User Experience + Mindfulness

Healthy Minds Program

The Healthy Minds Program is an evidence-based wellness program for organizations based on science from Dr. Richard Davidson and his team at the Center for Healthy Minds.

  • Roles: UX Researcher, Design Facilitator, Content Development, Advisor

  • Timeframe: 1 year (so far)

  • Contributions:

    • Helped plan, facilitate and participate in design sprints for product development and strategic workshops with major partners.

    • Intensive UX research, including testing concept prototypes, pilot interviews, longitudinal diary studies, and more.

    • Content development including guided meditations and podcasts for the program, including a lean user testing process.


The Full Story…

Blueprinting the Healthy Minds Journey

The Center for Healthy Minds / Healthy Minds Innovations is a global hub for the scientific understanding of well-being. It was founded by Dr. Richard Davidson - a highly influential thought leader in the neuroscience of mindfulness and emotion. My involvement has been focused on the Healthy Minds Program: an app-based wellness program aimed at cultivating well-being in large organizations. When I first joined, my objective was to bring a UX priority to the project and get the team thinking human-centered. I started by facilitating a service blueprinting workshop, mapping out data from early pilots onto the current program’s design. Seeing users’ step-by-step journey up on the wall put the feedback we were getting in context, enabling the team to connect the dots. As a result, we had some clear low-hanging fruit to further improve our offering, along with new questions.


Building Capacity Through a Sprint

Next, I booked a tactical one-week design sprint to prototype and test new directions. I helped screen and recruit participants, leverage existing design materials into a rapid clickable prototype for testing, and put together a scenario-based research methodology. I moderated the sessions while the team observed and took notes. By the end of the week, we had a number of new concepts ready for development, and a whole new set of deeper questions. Most importantly, the team now had direct experience with recruitment, rapid prototyping and lean UX research - these methods have now become a regular part of the Healthy Minds Program design process.

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I coached the team’s designers on how to quickly re-purpose existing materials into a high-fidelity prototype we could use to test our ideas with screened participants.

I coached the team’s designers on how to quickly re-purpose existing materials into a high-fidelity prototype we could use to test our ideas with screened participants.

Advanced UX R&D with Live Pilots

As the team continues with lean UX sprints, I have moved on to executing more advanced research methods with participants engaged in live pilots in major organizations. Semi-structured exit interviews have helped us prioritize the longer-term user experience of the program. I fleshed out this understanding with an in-depth diary study: participants used the app for several weeks, submitting a diary after every session. With their explicit consent, we tracked participants’ thoughts and emotions as they moved through the curriculum, taking note of key highs and lows in the user’s journey. I facilitated a workshop where we analyzed this wealth of data together and came up with new storyboards on how to structure the user experience from session to session.

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The Impact of Design Leadership

In one year, this integrated UX process has helped transform the app. It now guides people seamlessly into an inspiring, organized experience. The content is well-structured for learning while still offering choice. I was able to inspire the team to serve their audience directly and - as a result - deeply influence the program as a whole. I did not design any new screens. Instead, I facilitated strategic human-centered design processes which led to key insights, enabling confident design decisions. I created a shared purpose which empowered the team to collaborate on major app changes with clarity for the benefit of our audience.


Integrity is Everything

As our scope increases, my role has grown to include content development. I’ve been working with a team of contemplative leaders to craft the program’s podcasts and guided meditations. I’m helping with in-person sessions at our client organizations which include major multinationals, and I’m also bringing a design lens to the strategic exploration of new potential target audiences, value propositions and business models. Through all of this collaboration, I’ve been deeply impressed by the level of integrity in this organization. A simultaneous scientific rigor and deep motivation to serve others lies at the core of this team and the programs it creates; this is only the beginning.