Mindfulness

I want to include mindfulness as part of my Relaxation feature in my app as it has so many benefits with regards to anxiety and panic, and it is a good thing to practice for general good health. The basic idea of mindfulness is focusing on the present and the “now” – not the past or the future – being mindful of your thoughts, surroundings, etc. It helps you relax, calm down, concentrate, and much more.

I spent some time researching about mindfulness, different mindfulness techniques and also ones for anxiety/panic. Doing this gave me more of an understanding about mindfulness and what it does, as well as giving me an idea of the types of mindfulness techniques I can include in the app.

From what I’ve looked at, it focuses a lot on breathing (which is very important in helping with panic), body sensations, and your thoughts.

Here are some of the techniques/practices that kept cropping up:

  • Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.
  • Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
  • Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.
  • Observing Your Thoughts
  • Learning to Stay in the Present
  • Mindfulness Bell Exercise
  • Body Scan
  • Mindful Breathing
  • Mindful Observation
  • Mindful Appreciation
  • Mindful Immersion
  • Mindful Listening
  • Mindful Awareness
  • Three Senses
  • Acknowledging Surroundings
  • Anchoring
  • Pause, Observe and Allow
  • Mindful mini-break

As you can see, there are lots of different exercises to do. I won’t include them all in the app, but I will try to include the most important ones and try to combine certain ones if they work well together or are similar.

I’ve also looked at four apps that are based around meditation – I will review these in separate posts.

References:

https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm

http://www.drivingpeace.com/simple-dbt-mindfulness-exercises-for-anxiety/#.WKB5E_mLTIU

http://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/

http://youth.anxietybc.com/mindfulness-exercises

https://www.verywell.com/mindfulness-meditation-for-panic-disorder-2584082

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/beat-panic-attacks-3-simple-mindfulness-techniques/

https://www.everyday-mindfulness.org/3-quick-mindfulness-practices-to-overcome-worry-anxiety-and-panic/

https://ucsdcfm.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/calming-the-rush-of-panic-a-mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-guide-to-freeing-yourself-from-panic-attacks-and-living-a-vital-life/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15057/why-my-panic-disorder-was-the-best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-me.html

http://stellar.ie/skills/grounding-54321-the-technique-that-helped-me-manage-my-anxiety/11894

http://www.padraigomorain.com/mindfulness-as-a-therapeutic-tool.html

http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/04/mindfulness-meditation-8-quick-exercises-that-easily-fit-into-your-day.php

 

Testing with Users

One of the things I felt that was lacking with my prototype was testing with the demographic I had specified – students who suffer with panic attacks. Of course, I had tested with friends and family but that doesn’t really help me as the app provides no use for them.

Just before we started back, Treasa from Please Talk (who I had spoken to before) emailed me asking how I was getting on with the project. I explained to her about the prototype and the presentation and what my next steps were. I had also mentioned to her that I really needed to test with the demographic I had chosen to get some feedback.

She told me if I created a poster with the info about the app, and a link for them to test it, she’d send it around to other colleges. I did what she said, as well as create a survey so they can give me feedback.

She sent the email out last week and I haven’t heard much back yet, but hopefully I will hear something soon! I was delighted that Treasa offered to do this for me as the feedback will be extremely beneficial for my project.

Poster:

poster.png

Link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DJFTDQ5

 

Phase 1 Prototype Presentation

Last Thursday and Friday, we had our presentations to show our prototypes. It was a stressful yet enjoyable two days, and it was really nice to see everyone’s projects and how far they have progressed.

With regards to my own presentation and prototype, I was happy enough with how it went. I felt I had the right amount of work done to show and my presentation showed all the work I had done.

The format the presentation followed was that you present your progress and work for ten minutes, then you get up to 5 minutes of questions from the lecturing team. (the questions are the tough part of the presentation, as you can’t prepare for them!)

A few questions I was asked were about testing with the relevant demographic: I had tested with friends, family etc but didn’t have the chance to test it with students who suffer panic attacks. This is important and I will do this when semester two begins. Other things that were asked was did I consider audio, background music, etc. and also some questions about it’s effectiveness.

The questions were tough but I think I handled them well enough! Other than that I felt my presentation went well.

Now we’ve a week until we’re back to semester two- which we’ve been warned is a very stressful semester. Personally I feel I am at a good space with my project and I don’t have to “catch up”, so I am going to use this week to recharge before the tough months ahead.

Prototype Presentation

So the big day is almost here! Tomorrow is the first day of our presentations. I’m not nervous yet, which is unusual but I’m sure I will be tomorrow!

I’ve just finished creating the slides for the presentation. I wasn’t sure how to go about this – whether to show my prototype first, then the slides, or do all the slides then the prototype. I settled on including the prototype in my presentation slides.

What I will be talking about includes:

  • My project theme
  • Target Audience
  • Treatment – what one I went with and why
  • Research I undertook
  • Research document – app statement, feature list, refined feature list & user personas
  • Branding – name, logos, colours
  • Wireframes
  • Mockups
  • InVision Prototype
  • App Trailer
  • Lessons Learned
  • Semester 2 Plans

And I’ve to talk about all this in ten minutes or less, which will be a challenge! Just need to practice and time myself.

You can view my presentation here!

 

Finished App Trailer

As part of my prototype, I wanted to do a short app trailer to showcase the app instead of just showing the other prototype I had created in InVision.

I knew that I had to use After Effects to create the trailer. This was a challenge for me, as I have never used After Effects before. (we’ll be using it next semester though!) I was researching online about app trailers, and I came across an After Effects template that helps you create the promo trailer on Video Hive.

I used this to create the promo video as I had no idea how to create it otherwise, due to my lack of knowledge with regards to After Effects. Their template was about 1 minute long, but I shortened mine down to 40 seconds as some parts of their template wasn’t usable as it showed the app on a landscape device – but my app will be portrait only.

What I had to do to make the template suit the app was to change colours based on the palette I was using, change the text and then change the images on the devices to the screens I had created. It all sounds quite easy and quick, but it was not! The images were too small for the devices on the template so I had to re-do them in Photoshop so they’d be a bit bigger and less pixelated.

It was interesting to use After Effects properly for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing for a good while, but I finally got the hang of it… (I thought it’d take me a couple of hours to do the video but it took about 6!) It was a good learning experience as I’ll have a better idea of how to use it when we’re using it next semester, and I did enjoy using the program, apart from it taking forever to render and slowing down my laptop!

After I had it finished, I brought the exported file into Premiere so I could add music to it. I know I could’ve done this in After Effects but I tried and failed, and I didn’t want to add to the already long rendering time! Plus I am a lot more comfortable with Premiere so it was pretty easy. It took some time to find a piece of music that would be suitable – with all these types of trailers you can use positive, upbeat music but since it’s a serious topic I didn’t want it to be all happy. So I had to search for slow music that wasn’t too upbeat, or too sad.

Watch the trailer below:

 

Deciding on the Home page

As I have mentioned before, I was finding it tough to decide between the two versions of the home page that I had created.

The first concept I had was: The home screen of the app opens up with the step-by-step feature that helps stop a panic attack (the main feature of the app).

home-screen-1

And the second concept I had: app starts with a How are you feeling? question – you choose what way you’re feeling, and exercises for each different category are given to you, based on the mood you’ve chosen, with the Panic feature listed with all the others.

After some thought, I decided to go with the first concept where the panic feature is presented to you first as you open the app. The reasoning behind this is that the panic feature is the main feature of the app, so it should be shown first. Also, from the other apps I’ve researched, they have something similar to “How are you feeling?” so if I do that too, but app won’t be as original.

I’ll bring it up at the presentation & in my prototype doc about choosing between the two – maybe some of the lecturers will give me some feedback about it!

Using InVision

For my working prototype, I had a choice of using either MockingBot or InVision. I have used MockingBot on numerous occasions for assignments already, so I knew how to use it and what I was capable of producing on it. What I had already done on MockingBot was pretty similar to the wireframes – except I could link them to other screens like a working prototype.

What stood out to me about InVision was that it wasn’t about dragging and dropping elements for the prototype. You upload screens you’ve created and then link them altogether to make a working prototype. You can also do this with MockingBot, but I had never properly used InVision before so I decided to give it a go. Also, Daniel advised me on trying it out instead of just going back to MockingBot.

So I went ahead and created my prototype with the screens I created in Photoshop.

You can play around with it yourself here: https://invis.io/5F9YEIXQ4

Or, you can just watch me do it here: