Insight Timer

InsightTimer does not have an onboarding process for beginners in meditation. It is difficult to get started in the practice without any guidance.
September 2017 (1 month)
Health & Fitness
UI & UX Design

Increasing the user base by attracting meditation beginners

I wanted to challenge myself to design for an unfamiliar activity and thus, an unfamiliar audience.

  • Designed the onboarding experience for "meditation beginners" (for ease of reference, we will just call them "beginners") to better guide them into the meditation practice.
  • Redesigned the home screen to help users see their upcoming or potential activities.
  • Redesigned the meditation library screen for better organization and easier discoverability of meditation sessions.
Insight Timer Screens


How are other companies onboarding beginners?

According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research in 2015, the top meditation apps were Headspace, Smiling Mind, iMindfulness and Mindfulness Daily.

From those, I chose to analyze Headspace and Smiling Mind. I added the meditation app Calm into my analysis due to its increasing popularity in comparison to iMindfulness and Mindfulness Daily.

Headspace had the most effective onboarding process for beginners due to its videos explaining each step. It also has specific meditation sessions for each day to guide users to immerse into meditation.

Insight Timer is lacking in having a section specific for beginners. This is crucial if we want to attract beginners.

Understanding the users

I conducted a survey to gain insight into how people meditate and their motivations.

9 out of 12 respondents did not meditate because they didn't know where to start.
6 of 12 respondents who meditate, do so with a specific goal in mind, e.g., to manage stress, for gratitude, etc.

Showing the category of meditation sessions in the library screen will help users find the right meditation to target their goal.


Using the insights gathered from my user research, I defined the focus of the redesign and the features to be added into Insight Timer based on the persona below.


Designing the Onboarding Process for Beginners

Currently, Insight Timer does not have an onboarding process in general.

Creating an onboarding process, specifically for beginners, will help attract new users into the app.

Redesigning the Home Screen with more relevant information

The current home screen of Insight Timer (left image below) contains a map of current users in Insight Timer and a feed of what every user is meditating to. This information does not add any value to the users.

Users are not interested in seeing what random people are meditating to.

My redesign replaces this feed with user-selected elements such as in-progress meditation sessions, bookmarks, schedule of live meditations, etc.
Previous Home screen
Redesigned Home screen

Redesigning the meditation library with categories so users can find the right meditation session based on their needs

Based on my user research, the meditation library needs to be categorized so users can find a meditation session that targets their goals, e.g., meditation for better sleep. 

Currently, the meditation library does not have any categorization. It is difficult for a beginner to know where to start.

My redesign involves categorizing every meditation session. For example, users can now find a meditation session to lower their stress.
Redesign of the Meditation View


Creating a prototype to test my design

For the prototype, I used wireframes that I created in Balsamiq. 

There are several screens with one-liners at the beginning of the onboarding process. This was intentional so that users wouldn't get overwhelmed by the amount of information.
InsightTimer - Prototype.png

User Testing

For the testing of the website, I interviewed 4 people who participated in my user research.

Plot Twist! Users felt there were too many taps required during the onboarding process.

Making improvements for the second iteration

Based on user feedback, I iterated on my existing wireframes and here are the changes I made:

  • Consolidated screens from the beginning for less taps during the onboarding process
  • Changed how the duration of a meditation showed to make it clearer
  • Exiting from the Meditation for Beginners pack now brings user to the home screen where they can resume the session
  • Made “Completed Day 1” screen into its own screen

Testing the prototype with full UI

After incorporating all of the feedback gathered, I created a prototype with full UI implementation. 


Challenges help you grow

This was a challenging project to work on especially since I do not meditate and I needed to redesign a product to attract meditators and to-be meditators. It involved doing extensive research on meditation and practicing some of it myself to understand my target audience.

Keep the goal in mind to prevent distractions

I had limited time to complete this project but I got distracted by the redesigning the UI including the logo. I spent more time than necessary in the branding which almost derailed me from hitting my deadline. For my next projects, I will create a more granular project plan. I have found that when I break my tasks into smaller chunks, I achieve the overall goal easier.

Put yourself in your user's shoes to understand them

I meditated a couple of times to better understand meditation. I found that by doing this, I understood why it is not easy for a beginner to get into meditation. It's hard to know if you're doing it right. Through meditating myself and surveying users, I knew how to redesign the onboarding process such that the user feels guided throughout the whole experience.

As a result of this project, whenever possible, I will put myself in my users' shoes to understand their pains.

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