their event’s attendance. While money isn’t a motivator, the financial security will encourage practitioners to host more on MindFare.
  5. 5.

    By vetting practitioners, it adds credibility and also creates a consistent practice. Mindfulness has the danger of becoming a buzzword.

User Persona~The Practitioner

Our interviews led us to creating Claire, a 60-year mindfulness teacher. Claire has medium tech empathy. Her goal is to host more events and help people overcome their obstacles. Her needs from a platform include ease of use, low cost because she is often spending out of pocket, and a way to guarantee attendance of her events.

The Problem

The user, Claire, is having issues maintaining her existing platform and finding people to attend her events. Claire needs an easy way to organize events and share it with people, so that she is able to reach her goal of helping people overcome obstacles.

The Solution

By creating a platform that allows Claire to easily create an event at no cost and connect with a larger audience, Claire is able to attract new people to her classes; encouraging Claire to host more events and introducing mindfulness to new people.

What We Did

I learned from interviewing that credibility & usability are two of the most important aspects of a platform. I also learned that practitioner was a common term a mindfulness teacher used to describe themselves, so we changed the terminology from provider to practitioner. MindFare’s users, practitioners, want a platform that is simple to use, requires little maintenance, can reach a larger audience, and is credible. For the landing page, we used this information and designed the layout accordingly. In addition to having a clear sign up, we also show current events, past events, show community members (other providers), and provide additional resources (such as mindfulness training courses.) From the landing page, a practitioner is able to select “practitioner sign up” which takes them through the on-boarding process. The on-boarding process is simple and requires the practitioner to enter in their credentials, so that only certified practitioners are using the platform. After the user completes the on-boarding process, it takes them to their profile page where they can see their bio, photo, and manage their events.

Next Steps

Here’s what we recommended MindFare does moving forward:

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed the challenge of this project. Interaction and visual design has been something that I have preferred over research, but it was really good to get out of my comfort zone for this project. It gave me a deeper understanding of the process as a whole and allowed me to really connect and understand the user.